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

On Life and Skydiving, Underwater Adventures, and Mommying

When I was in my early 20’s and mostly invincible, we stood stooped, half-in and half-out of a plane with a max occupancy of four people including the pilot. It was louder than I thought it would be.

I wondered how many people changed their minds once the door was open.

“I wanna go skydiving!” he said. “Do you wanna go skydiving?”

I jumped, and hurled toward the ground around 120 miles per hour along with the man strapped to my back. I wish I remembered his name. 

I hadn’t expected the sensation of breathing happening too quickly when that much air is rushed into your face. “Stop gulping the breaths,” I thought. I didn’t have a fear of dying. 

I was glad he’d be the one to pull the parachute string because I was sure that I’d forget on my own. Not that I’d do this on my own, obviously. I was stupid but not stupid stupid. 

As I flew, I remembered that people bounce without parachutes and wondered how I knew. Wished I didn’t know then decided I’d probably heard it at a party and thought about how we remember meaningless information like people bouncing without parachutes but not high school algebra.

I thought about the weird stuff we think about when we’re on sensory overload, reaching terminal velocity on an on-purpose freefall. The only sound you hear is the air whooshing by your ears.

We landed safely, skidding to a stop in the Nevada dirt. 

“I can do anything,” I said. 


The first time I went scuba diving, it was a beach dive. I thought that’d be easier but hadn’t anticipated how much the waves would jiggle me around while we flippered further and further out. It took getting to deeper, calmer water and fish RightThere for me to relax and quit sucking so much oxygen from my tank.

The only sound you hear is the bubbles leaving your body, floating by your ears.

Our instructor picked up a tiny stingray and held it out to me. “No way,” I shook my head. When it was time to turn around, I didn’t want to go. I no longer had a fear of dying. 

We flippered back up, stopping every 15 feet to level oxygen levels and pop our ears.

Back on the boat, I took the weights off my waist. Grinned.

“I can do anything,” I said.


As of right this second, the world’s population grew by 200,000 people today,* which means more humans are born each second than die. In spite of overcrowding and too much traffic, this statistic comforts me, as if it affects my odds of living a long life. I have a fear of dying. 


I sat in the back seat of the car for the first few years of my newborn’s life because silent prayers and nervous mommy energy would be enough to save us in the case of an accident. I finally understood why people have those ridiculous “Baby on Board” decals in their windows. They want everybody else to be careful, too.

I search the skies. Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight… I wish I may and wish I might to have this wish I wish tonight.

I wish to live to be at least 80. I wish that I’ll know my son as an adult.

I rarely picture his baby watermelon head and instead worry that he opens the front door when I’m upstairs. I no longer skydive and haven’t been scuba diving since my husband and I went on our honeymoon which was after my friend Sara and I briefly considered a life as scuba instructors in Turks and Caicos (happy birthday Sara).

I won’t go skydiving again, but I may take my son scuba diving…


It’s funny how much more precious life becomes after bringing another’s into your own. Since my son was born, my own life is more valuable. I have to be there for him. I have a fear of dying that I never had in my youth.

Wish I may, wish I might, have this wish I wish tonight. 


kristi rieger campbell finished post for finding ninee

*I got my statistic on how many people are born and die each day from this cool site called WorldOMeters. I can’t explain why it’s so mesmerizing but it is (I was not compensated for including their link, I just find it fascinating).


Finish the sentence Friday writing promptThis has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence was “When it comes to death…” which can be interpreted any which way, including the death of a houseplant, a life transition, etc.

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  • Dana - 200,000 babies born today? Wow. The magnitude of this world is incomprehensible to me.

    I completely understand the fear of death once you’re a mom. I was watching “This is Us” the other night (if you’re not watching, you should), and a character was talking about her husband dying when her son was 15. My son is 15. I don’t want my kids to have to bear a loss like that.

    But scuba diving? That would be cool.November 3, 2016 – 10:16 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Isn’t it weird to think about? It’s incomprehensible to me too and yeah the whole fear of death thing… and I have NOT seen This is Us and need a new show so thank you! Gulp though to 15. Scuba diving is amazing. You so should go really.November 4, 2016 – 9:26 pmReplyCancel

  • Twindaddy - I get this. The thought of leaving my children is unbearable.November 4, 2016 – 7:15 amReplyCancel

  • Emily - Wow – skydiving! I am way too wimpy for that now or even when I was younger I never would have tried it. However, I believe that certain people seek out to try those types of adventures and I think it’s awesome…I’m totally envious. I also think it’s great you “got it out of your system” and tried it pre-Tucker so you can reminisce about it and not have any regrets that you didn’t try it…November 4, 2016 – 10:42 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I loved it and would never do it again! Yikes! But if you haven’t been scuba diving, I highly recommend. Truly.November 4, 2016 – 9:28 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - There’s things I don’t to do either unless I’m experiencing with Christopher. I’d never been scuba diving when we went and I’d never been zip lining when we went. I get nervous when my husband and I are off without Christopher. I don’t want him to be left behind. I don’t want us all to be taken together either. I just want us each to have each other for a long time.

    I’d probably change one of those who changed my mind when the airplane door was open.November 4, 2016 – 1:26 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - You should go scuba diving. It’s REALLY peaceful, once you get below the scary surface. It’s like the most calming thing ever. I went zip lining at camp one summer when I was like 10 but haven’t been since. I’m not sure I could do it now because heights but maybe if Tucker wanted to go!
      And LOL to changing your mind when the airplane door was open. I thought about it…November 4, 2016 – 9:30 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - I can’t believe you jumped out of a plane! I love the part about not being stupid stupid. 😀
    I’m right with you on this. Things I used to do and ways I used to think seemed to change instantly after Zilla. Some days I feel like every decision I make is about not dying because she needs me. It’s probably a little over-cautious, but is it? I worry when we leave her somewhere and go out alone. I worry that something will happen on the way to pick her up at school and she’ll be left with that memory of me not showing up. I worry about being unhealthy and dying too soon because hey, she’s only 8 and I’m 46 so I need to keep this body ticking for a long time. it’s exhausting.November 4, 2016 – 4:36 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Lisa, I know – I can’t believe it either. I went again like another seven times too. Gulp. hahah to not being stupid stupid. I’m overly cautions too but the thing is, their lives WILL be better with us in them. Fact. So not over-cautious I think. And yeah, it’s exhausting. If it helps, I’m older than you and Tucker’s younger than she is… so you know, the odds thing…November 4, 2016 – 9:32 pmReplyCancel

  • Deirdre - Wow! Exciting life you led! Kids change everything don’t they!November 5, 2016 – 4:47 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - They really really do Deirdre. Talk about perspective on the value of life!November 7, 2016 – 1:58 pmReplyCancel

  • Allison - I fear death too- never more so now, as I get older, and realize how long I have to live for bear. I figure I have to be ninety, because then his siblings will be in their fifties, and therefor (hopefully) it won’t be too much of a burden to care for him. I hate this topic – in make my heart race. AHHHHH!November 5, 2016 – 2:21 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Sorry Allie! I know what you mean though. It’s awful to think about and when you’re 90, be sure that one of your road trips heads my way so we can get a drink and laugh about how worried we were way back when!November 7, 2016 – 1:59 pmReplyCancel

  • Louise - I love how you set this up! I check in on your topics now and again and this one was just too heavy for me – but I adore how you did this.

    I hope to scuba dive with my girls too. I think that would be lovely. I haven’t gone diving in over 10 years but loved it when I did.

    Never have I ever jumped out of a plane (I wouldn’t drink there). Well done to you!November 5, 2016 – 5:43 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Louise! I hope you and your girls will go scuba diving. I miss it – so peaceful you know?November 7, 2016 – 2:01 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerry - Stupid stupid. Lol. Love that. I am coming up on a pretty momentous year and I have wondered what I could do to celebrate that could be titled stupid but not stupid stupid. After all, I would hate to have gotten along these last twenty years with my father’s donated kidney, just to end the whole thing in a tragic sky diving accident.
    Hmm. He didn’t even want me to go walk up along the outside of the CN Tower in Toronto a few years back, but I felt it was just something I had to do. Sky diving is definitely on that list, but it would cause him great stress and I probably think I should wait a while longer on that. Maybe for 25 or 30 years or for some other occasion. I wonder though if I would have the guts to actually go through with it. I am not overly fond of airplanes, but I don’t know for sure how I feel about jumping from one.
    The plan is for myself and as much of my family as possible to try the new zip line over Niagara Falls on June 5th, 2017. Exciting stuff. I thought about a party, but not sure who would show up, so I intend to take my party on the road, or the line as is more correct in this case.
    As for scuba diving, not sure that is one I will try. Going below the “scary surface” into the peaceful water below sounds lovely here and I’m sure it was, with all the bright fish species, but for me who wouldn’t be able to see much of that, I think it would just end up feeling claustrophobic and I may end up super panicky or worse. I love to hear of other people’s experiences with it though.
    Brave to put this topic out there and I am glad I did not shy away from it. This post is a thought provoking one for sure.November 7, 2016 – 5:03 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Kerry – zip lining over Niagara Falls sounds terrifying and thrilling! Oh my gosh – that’s way up there with skydiving! That makes sense about scuba diving. The equipment is heavy and it does feel a little claustrophobic at first. I think what helps is looking up and seeing that the surface is get-to-able and if that were a fuzzy image, I imagine it wouldn’t be nearly as calming.
      Now I’m going to Google zip lining over the falls. YIKES!November 7, 2016 – 2:07 pmReplyCancel

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