Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.


When he was zero, I bought a crib and the paint colors we’d need to make a monkey climbing a tree on his wall. Blue with white clouds, the monkey, and another painting of Chief turned an unused room into a home complete for my unborn son.


monkeyArtwork, a piggy bank from my childhood, an infant’s tiny washed clothes folded in drawers. They waited for him.

I waited, breathing through every-other-day visits to the clinic where they monitored his heartbeat. Where they monitored mine.

Advanced Maternal Age was stamped on all of my paperwork.

The nurses who shushed the paperwork and saw me for me were home, too.


Home was my car, driving to appointments. I played Elton John, Metallica, Queen, Mozart. My hand on my belly, saying “Feel this, baby. Love the music that makes you feel, no matter what anybody thinks.”

Daddy doesn’t appreciate Metallica enough.

Mommy doesn’t appreciate country music enough.

“Appreciate what makes YOU feel,” I said.

He danced inside of me, and I knew he’d heard.


Home was where my husband and my step-daughter were. They were here, eating dinner with me, although meals were no longer of my making once the doctors said “Bedrest, or baby might die.”

How the doctors and nurses said “baby” rather than “Tucker,” even when we knew who he’d be. Home was knowing his name before he was born.


Home is the house I grew up in that no longer belongs to anybody related to me. Built and ours for a long time, then sold, and no longer ours.

Colorado will always be home. I don’t know if it’ll ever be home to my son, although that’s what we’d planned before entering this particular school system, preschool autism classroom, mainstream-because-it’s-not-autism-after-all, and realizing that government jobs are best held near the nation’s capitol.

If I die tomorrow, I’d like my ashes in Colorado. Unless my son wants them closer to the home he’s been born into which is not mine. It gets complicated.


Home is where I know the creaky step when I venture outside in the middle of the night to wonder about other people. It’s where I can sit on my stoop and and wonder where passing cars are going.

Home is where I wish and not wish that I were going where they are.


Home is behind me and in front of me and it’s where I lie my head down. There’s comfort in lying one’s head down, even when that happens on a park bench, in a tent, in a hotel, or in the place where most of our stuff is stored.


But really, home is where the person who is of me sleeps and throws his backpack on the floor. Home is in this place, when he’s not here.

Home is where my keyboard and the faces on the bathroom wall I painted live, thinking it looked great and now wonder whether it’s tacky. Home is having somebody I can ask if it’s tacky, who will tell me the truth. I don’t have anybody I can ask. It’s still home, though.

The faces on the bathroom wall mostly laugh, but there’s one that wishes she had arms. She’d like to welcome me home.

She reminds me that home is where my son lies his head down. It’s where I lie mine down, too, and thank all of the stars that for now, that’s the same place.


This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post and this week’s sentence is “When it comes to home…”

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  • Linda Atwell - Out One Ear - I agree that home can get/be complicated once we have a family of our own. I’ve had to rethink where I want my ashes to be placed when my time here on earth is done. I hope that is a ways off.

    I have so many places that might feel like home to me and I know they are different for me than for my husband or my kids. I do have a tendency to feel that home is any place I’m currently living or visiting. But like you, some of the places consider home were in the past, possibly even temporary homes. Oh dear, now I’m making it complicated. 🙂September 22, 2016 – 10:21 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I guess once we’re dead, it doesn’t matter where our ashes are but it feels like it matters, you know? I mean, will Tucker want a grave he can visit or will he care about that?September 23, 2016 – 5:07 pmReplyCancel

  • Don - It’s tacky, but I love you anyway. Hope you’re well.September 22, 2016 – 10:27 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerri - Your home is beautiful and not at all what you expected. But still home.September 23, 2016 – 7:24 amReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - Text me a picture of the wall and I’ll tell you if it’s tacky. I’ve have a bad habit of telling the truth when someone asks me stuff like that. So if you wanna know and you promise to not hate my opinion….

    I honestly have no idea where I’d want to be buried. I wrote a post once upon ago that home is wherever my parents are. So I suppose I’d want to be buried with them but I don’t want to think about that either.

    So glad Tucker survived bed rest and you’re here to tell the story of how he made your home and DC home home.

    Love the monkey! There’s so many things I wanted to do but we had mauve carpet at the time and a baby snoopy theme had a touch of pink but was still for a boy so that’s what we went with. Had to look at that carpet for three years and it’s in all his crawling pics. Yuck!September 23, 2016 – 2:37 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I’ll text you (THANK YOU!) (also you were in spam – not sure why but Lizzi was as well). I promise I do want your honest opinion. 🙂 Yuck to mauve carpet! Glad you don’t have to look at it any longer!September 27, 2016 – 5:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Lizzi - Home is where our heart is, I guess. It’s where our minds wander to when we daydream. It’s the places we know we feel safe in, and the people we know we’re safe with. It’s immensely tricky, especially when you’re divided between (at least) two places.

    This is beautiful, though, and I hope you enjoy many more years of knowing that your home is where your beautiful boy is, and that it’s together.September 23, 2016 – 5:54 pmReplyCancel

  • My Inner Chick - beautiful, as always, my sweet.

    My boys are 2000 miles away…
    but when I place my hand to my heart, they are near me.

    Always. Forever. For Eternity.

    This is my home.

    xxxSeptember 24, 2016 – 2:51 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I love that your boys are in your heart. I know Kay is, too, and that she lives on through your amazing advocacy and help for so many people who need to know. Always. So much love to you.September 25, 2016 – 11:08 pmReplyCancel

  • Yvonne - Lovely post Kristi.
    I think perhaps for many people who move away from the home of their childhood. It becomes no longer a place, but as you describe here, it is a feeling, a sense, something we carry with us.

    Though it is interesting that for you Colorado will always be home. I don’t feel like that about where I grew up, in that I know I will never live there again. Yet, something of it lingers in me. It’s also interesting how our children perceive home differently to us. Perhaps as he gets older, Tucker will also feel a “home” connection with Colorado. My children feel that connection with the islands in a way they don’t with where my husband’s parents lived. His parents moved around a lot, but were mostly in the same area while my children knew them, but there’s no sense of family history there. So I guess that history matters too, as well as the feeling!September 24, 2016 – 6:50 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Hey Yvonne,
      Thank you! And I think it’s really interesting how some of us feel home and some of us carry it with us. I think I do both but also don’t really feel a connection to my grandparents’ homes… like at all although I know my parents do. My husband feels the most connected to his granny’s home but it’s also the one in which he grew up – with her. So he feels more connection there than to his dad’s home now. But probably most to here, you know?September 25, 2016 – 11:11 pmReplyCancel

  • Allison - Home is complicated, isn’t it? I wrote about it a couple years ago for a class I took…damn I should find it and link up. I know Colorado is your home Home, it’s so hard when we move and start over and create a new home for our kids. I mention wanting to move, that Georgia doesn’t feel like home, and the kids freak!September 25, 2016 – 12:41 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Tucker freaks when we talk about moving, too, and yet all the time says he wishes he had a big back yard. I go look at the big back yards and they have ugly kitchens and floors… and I wonder what’s important. HOME is so elusive.September 25, 2016 – 11:18 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - I’ve actually thought about what home means lately (but did I do this prompt, no…) since we moved from the home we lived in 14 years and now we are renting about 3 miles away in another house, that we wish could become our next home, but likely won’t, because the owner probably doesn’t want to sell it. So, we are living in transition, not knowing where we will be living in 2 years. Part of this is unsettling, but part of it is exhilarating (or adventurous as my husband would say). My kids were kind of upset about the move, but now I think they are ok. Change is always hard I guess…But, I’m with you – home is where my family lays their heads. 🙂September 25, 2016 – 6:29 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Hey Em, I didn’t realize that when you’d moved that it was to a rental although now that I type that, I wonder whether I did and just forgot. Here’s to adventurous more than unsettling although I think I’d feel the latter too. I’m glad now it’s okay – saw your FB block party post and that seemed beyond awesome. Here’s to remembering home is where our family lies their heads!!!September 25, 2016 – 11:26 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerry - My essay about home as place or feeling or people is in the works for Full Grown People, but now that I see the time left in this prompt continues another day or so, I may just write something and link up here after all.
    I love what you say about music. To me, music is home. When I wake up one day and my parents are gone, my siblings have their own lives with their own families, I don’t know what home will be to me, if I never get married or have children. Only time will tell I suppose.
    I would choose Metallica over country music any day.
    Which is Tucker leaning more towards?September 25, 2016 – 11:11 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - OOOH I cannot wait to read your essay for Full Grown People. I’ve never written for them but they’re wonderful and I know your essay will be fabulous. I like how music is home for you. How it grounds you and brings you to the next place. You’re young… so much to be discovered, which is also another thought about where “home” will take you and I look forward to reading about it.
      And yeah, Metallica wins every day. LARS!!! For the win. I am so in love with Metallica. Have been for years.
      Tucker’s into the DAB right now??? I don’t really know what it is except a move where you put your elbow in front of your face and the other arm out to more dance music. BUT he’s into it because of his beloved YouTubers and he bopped his head to Queen and Metallica from age zero so hope is there 🙂September 25, 2016 – 11:31 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - Awww man my comment isn’t here. I was waiting for you to respond to my proposal. Dang. Well a duplicating a comment isn’t the same as the first time around. Anyway I said you could text me a picture and ask if it was tacky me because I have a bad “no tact” way of telling the truth. So I said that and um, let me scroll up and see what else…

    Oh I said the money was so cute and that I had baby snoopy for Christopher because we had mauve carpet at the time and baby snoopy was masculine but had a touch of pink so it was the only thing that matched.

    Oh and I didn’t know where I want to be buried, and I suppose I’d want to be with my parents but I didn’t want to think about that right now.

    Now I need to go see if my comments took in other places. I think i was on my iPad.September 26, 2016 – 6:36 amReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - None of my Friday on the iPad comments showed up. Tamara did let me know mine went to spam on hers so maybe that’s what happened. No more commenting from the iPad. I have no idea where else I visited from here but I was on a once in a blue moon commenting roll.September 26, 2016 – 6:48 amReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - I think I’ve read this about four times now because it’s just so lovely – all these wonderful snippets of life and love and what home looks like at different stages. Love it.September 27, 2016 – 12:23 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - OMG you’re so kind. THANK YOU. I struggled with all of this – what to say, what to not say, THANK YOU.September 27, 2016 – 10:08 pmReplyCancel

  • Lux - Aw, home. Sweet, sweet home. Makes me miss home.September 27, 2016 – 1:31 amReplyCancel

  • Katia - It’s not tacky, remember you own words “appreciate what makes YOU feel”.

    As I was reading I was highlighting different sentences and paragraphs to copy-paste as my favourite ones. It kept happening all the way to the end until I landed on this one: “home is where my son lies his head down. It’s where I lie mine down, too, and thank all of the stars that for now, that’s the same place.” I wish I could write like this. I love you and the way you see, feel and process.September 28, 2016 – 9:06 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Katia,
      So true about listening to my own words. Thank you for your kind words and girl, you’re an amazing writer and I love you! <3September 29, 2016 – 5:46 pmReplyCancel

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