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

It’s August. “Will You Watch Me Play?”

It’s August.

“Will you watch me play?” he asks. I don’t want to.

In fact, I can think of 1,001 things I’d rather do than watch my not-so-little little boy play Legends of Zelda on his WiiU.

I look up, ready to tell him “No.”

To explain that I’m working, that watching somebody else play a video game is boring because what’s the point in that?

Then, I remember that I want him to love the Broncos, which is also watching somebody else play a game. And there’s a point in that. In cheering for others, in cheering for a team that we are not a part of. Maybe, me watching him play a video game in 2017 is like watching football from a TV or a stadium from then or now. 

I think about this, and the light in the room turns yellowish; the ticking of an invisible clock is clear.

I hear time in a way I haven’t heard it before. Time is marching. I can hear time marching.

For whom the bell tolls
Time marches on
For whom the bell tolls (Metallica)

I hear those lyrics (and time marching) for three heartbeats maybe, “Time. Marches. On.”

It feels like years. It has been years.

Years of Augusts flash in my mind, as if the bell had tolled for me the way that movies and books say that your life flashes through you. 

I remember the night before turning six, standing on the porch of my childhood home, thinking “I’m a big kid now.” How I felt sad, and proud, and like my life had new purpose, as a big kid.

I remember when my son turned six, in the month before August. When he turned five, and I knew that special needs parenting was better than sea monkeys.

I remember the first August my brothers and I lived with my dad without our mom living there, too. How it was time to learn to cook. How I rebelled against cooking, for years. “I won’t cook! It’s just because I’m a girl,” I thought.

This August, I take pride in making meals for my family. For feeding my son, who was *this close* to a failure to thrive diagnosis once upon an August.

This August, I flew back to my now-home, after visiting my childhood home to attend a memorial service for my ex-husband. He died in his sleep, and was 19 months younger than I.

August is my birth month, and the one when she who carried me gave me away, and the month that my real parents carried me home.

August is when I turned 41, not even two months after riding in the back seat of the car with my newborn, wondering “What do we do now?” as my husband drove.

It’d be years before I rode in the front seat, next to my husband again. As if my hand on my baby’s head would protect this tiny human from sleepy semi-drivers, the day drunk, or the mom in a hurry who sped through a late-yellow light.

A few days ago, we went to a Lego Brick fair. I kind of can’t believe that this long-haired little boy (who is not so little) is of me, and I marvel at how he is of himself.

August, and each of the months, is filled with birth and death, and wondering whether we’re old enough for the bell to toll for us. Hoping for more days while sometimes, wishing away the minutes and hours spent doing the mundane. It’s the filling of water glasses with late-night pleas of “I’m thirsty.”

August is the realization that each of us is always old enough to die. August is time, the anticipation of sharpened pencils and crispy leaves once the new school year comes.

It’s hope and a new start.

It’s grief, and loss, at the same time.

It’s August. “Will You Watch Me Play?”

It’s August, and I wonder about the yellow light and how my no-longer-a-baby baby will begin third grade in just a few weeks.

Are we ready for this?

Hellz no.

There was a little boy at the pool, today. He was maybe two, pointing at airplanes and helicopters of all things. I missed my now boy when he was still my then boy, and thought about how he graduated Preschool Autism Class, and how we found grace in kindergarten.

I ached for my two-year-old son as he swam in the pool at the age of eight.

I missed him with all of myself, but remember how also, I used to count the hours down from 11:00 am, not knowing what to do for the rest of the day, after exhausting the playground, meals, and walks.

But also, yes. We’re ready. We have zero school supplies as of today, but that’s fairly easily remedied.

In the meantime, I’ll watch him play Legends of Zelda, although I do not understand the game.

“What’s the best part of Legends of Zelda?” I ask.

“Mom,” he says, “There’s just so much to explore.”

And I look at this not-so-little little boy, and think about how much more there is to explore with him, with his future, his language, his himness.

“Who will you become?” I think, but don’t ask. 

“Show me,” I say, and shut my laptop, knowing that who he will become may depend on this. Or, not.

Either way, who will I become does depend on this. I watch him play, and I learn about him, myself, and all of the Augusts. 

***

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, and this week’s sentence is “It’s August, and I can’t believe…”

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  • Emily - It’s amazing how thinking about a month can bring back so much for you…I never really thought about what a particular month means to me, I think because I’m always focused on the year, such as, “the year ___ was hard” or “the year ___ was the year that ___ happened.” I can’t remember the last time I posted (oh wait, there it is at comment luv – not THAT long ago, but still…you make me want to think about blogging again more than once in a while!August 10, 2017 – 10:05 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I think I’m mostly focused on the year, too, but August is when I turn older, and I’d planned to write about how I am so much older than Tucker’s peers, but then, well, it went a different direction, I guess. But I AM so much older than Tucker’s peer’s moms,and I know that will become an issue at some point, and it makes me sad and also remember my own birthdays. If that makes sense.August 10, 2017 – 11:04 pmReplyCancel

      • Emily - Yes, makes sense, but do NOT worry about your age in comparison to Tucker’s peers’ moms…I had Matthew at 38 so there have been times when I feel so old compared to some of the moms with kids the same age as him, but then I realized, who cares? They may have the youth over me, but I have the wisdom. 🙂August 11, 2017 – 9:27 amReplyCancel

  • Deb - Love. This and you.August 10, 2017 – 11:11 pmReplyCancel

  • jt walters - It is August and it is a time of grief but optimism for renewal.

    Enjoy it. Trick T into making you a Zelda expert. When you watch him play or better yet engage in video play you are building bonds to the more mature T while baby T fades away.

    Trust me one day when you try to engage him, he will hand you your laptop as if to say, “Don’t you have work to do?” I almost cried the first time Alex did it to me but then I pulled out the remote and defiantly told him I wanted to watch music videos *Alex’s favorite thing.” And he was over the whole work thing. We have that bridge to his young adulthood.

    Make Zelda your bridge. I am not a country music fan but learned to appreciate Lukes Bryant and even Pitbull.

    It is all about building bridges to stay connected as in sports and teams.

    Good for you watching Tucker who is coming a teenager rapidly.August 10, 2017 – 11:14 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I am not a country music fan, either but what we bond with our sons is what we bond with and of course, become fans. I’m trying with Zelda. August 10, 2017 – 11:27 pmReplyCancel

      • JT walters - You played baseball out side and made scrabbled eggs for dinner, you turned drowning Tucker into swim team Tucker, your family has come so far bonding.

        Personally, I worry about all of our children getting lost in those nonse videos so Tucker is wise to have you watch him and you are wise to play Zelda with him. You have taught him to discover the beauty in nature as I recall you two digging for ire.

        Be aware of that clock. It is ticking away. It is reminding you that parenting is a short time experience.

        .

        Like I said I’m captive to Luke Bryant and Pit Bull.August 11, 2017 – 9:16 amReplyCancel

  • Debi Lewis - This is just beautiful. It is also totally brilliant to see watching them play a video game as just like watching a sporting event — and I can’t believe I’ve never thought of it that way. My daughter watches YouTube videos of people playing SIMS, and I never understood the attraction until reading this. “Show me,” you say, and that conveys so much of the way you seem to really SEE your son, really try to understand him. I learned so much from you here. Thank you, Kristi.August 10, 2017 – 11:53 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - You’re so kind, Debi, thank you. I never thought about it like that either… Tux watches Dan TDM playing Minecraft and I’ve always wondered WHAT? WHY? But it’s a bit the same, as watching football, or something, right? Thank you so much for your kind words. They mean so much to me. August 11, 2017 – 9:18 pmReplyCancel

  • Lux G. - So much has happened. Time flies, huh? Your not so little boy looks gorgeous. I wish you and your family well, this August and always.August 11, 2017 – 10:12 amReplyCancel

  • Dana - I had no plans to write for this FTSF, but this…now I have to. For all the Augusts. Thanks for inspiring me, Kristi. xoxoAugust 11, 2017 – 12:28 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - That I inspired you to write your amazing post is an honor and I thank you. So glad you wrote. xoxo LUNCH after school starts??? First day here is 28th. That Friday? August 11, 2017 – 9:27 pmReplyCancel

  • Allison Smith - Wow. I’m not sure where to begin. I will skip over the contentious – cause you know I don’t like the Broncos. I will agree that watching ANYONE play video games sucks. I cannot believe how long his hair is – he looks so different. Was it only last summer we saw each other? And finally. I am very very sorry about your ex-husband. Shocked! Did he have a health condition? As you know, my brother died in his sleep as well. Everyone says if you have to go, that’s the way – but not in your forties. And it fills me with terror – the thought that when I put my head on my pillow each night…So, so, so sorry.August 11, 2017 – 12:28 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOL Broncos RULE, sister. And yeah, it was last summer. He hasn’t had a haircut since then… decided he wants a manbun after watching some YouTuber… thank you about my ex. He didn’t have any health conditions and I can’t claim to know much about his life over the past 15 years. They did do an autopsy but no results for a couple of months… I try to not think of dying each night, but wow. So scary 🙁 When are you free to catch up on the phone, anyway? August 11, 2017 – 9:30 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @TheGoldenSpoons - Well, if you read my post you know I TOTALLY get this! Damn August! Hoping for more days while simultaneously wishing away the minutes – yes!, yes, yes!August 11, 2017 – 2:58 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOL Damn August is so right! Yes to days and wishing away minutes. Happy birthday to your August babies and hubs, Lisa!August 11, 2017 – 9:35 pmReplyCancel

  • Twindaddy - Don’t blink. Soon he’ll be a hulking senior with plans for what he will do after graduation. Sigh…August 12, 2017 – 4:44 pmReplyCancel

  • Echo - I find myself saying no way to often and for various reasons. I need to open myself up to saying yes to my kids more often, before they get old enough to stop asking me all together.August 14, 2017 – 3:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - We have zero school supplies as of today. We do have some leftovers though so I feel like we have something.

    Christopher is 12 and “watch me” hasn’t ended yet, thankfully he’s over Minecraft because I just couldn’t. As he’s getting older I do tend to give him more of my time because I feel in a flash one day he won’t be asking me. Don’t beat yourself up for not watching when you’d rather be or need to be something else. I think there is a time and a place when it’s the perfect moment even if the time eventually runs out – we get it in when it counts most – hopefully in the life changing moments when they are deciding who they’ll become – we were there, present, engaging and helpful.August 15, 2017 – 3:40 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - We ordered the too expensive school tool box, mostly because I just *can’t* right now… I love that Christopher still has “watch me” and yeah, I feel like the time is fleeting too. I get that. Thank you for the a few years from now perspective too… always such a good reminder of how fast it goes. August 19, 2017 – 11:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Linda Atwell - I am sorry that death and life and love and worry all occur in one month. In your birth month. 🙁

    You always make me think. My initial answer to one of my kids would have been no. Then you brought me along your journey, allowing me to think about how watching games at events is watching someone else play. I love how you think things out, process them. You truly are the best.August 17, 2017 – 9:16 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw thank YOU for your kindness. I don’t get there on my own, ever. I think I get there because I’m so dang old! UGH 🙁 to that, but also that I’m here, for this age, and well, all of it. Thank you. August 19, 2017 – 11:45 pmReplyCancel

  • My Inner Chick - ***August is the realization that each of us is always old enough to die.***

    you do it to me every single time.

    When I read your words, I know my heart is still beating)))

    xxxx from MNAugust 18, 2017 – 4:20 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I hate that we;re always old enough to die. But, it helps, right? I mean, remembering that we are? August 19, 2017 – 11:46 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerry - I hear time in a way I haven’t heard it before. Time is marching. I can hear time marching.

    Such a powerful line, that you hear that.

    I also love Tucker’s answer to why watch.

    Summer of birthdays for you and yet I am sorry you had to do something so sad in the month of yours.

    Happy Birthday Kristi. I hope you could enjoy it, once you were back with your family and life, this week. I know back to school looms and it means a lot of time keeps on marching on.

    I am no fan of video games nor football, but good for you for being the mom who puts some of that aside for your boy when he asked you to do that with him.August 26, 2017 – 5:56 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Kerry, I’m so sorry I didn’t see this sooner. It’s been ONE HECK of a month and summer… but I hear time marching even more now, and thank you for the happy birthday wishes. School started here yesterday, and we should talk about football and video games. They can be amazing. Or, annoying. Maybe mostly annoying but amazing too… August 29, 2017 – 11:53 pmReplyCancel

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