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

The Sounds Around Us and Remembering to Breathe

“Who’s your favorite character from Minecraft?” he says. “Ummm, maybe Hero Brian?” I say.

“It’s not Hero Brian, it’s Herobrine and he’s evil, so he shouldn’t be your favorite,” my son replies with his longish-hair, scraggly, some missing, some half-growing-in-teeth-toothless-grin…


He goes on and on about each character, explains having to “mine” cows for leather if you want to craft armor and all of it’s confusing and a little bit boring and I remember to not roll my eyes because he can see them in the rearview mirror and there was a time when I prayed that he’d simply speak.


I woke from a dream, smiling. I’d heard my little boy’s baby-Muppet voice and was trying to remember what he’d said, word-for-word, so that I could tell my husband that our son could talk after all. I sat up, had some water, and tried to grasp his words from the air before they floated out the window.

The darkness beyond the window reminded me that it was the middle of the night and my smile danced out, along with the words I’d lost, to play among the dew on the grass before the sun came up. They giggled as they flew out. 

It’d been a dream. I crept down the stairs to sit outside and remember how big the world is.

The sounds around me were of slumber. An occasional car drove by and I wondered where they were going at 3am.

To the hospital to have a baby? Home late from a party? Ready to shower off 24-hour diner burgers from their skin?

I thought about how in France, people were checking email and getting coffee. How the sun had already risen there.

I crept back to bed and the next morning, made a list for my little boy’s preschool teachers so that they’d know that “ah” meant water. I called it Tuck-Talk and keep a copy today when backseat tales of character attributes in Minecraft make me want to roll my eyes.


His nose was stuffy last night, and I thought about giving him Benadryl to sleep but he promised he didn’t need it, and, although I could hear the congestion, let it go. He slept but the sounds of his footsteps around 3am woke me. I’ll never understand how my husband’s snores that peel paint from walls do not wake me but the tiny steps of my seven-year-old’s feet down the hall do, each and every time.

“Mommy, I want you,” he said.

“Of course,” I said, and got up, grabbed my water, and followed him to his room. He settled down, stuffy and snotty, and I said “I guess we should have had the Benadryl, huh?”

“No,” he said. “I’ll just keep breathing in and out over and over.”

I thought about how simple that is. Your nose is stuffed but you just keep breathing in and out over and over.

I wondered at his use of those words. Ones I’ve typed to swim through the darker moments and the less sure days and, well, life.


Today, along with some co-workers, we visited a woman we used to work with. She was given a year to live about three months ago. “What things have you realized are important and not since you found out?” one of my co-workers asked.

“This,” she said. “Talking to people. Telling them that I’m okay with dying. Spreading love, and God’s word. Spending time with family and friends. The rest of it doesn’t matter. I drove myself to the doctor’s office, not knowing what was wrong, and was told I’d never live alone again. That my entire liver, with the exception of a strip at the bottom is black. Cancer. I just want to spend time with people. I’ve already told my nieces and nephews to get what they want from my apartment. I haven’t been back since I drove myself to the doctor’s. I drove myself, independent, and now, I’ll never be independent again,” she said.

I felt glad that last night, I took my little boy to a trampoline park. That he was proud of his flip.

This world of ours is more messy than I’ve known it to be as a grown-up. I’m sad and worried about this country and no, it’s not because my candidate didn’t win…there’s something much, much deeper happening.

It’s time to stand together and remember that America is the place that promises to give our tired, our poor, and our huddled masses a place of freedom and liberty whether we are black, brown, woman or man, gay, straight, Muslim or Christian or Jewish or anything and everything else.

It’s time to keep breathing, in and out, over and over and to have the faith that my seven-year-old does with his stuffy nose that if we do this – the keep breathing thing – that the righting of the wrongs and the defending of injustices and the spreading of love and hugs will follow.

Finish the sentence Friday writing promptThis has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “The sounds around me…”

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  • Kelly L McKenzie - You covered a lot of ground in this post, Kristi. It brought back so many memories for me. Like watching my friend enthusiastically play a Pokemon card game with her son even though she was exhausted and beyond bored, visiting my friend who was dying of pancreatic cancer yet refusing to talk about her impending death, and listening to my son’s barking cough in the night. Life is messy and complicated and SO worth experiencing. Thank you for these reminders. I just read a brilliant post in the New Yorker about Obama’s reaction to the election and came away with a sense of hope. Yes, even we Canadians are affected by the news. Hang in there, Kiddo, hang in there.November 17, 2016 – 10:18 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - OOH Kelly, I’ll have to find Obama’s reaction post in the New Yorker – I could use a sense of hope for sure. And yeah, I know you Canadians are affected by it as well. Sigh. The whole world is really.November 18, 2016 – 9:34 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - Something much deeper is happening and I feel sad too. Can’t shake it. Maybe I shouldn’t be isolating myself for social media (people). I don’t know. Sorry to hear about your co-worker. She makes a good point about pretty much “keeping in touch”. I need to do more of that. I have been doing alot of what Tucker said, breathing in and out through my mouth. My nose isn’t stuff but I guess you get a bigger inhale and exhale out of your mouth.

    Aren’t mommy ears something? Oh and Minecraft. I really tried to like it. But I gave up when my bricks wouldn’t stack one on top of each other to build a simple wall. Thankfully he moved on. He’s very into Cars and his games are driving games and customizing the car. I hate to drive to in a video game, it’s so reckless and I can’t stay on the road but it is better and Minecraft. 😉

    LOL to Hero Brain.November 18, 2016 – 8:51 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - It is so much deeper and I’m fairly certain it’s not good deeper although who knows. I know in history when things are bad that people getting sad and angry is what changes things so maybe this is the beginning to a world with less racism and bigotry and rape culture finally being talked about more? I don’t know either.
      And yeah, Mommy ears are amazing. So weird what we hear. I haven’t really played Minecraft but I’ve watched Tucker play it a lot. I like it in the sense that he learned how to read the word “inventory” because of it and it makes him use his imagination.
      Driving games are HARD!November 18, 2016 – 9:37 pmReplyCancel

  • Debi Lewis - I love so much about this post — the image of the 7 year old messy hair and missing teeth is one I can picture about both my girls at that age. I used to call 7 and 8 “the jack-o-lantern years.” I remember that age so fondly.

    And I also appreciate so much of what you say here regarding the Minecraft chatter being more tolerable because you thought he might never speak. I feel that way about my 11 year old’s requests for snacks before dinner. She went years without ever telling me she was hungry — food hurt, felt bad going down, was lots of work for her. Now that she had surgery to correct the problems that caused all that, she eats like a normal kid. It is inconvenient and totally wonderful.

    What a gorgeous post — thank you!November 18, 2016 – 9:31 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks for reminding me that I’m not alone with the whole snaggle-tooth “jack-o-lantern years” (love that) love of this age. I am pretty sure Tucker gets annoyed with me with how often I ask him to smile and SHOW HIS TEETH because SO CUTE. Gah.
      What a wonderful thing that your daughter now wants snacks and that it’s inconvenient and wonderful. Here’s to these amazing (and occasionally annoying) kids of ours!November 18, 2016 – 9:49 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerry - We here in Canada are with you, although sad, but breathing in and out like you say.November 18, 2016 – 1:21 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I just read yours and LOVE that we both talked about breathing in and out! So similar and yet so different – loved yours and appreciate your sweet comment and linking up!November 18, 2016 – 9:50 pmReplyCancel

  • Echo - Sometimes, I wonder how much I will miss the repetitive things that I roll my eyes at now. I will always cherish certain sounds though, like the way they say they love me. Especially when I need it the most.November 18, 2016 – 8:55 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I wonder too… here’s to hearing that they love us. That’s pretty much everything.November 18, 2016 – 11:13 pmReplyCancel

  • Marcia @Menopausalmom - Another beautifully written post, my friend. I’m still trying to come to terms with the election results. But right now, it all seems so insignificant after hearing about your friend with cancer. So very sad……but her attitude is amazing.November 18, 2016 – 9:35 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw thanks Marcia. You’re so kind. And yeah… dying makes everything different I think…November 18, 2016 – 11:15 pmReplyCancel

  • Scott - I think I messed it up. I tried breathing over and over, but now I have the hiccups.November 18, 2016 – 9:56 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - It’s amazing how kids are so expressive/profound and they don’t even realize it. Yes, we all do need to keep breathing in and out and maybe the world can become more joined together…November 19, 2016 – 9:20 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - They really are. I love it… and yeah, I’ve thought about the whole breathing in and out thing a LOT since I’ve seen further stuff happening that’s super hard to not feel hopeless over…November 20, 2016 – 10:19 pmReplyCancel

  • My Inner Chick - Hello, Sweets.

    thank you for reminding us to “BREATHE.”
    Sometimes, I forget!

    xxNovember 21, 2016 – 7:57 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Hey you. Happy Thanksgiving and here’s to remembering to BREATHE. I forget, too…November 23, 2016 – 10:22 pmReplyCancel

  • Josie Two Shoes - This was a beautiful writing that really tugged at my heart. Oh yes, how precious are those words he speaks, and years from now you will wish he was still sitting behind you telling you all about Minecraft. As I rode behind my son, now the driver, when we met up with him and his girlfriend in Dallas this past weekend, he reached back his hand to connect with mine, and I remembered how I used to pick him up from daycare in the days before child carseats, and he would rub his head against mine, happy to be together and heading home. It is a scary world now, the undertones are heartbreaking and disturbing, by your son has it right, just keep breathing… things have a way of working out. Many good people will come together to see that all is not lost.November 25, 2016 – 4:05 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw that’s so sweet that your son reached back to take your hand and that it brought back memories of rubbing heads with him when he was little. <3 You're right, too, things do have a way of working out.November 25, 2016 – 8:41 pmReplyCancel

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