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

Fifth Birthdays, and How Special Needs Parenting is Better than Sea Monkeys

Note: I’m linking up with the TToT because I’m thankful!! Yes, I posted this on Tuesday (while our trip was awesome, the wifi was not and I really really wanted to link this up last week). For those of you who already read this, feel free to check out my LTYM VIDEO, because I’m super thankful to have been in this amazing show! And for Zoe, who wrote Tucker a POEM!

Like so many are, this is a story about love. It’s also about worry, doubt, confusion, acceptance, tiny and gigantic miracles, friendship and family, joy, celebrations, and life.  Oh, and sea monkeys.

Mostly though, it’s about love.

Fifth Birthdays, and How Special Needs Parenting is Better than Sea Monkeys

A fifth birthday and special needs parenting is better than sea monkeys

Five years ago, while the country headed home from ooohing and ahhhing over Fourth over July fireworks shows, my son Tucker was born. I spent hours marveling at how there was no way that his very small his ittybitty, teenyweenie perfect little face could not be a single bit more perfect. I knew that nobody had ever loved anybody else in all of the history of time as much as I loved him. Except, you know, the people who have and do.

I had a baby. One that I never ever thought was possible. One that I was scared to hope for, but dared to hope for, anyway.

I said thank you. I said please. I said everything and felt everything but mostly was like WOW, LOOK WHAT I DID and was unbelievably thankful because 40 years is a lot of years to wait to be a mom.

Time passed, a kazillion baby books were consulted , and early milestones were met.

We celebrated. We worried. We doted, and we played.  We lived.

We lived while the whispers of worry and doubt over unmet milestones got louder, and the unmet milestones got bigger. Or, at least more obvious.

We lived while it was finally time to seek doctors and evaluations and teachers and early intervention and we lived and died, but mostly lived, when we heard The Words.

The Words that Tucker was and is and maybe-probably-always-will-be developmentally delayed. We lived through The Words.

Autism Spectrum Disorder. Severe speech and language delays. Atypical development. Typical in some areas. Atypical in so many others. Which, in itself, is atypical.

Even though it doesn’t actually happen that people become special needs families overnight, it feels that way because until the doctor or the teacher or the evaluator, or all of them -all at once- say it out loud, you think your kid and your family is just like all kids and all families.

Then, you feel scared.

Maybe a little bit like you totally screwed parenting up and, maybe this whole thing is your fault because if you’d just talked to him more, or made him go to daycare to socialize, or maybe if you’d let him watch less Caillou when you selfishly took a shower, maybe, he really would be the imagined just-like-all-the-rest-of-the-kids, kids.

But, probably not.

And everything is scary and terrifying all over again, just like that first night in the hospital when you realized that maybe being a parent is just as terrifying as it is amazing.

Everything is scary and hard and worry-filled and a little bit dark.

Until it’s not.

One day, you wake up and realize that life looks exactly as beautiful and messy and disorganized as it did before you heard the words. The sun still shines, the clouds still cloud, and the laundry still sits there, undone. Your kid is still the best boy ever.

You meet people. Therapists and other parents and other kids and, while they have lots of similarities to each other, they have lots of similarities to everybody else in the whole wide world, too.

The Big It gets less scary. And mostly hardly at all even sad any longer, when you know that your kid won’t learn to ride a bike or a scooter until later, or possibly never, and that’s not what matters anyway, because he’s still totally perfect. As perfect as all of us are.

Which is not that perfect. But it’s magic and happyhappy and a trusting little boy hand gripping your own, full of confidence that you’ll lead him through the parking lot safely. And maybe even through life safely.

Being a special needs mom means giving up dreams. But it also means that the new ones are just as awesome.

It’s awesome, as in please don’t feel sorry for us.

In fact, I’d even say that being a special needs mom is better than Sea Monkeys.

Because Sea Monkeys sound like the coolest thing, ever. I mean adorable little monkeys swimming around a fish bowl?!! Playing with each other and playing with you, and smiling at you and having their cute little monkey faces have adorable unique little features so you can tell them apart and know that the one named Benito will never be mistaken for Carter, because Benito has that little tuft of Sea Monkey hair!!

The stupid Sea Monkeys are not cool at all.

Nor are they monkey-like in a single, solitary way. They are so un-monkey like, in fact, that not only do they not have monkey hair, or arms, or little monkey hands with which to wave to you from their sea in your room, they have no faces.

And you can’t tell them apart at all and obviously they are the worst pets ever invented.

Being a special needs mom is the opposite of Sea Monkeys because when you think about being a special needs mom before being one, it sounds like it will be hard and sucky and hard and judgy and hard and maybe you might even think that if your kid can’t do the stuff you had always dreamed about doing with him, that it wouldn’t be fun. You think it might be as faceless (because, until now, it has been, as the Sea Monkeys really are).

Except that it’s not sucky, it’s full of faces and expressions, and love, and it is fun.

It’s magical and wonderful and amazing and beautiful and even better than Sea Monkeys would be if they were actually little Benito and Carter with their funny little monkey faces, being the friends you’d hoped for.

It’s better than you’d even think about dreaming for.

One day, you start planning a beach vacation. Because the little baby with the ittybitty, teenyweenie perfect little face that could not be a single bit more perfect is turning five.

Whoever said that the moments are boring, and that the years are too short was right.

I love the moments, though. Because these moments, right here, are lifetimes. Full of wonder, light, and are, my friends, the faces of five.

Soaring Beach Flying


Robert and Tucker in waves

We have had pool time, and beach time, and waterpark time, and flying.   We had Boardwalk roller coaster rides, and fearlessness (Tucker’s, not mine).

Hate my wrinkles but love that my son got my eyes

We had swinging, high up into the air.

Huge SwingWe’ve had heart-stopping ocean moments, when Tucker was twisted and turned in the post-hurricane waters that left me shaking and crying, and him, asking to do it again.

We have a funny, crazy, amazing, shy, crawling on his knees to avoid his best friend’s grandparent’s faces, dare devil boy.

The boy who crawled to get to me wanted to climb, until he got scared. Which was okay, because I’d have been scared, too.


We are celebrating special needs, because we are celebrating this kid.

FindingNineeTuckerHatWe are celebrating Five. Saturday night, one night too late due to the hurricane, we celebrated with a fireworks show on the beach.


I sat there, my legs resting in the cool night’s sand, with my not-so-little-but-still-little little boy in my lap, snuggled against the ocean breeze, ooohing and aaahing to the fireworks that we missed five years ago for his birth, and life was perfect.


We were young and old and everything in between.

Connected to all of the betweens, and all of the people, everywhere.

We were just the regular family and we were the best family. We were the best and the youngest and the oldest and the most complete.

And, when Tucker asked me what the fireworks said, because maybe the patterns looked like words, or maybe, because he, too, felt the import of the moment and wanted to be sure he wasn’t missing the message. I answered. “They say, ‘Happy Birthday, America. Happy Birthday, Tucker. Happy Birthday, ThisLife.”

He smiled.

And I knew, again, that this is exactly, perfectly, my perfect, perfect boy.

My perfect, perfect, messy, messed up life.

As the firework’s peak ended, and people began to get up and leave, we sat. Sighed, and gave thanks.

Tucker looked at me and said “Hm. I say?”

“Yes, Baby? What you say?”

And he said, “I say, thank you fireworks.”

Yes. Thank you, fireworks. Thank you, life.


Ten Things of Thankful

Your hosts: A Fly on our (Chicken Coop) Wall, Amycake and the Dude, Considerings, Finding Ninee, Getting Literal, I Want Backsies, Mother of Imperfection, Rewritten, Thankful Me, The Wakefield Doctrine

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  • Mytwicebakedpotato - Loved this 🙂
    Especially the “not so little but still little boy”
    I understand thatJuly 7, 2014 – 11:30 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Yeah, the not so little, little boy… sigh. He’s still a baby, ya know? But not.July 8, 2014 – 7:12 pmReplyCancel

  • Chris Carter - And…. there IT IS! There is no greater feeling than that of landing in your mom place, with your perfect child and your perfect purpose. I am SO glad you embraced each and every moment this weekend, celebrating such a LIFE moment together.

    All of it. Messy, maddening, breathtaking,Perfect.July 7, 2014 – 11:51 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - True that, Chris, that there’s no better place than the mom place to land, and to celebrate, no matter how we got where we are.July 8, 2014 – 10:18 pmReplyCancel

  • Lana - Well, you did it again, and now I’m sobbing like a baby over here! Happy Birthday to your perfect son, and congratulations to you, the perfect mom for him. Have a great week!July 8, 2014 – 1:15 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Sorry for the sobbing, and thank you thank you thank you huge. I hope your week is amazing, too!July 8, 2014 – 10:19 pmReplyCancel

  • Out One Ear - Linda Atwell - Happy birthday Tucker. This is a beautiful tribute to a beautiful little guy.July 8, 2014 – 1:47 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, big, Linda. Are you in Alaska right now? And how is Nick??? here’s to amazing travel, and well, of course, Tucker turning five, too 🙂July 8, 2014 – 10:20 pmReplyCancel

  • Considerer - “Happy Birthday, ThisLife”? He’s every bit as deep and wonderful and amazing as you 🙂

    This is GORRRRRGEOUS and I love it to pieces, and you, and Tucker, and all the everythings of perfect that you all are and this is, even if someone feels the need to wrap it in labels – none of those people are here. It is what it is, and it’s LIFE and it’s lovely.

    Thank you for sharing Tucker’s birthday 🙂July 8, 2014 – 1:48 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw, dude, thanks! The “Happy Birthday, ThisLife” was me. He was the “I say, (hesitation big) Thank you, fireworks” which, for HIM, is as big or as huge as “happy birthday this life, as, well, just a little over a year ago, water was still “ah.” We love you to pieces too, and labels are stupid and helpful and all of the betweens. <3July 8, 2014 – 10:23 pmReplyCancel

      • Considerer - You know what, I remember when you wondered if he’d be able to speak…he’s thanking the fireworks for bringing him happiness…he SPEAKS. And even if it’s sometimes still mu-isk, you know what? He can be understood and time will bring more words. He’s not daft; he’ll be alright, I’m sure. He’s making such progress, but more importantly, he has you in his corner, and he KNOWS IT. That counts for most of all.July 9, 2014 – 1:46 amReplyCancel

        • Kristi Campbell - Aw, thanks, Lizzi. That means a lot and you’re so right. He SPEAKS, and that’s hugehuge.July 9, 2014 – 1:29 pmReplyCancel

  • Nicki Gilbert - Kristi this is such an exquisite tribute to all motherhood everywhere – perfect, messy life indeed! Thank you for sharing your story so beautifully, so compassionately. LOVE the idea of the fireworks having something to say – happy birth day, happy life, to you all always! xoJuly 8, 2014 – 5:17 amReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - Totally grinning ear to ear reading this today. Tucker’s 5th birthday looked absolutely perfect and magical, too. Seriously, hope I can now do Emma’s justice next week. Just so very happy to get to be a small part of his special day though and see the recap here 🙂July 8, 2014 – 6:57 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I know you’ll do Emma’s bigger than justice, Janine. And, you know what? One thing I learned from Tucker’s fifth is that it just mattered that it mattered. He was fine when we said “no more toys” and that his cake wasn’t what he wanted (I should post about that too). It was just being special and five that mattered. You will ROCK Emma’s, I know it. <3July 8, 2014 – 10:24 pmReplyCancel

  • Louise - Happy 5th Tucker!

    It looks like you had a wonderful weekend – and the post was worth the wait 🙂July 8, 2014 – 7:36 amReplyCancel

  • Kerri - Happy Day Boo’s Tucker!!!! You are just precious beyond words but your momma managed to do it. Awesome tribute to your son, my friend. Simply awesome.July 8, 2014 – 9:03 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Kerri. I guess I’m kinda wondering if the sea monkey thing made it here, or if I should use it somewhere else??? But thank you.July 8, 2014 – 10:35 pmReplyCancel

  • Sandy Ramsey - Oh, Kristi! This has me in happy tears. Every time I read a post of yours I think to myself this is the best one yet. Then I read another one and find out I was wrong. I love every word of this post and Tucker is so big and so handsome! Happy Birthday to your gorgeous in every way son!
    I’ve said it before….God knew what he was doing the day he gave Tucker to you…and you to Tucker.July 8, 2014 – 10:40 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Sandy,
      You are So Kind, too kind, and thank you. Tucker IS so big and so handsome and how big he is breaks my heart a little lot a bit and wow, time. I believe you’re right that God gave him to me and me to him, on purpose, but sometimes, of course, I think I’m flunking him, like all of us think, I guess. And thanks, you, you.July 8, 2014 – 10:55 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - I loved the sentence scared to hope for but dared to hope for anyway. The other day Christopher asked me what was the best thing that had ever happened to me. At first I said because I have lived a lot longer than him, it was hard to choose. Then I said, “Actually the best thing that ever happened to me was having you.” He said, “Thanks mom.” I couldn’t see his face he was in the back seat but I felt that’s what he wanted to hear anyway 😉 – not that “hard to choose” explanation.

    Love the last line.

    I’m glad you guys had a beautiful “post hurricane” day. Love the pics and I really wanted to see one of the orange cake. 😉July 8, 2014 – 2:04 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Kenya,
      I think the having ONE kid thing is bigger and huger than we realize now. Because of course, of course (!) growing up, we (at least I did, and suspect you the same based on what I know of you) expected to have at least two, maybe three and while four sounds crazy it also sounds okay???) thought it would be different. But you know what? I’m glad we have one. Christopher and Tucker will always always know that they are our best things. LOVE that he wanted/needed that from you and I’ll show a pic of the no longer orange cake but orange letters soon, I promise!July 8, 2014 – 11:05 pmReplyCancel

  • Drun Kenman - Kristi, this is such a wonderful, heartfelt tribute to your amazing boy. Happy birthday, Tucker!July 8, 2014 – 2:28 pmReplyCancel

  • Uplifting Families - Happy Birthday to your son, I hope he enjoyed his birthday and sea monkeys. I remember seeing my friend have some of those creatures, they were weird. It is funny how kids enjoy the simple things in life, enjoy it because it doesn’t last forever. As a teenager, he will want big toys like phones, tablets, game consoles and more.July 8, 2014 – 5:51 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Sea Monkeys are icky and yeah, I know what you mean about big kids wanting big toys!!July 8, 2014 – 11:13 pmReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Beautiful post! Happy Birthday Tucker! I can’t even imagine how magical your day was! What an amazing birthday celebration!July 8, 2014 – 7:28 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Sarah. he did have a magical day (after the hurricane passed anyway).July 8, 2014 – 11:21 pmReplyCancel

  • Lorre Lyons - Beautiful words! Happy Birthday sweet boy!July 8, 2014 – 8:58 pmReplyCancel

  • Sandy @ Being Content Where We Are - Such a sweet face in all of those pictures. Happy Birthday! I also have a 5 year old and identified with every word. Thank you for sharing his birthday celebration with us.July 8, 2014 – 10:07 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - I just love that conversation at the end — sooo awesome and sweet and innocent and PERFECT. And I love the moments too. I think sometimes those of us who have kids with any type of challenges learn to appreciate those moments sooner, because we take so much less for granted. At least I hope so.July 8, 2014 – 10:38 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I think you’re right about us appreciating the moments sooner when we have kids with challenges, Emily. Totally!July 9, 2014 – 1:49 pmReplyCancel

  • Courtney - Aw! This was so perfect. You are a wonderful special needs mom! I adore your pictures and Tucker’s sweet face. I hope he had a wonderful birthday! (My fave is the one of both of you. He looks so much like you!)July 8, 2014 – 10:42 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw, thank you, Courtney! You’re pretty awesome your own self, ya know? And he really did have a fabulous birthday. Spoiled and perfect.July 9, 2014 – 1:52 pmReplyCancel

  • Jessica Drummond - Absolutely beautiful, heartwarming, and so true! Happy Birthday Tucker.
    July 9, 2014 – 12:00 amReplyCancel

  • Meredith Yeverino - Happy Belated Birthday, Tucker! You’re mommy sure is over the fireworks for you!

    I just came from a support group for a group of mothers who are parenting special needs children (myself included). Your article is energy-giving. I think we under-emphasize that “typical” children are challenging in their own ways. Our individuality is intentional like a unique fingerprint of humanity. =)

    Thank you for sharing. I’ll visit again for your refreshing perspective. Blessings to you~July 9, 2014 – 12:05 amReplyCancel

  • Kristi - Better than Sea Monkeys, indeed! Happy birthday to Tucker, and thanks for fireworks!July 9, 2014 – 12:35 amReplyCancel

  • Roshni Chintalapati - Happy birthday to your wonderful, sweet boy!!July 9, 2014 – 1:01 amReplyCancel

  • Robert Martin Campbell Jr. - Words cannot express the gratitude and joy for the last five years with Tucker. You are truly in my eyes the world’s best mommy.

    Your loving redneck husband

    I cannot believe we had such a great time at the Jersey Shore…what great people and onderful week. July 9, 2014 – 2:15 amReplyCancel

  • Mike - I so loved this, Kristi! You echoed my sentiment that I’ve left in comments more than once about your adorable little Tucker – “And I knew, again, that this is exactly, perfectly, my perfect, perfect boy.” That’s only how I ever see him and will ever see him! Just in the time I’ve followed you and read dozens of your previous posts before we met I felt like I’ve been able to share along in reading your’s and his journey 🙂 I sent a message the other day and doing so again here, Happy Birthday Tucker! I loved all of the pictures so very much but would pick that smile and on the swinging ride as my favorite. So free and full of joy in his right and perfect heart! So much love always sent to you guys from us! 🙂July 9, 2014 – 3:02 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Mike,
      You are the BEST commenter ever. I love that you see Tucker as perfect (he really is) and thanks so very much for the wonderful happy birthday messages for him. Love back to you guys!July 9, 2014 – 2:00 pmReplyCancel

      • Mike - Right back at you for BEST commenter our dear Kristi! 🙂July 9, 2014 – 3:43 pmReplyCancel

        • Kristi Campbell - XO let me know when you’re in DC. I won’t cook because duh but we’ll buy you a nice dinner 🙂July 22, 2014 – 8:36 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ Golden Spoons - I love this post! You have so aptly described how it feels to hear “the words” and how that feels, but also how it feels to live and realize that life is still beautiful and your child is still perfect. Happy Birthday Tucker and well done mama!July 9, 2014 – 7:56 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks huge, Lisa! Life is really still beautiful even after hearing the words. (those dreaded words that we – I think – make too big of a deal of because really, he’s still the same kid before hearing the words right?)
      xoJuly 9, 2014 – 2:01 pmReplyCancel

  • Christine - Oh Kristi, you are such a fantastic mom. I’m glad you had such a great time at the beach and watching the fireworks.
    Happy birthday, Tucker!July 9, 2014 – 8:19 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks so very much, Christine! I hope you’re feeling great and not in too much pain from your knee surgery. And the beach and fireworks really were wonderful.July 9, 2014 – 2:02 pmReplyCancel

  • Kimberly - “The sun still shines, the clouds still cloud, and the laundry still sits there, undone. Your kid is still the best boy ever”
    This whole post.
    All of it.
    Makes me call you a giant asshole because I’m in tears. You’re a good mom and don’t forget that. He is loved unconditionally and look at him bloom into an even awesomer awesome of the awesome. Makes no sense but you get it.
    Happy Birthday wee manJuly 9, 2014 – 9:30 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Sorry for being the giant asshole who gave you tears, Kimberly and yeah, I totally get the awesomer of the awesome of the awesome and love it. And thanks huge for your awesomest of comments, awesome one.July 9, 2014 – 2:03 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - First, happy birthday Tucker! Second, I love that your experience as a mom of an amazing boy with special needs has been the complete opposite of sea monkeys. That’s a message that other parents should hear – that I’m sure many NEED to hear. Even if it’s not exactly what you imagined it would be, motherhood and your baby are better than you ever imagined, right?July 9, 2014 – 9:34 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Dana! I’m glad it’s the complete opposite of sea monkeys, too, because they are seriously the worst pet ever invented. And yeah, motherhood and my baby are way better than anything I ever dreamed. xoJuly 9, 2014 – 2:04 pmReplyCancel

  • Kathy at kissing the frog - Better than sea monkeys indeed. I like that analogy. There is nothing that is the same about parenting a special needs child. It completely makes you a better parent. I see that now. I used to wish that things wouldn’t be so hard, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way.July 9, 2014 – 11:15 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I know what you mean, Kathy! I think it really does make us more appreciative for sure, and I can’t say that I’d have it any other way, either. Hope you’re having a great week!July 9, 2014 – 2:05 pmReplyCancel

  • Sarah Rudell Beach - Fireworks, indeed. I am in love with this post. It’s awesome, and you are awesome and Tucker is awesome. I’m so excited I get to meet you soon. Happy birthday to Tucker!July 9, 2014 – 1:21 pmReplyCancel

  • Julie Chenell DeNeen - Happy birthday!!! Now, Sea Monkeys are one of the great disappointments in this life. I hate the marketing and the tank and the agony when you realize they are not monkeys AT ALL!!! xoxoJuly 9, 2014 – 8:01 pmReplyCancel

  • Katia - I’ve actually never heard of sea monkeys (I live under a rock) but your analogy here was so beautiful and made the whole thing sound so magical that I thought it was something you invented until I read Julie’s comment. I absolutely love how you describe special needs as getting a face and that face is that single most wonderful and fulfilling, inspiring and significant face in the whole wide world and so “special needs” becomes that face and that takes the edge off The Words. You write so beautifully and originally that I am often at a loss for words after reading your posts. I feel that way right now. Happy birthday to that wonderful, wonderful face, and toes and smile and hair and loveliness and wonder which is your boy, Tucker. And to his absolutely amazing mama.July 9, 2014 – 8:42 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw, thank you Katia! Sea Monkeys are the dumbest thing ever. I think they’re actually tiny shrimp. You get a package of them like freeze-dried or whatever, and add them to water and “watch them grow.” They’re gross and dumb! I love your comment. So much. Thank you.July 11, 2014 – 10:04 amReplyCancel

  • zoe - HEY my wifi crapped out and lets me comment sometimes but your site is one of those ( Dyannes too) that doesnt like my phone so long story longer… I missed the comment on the bday party and just wanna say two things:

    1. If see monkeys dont have crowns and little castles then dont freakin advertise em like they do! seamonkeys suck air! which I suspect would kill them… they are basically krill which is food for fish so hell… what? Im growing the equivilent of brocolli and would be more excited by that… okay rant done!


  • Anna Fitfunner - I remember “I like Dumbo ride” – my older son’s first unprompted words, which he spoke at Disneyland. We reacted just like you did to Tucker’s firework joy.

    It’s magical watching kids make sense of their world, and their place in it.

    Congrats on helping Tucker to grow and develop into everything that he can be. Know that he truly loves you.July 10, 2014 – 6:38 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - “I like Dumbo ride” is full of awesomeness, especially as your son’s first unprompted words! That’s so cool!!! And I agree – watching kids make sense of everything is the best magical git ever. Thanks so much, Anna.July 11, 2014 – 10:10 amReplyCancel

  • Jill @ Do Try This At Home - Found you on the pin it party & had to rush right over because of the title. Very sweet post & happy birthday to Tucker!July 11, 2014 – 6:59 amReplyCancel

  • KeAnne - Beautiful post, and happy 5th to your sweet boy! My son turned 5 on June 2, and it’s hard to believe he has reached that milestone.July 11, 2014 – 12:58 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks so much for the comment, KeAnne, and happy birthday to your son! 5 is a HUGE one, right? I mean, it’s like all of a sudden too soon, they’re no longer babies…July 12, 2014 – 11:49 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - How did I miss this??? Was I cleaning my house? You have reduced me to tears once again because…yes. All of it. Happy happy (belated) birthday to all of you!!!
    Zilla turned 6 in June and it’s so hard to believe it’s been that long…and that short…already.July 12, 2014 – 4:06 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Lisa, same way we all miss these – life gets in the way, which is totally how it’s supposed to Be and all that goodness. And yeah, so hard to believe it’s been that long and short and fast and slow, and happy happy belated birthday to Zilla who wow – six. Time it flies.July 12, 2014 – 11:51 pmReplyCancel

  • BB - You’re awesome. What a great way to view special-needs parenting, and what a great ally and source of love you are for your son.July 12, 2014 – 9:11 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - You’re awesome BB. I just commented on your post. I want you to write an Our Land, if you’re up to it. and xo.July 13, 2014 – 12:05 amReplyCancel

  • Tarana - Happy fifth birthday to your perfect boy! As always, beautiful post, Kristi. I love how you are so good at describing exactly what you want to say. Your writing really touches hearts.July 13, 2014 – 9:25 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks Tarana! I don’t always feel like I get the point across the way it’s in my head, but I suppose close enough is close enough. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend!July 13, 2014 – 3:35 pmReplyCancel

  • Joy Christi - That looks like THEE most wonderful vacation, for thee most wonderful family! Happy birthday handsome Tucker! He’s so lucky to have such a wonderul, loving, thankful Mom!July 13, 2014 – 12:26 pmReplyCancel

  • Romi - What a powerful piece of writing this is, Kristi.

    A little belated Happy Birthday to Tucker! And Happy Birthday to This Life!
    Happy Birthday to a new day!July 13, 2014 – 5:49 pmReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Exactly. You, as always, write it perfectly.
    Don’t even apologize for being out of the loop. I have been a mess and a half this summer trying to keep up with houseguests and trips and family illness.July 13, 2014 – 5:59 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Sarah, the whole summertime IRL stuff is crazy. We have no babysitter for this next week unless a friend of mine comes through with a nanny share thing, and ugh. No clue how I’m going to be able to work and stuff!! Thanks for getting it but yucky to the family illness. I hope everybody is ok???July 13, 2014 – 11:16 pmReplyCancel

  • Val Newman - My heart is filled with so much love for Tucker and you and what a wonderful caring, loving PERFECT mom you are. And he is precious and adorable.

    Happy Birthday, Tucker

    ValJuly 13, 2014 – 6:29 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Awww thank you thank you!!! He’s totally precious and adorable. And also, sometimes a crazy monkey monster, but we love him then, too 😉July 13, 2014 – 11:17 pmReplyCancel

  • Jean Baldridge Yates - pure happy! xoxoxox jean <3
    July 13, 2014 – 7:21 pmReplyCancel

  • Marisa - I am new here and will be posting soon my TTOT –

    Happy Birthday to your perfect boy! 🙂July 13, 2014 – 10:00 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Can’t wait to read it, Marisa!!! And thanks for the sweet birthday wishes 🙂July 13, 2014 – 11:18 pmReplyCancel

  • Jhanis - Look at that handsome young man! He is so lucky to have you as a mom, and how lucky you are to have such an awesome kid Kristi. You are such a strong person and I look up to you. I understand the fear, my little girl is a little behind on hitting her milestones too but we plod on. And you are such an inspiration!July 14, 2014 – 10:27 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw, thanks so much Jhanis. I’m so lucky to have him. The fear is scary but really, we’re all so blessed. Here’s to plodding on and on, friend.July 17, 2014 – 12:05 pmReplyCancel

  • Jolene Philo - Happy birthday to Tucker, and thank you America, for sharing your birthday party with this wonderful boy. I enjoyed getting to know you through this post. Thank you to whoever added it to’s Tuesday link share.July 16, 2014 – 9:12 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks so much, Jolene. Tucker’s one awesome little dude for sure! 🙂July 17, 2014 – 12:09 pmReplyCancel

  • Anna - He’s climbing a rock wall!!! Climb on!July 19, 2014 – 10:46 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Anna, well, it looks like he did a lot better with it than he actually did because of the photo. He wanted to climb it though, which is big. Huge. 🙂July 19, 2014 – 11:35 amReplyCancel

  • Laurie Hollman PhD @ Parental Intelligence - Happy Birthday Tucker. Amazing how each birthday reminds us of the
    first.July 19, 2014 – 8:20 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - It really really is amazing. And how, as they grow, even old mamas like me want to do it again and again. Thanks much.July 19, 2014 – 11:56 pmReplyCancel

  • Sylvia - Happy birthday to a sweet boy! It looks like you all had a successful celebratory day out. Tucker looks absolutely ecstatic! I’m so glad he had a wonderful birthday! Kristi, only you would be able to come up with some way of relating being a special needs mom to sea monkeys! I hate those things, but I love being a mom, special or otherwise!July 19, 2014 – 9:17 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw thanks so much Sylvia, we did have a successful trip – it took a few days to get it all in, and too late bedtimes and well, you know but yeah, I cannot complain because it was mostly beautiful and wonderful. HAHAH to sea monkeys and hating them! THey are awful!!!July 20, 2014 – 12:46 amReplyCancel

  • Misty - awe, that comment from your hubby is so awesome! i love to read your blog. makes me feel like i am right there living the moment with you. i think i have sand in my hair now. this post, all of your posts, is such a wonderful story about what it’s like to be a special needs family. we are all just ordinary people living extraordindary lives, right?!July 21, 2014 – 6:26 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw Misty – I agree that the comment from Robert was awesome and thank you huge big huge for the gigantic compliment!!! So happy to read that you have sand in your hair after reading it (and the best kind of sand needs no washing out yeah?). And yes. We are all just ordinary people living extraordinary lives. Or extraordinary people living ordinary lives? Almost, if you really really think about it, the same thing. Which is the part that binds us. xoJuly 21, 2014 – 10:51 pmReplyCancel

  • Allie - Okay, that was ALLL kinds of wonderful!!!!! What a wonderful way to celebrate your boy – boy with the trip and the tribute! I agree whole-heartedly. My favorite is the line “Please don’t feel sorry for us.” I feel the same way. We have a wonderful, crazy and messy life, just like you.July 22, 2014 – 10:37 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks big Allie!!! It was awesome to take that trip with him. We almost hardly at all complained about the rides being per ticket prices rather than general admission when he had to ride the roller coaster and water rides a billion times. I know what you mean – it’s easy to feel sorry for us, right? But we do have crazy wonderful awesome lives… xoJuly 22, 2014 – 8:38 pmReplyCancel

  • Lanaya | Raising Reagan - Tucker is such a beautiful soul because he has an amazing mother! I miss you beauty.
    I see you’re posting about as often as I do these days! Damn busy fucking lives!!!! LOL

    Hugs to you and Happy {very} belated birthday to T-man!!

    LanayaJuly 25, 2014 – 1:35 pmReplyCancel

  • Out One Ear - Linda Atwell - I loved this the first time I read it and I loved it the second time–even more.
    Hope you are having the time of your life this weekend. I believe you are at BlogHer winning more and more awards–because you deserve them. Hope your upcoming week will be grand.July 28, 2014 – 2:10 amReplyCancel

  • [email protected] - To me, this has less to do with special needs as it does with special connection. About parents who are so in tune and in love and involved with their child that nothing else on earth matters.

    I wish that if this was what it meant to be special needs, that every child in the world was special need. I love how you love him – and how he loves you back.July 28, 2014 – 2:15 pmReplyCancel

  • My Inner Chick - –3 Words.

    He. Is. Beautiful. <3August 2, 2014 – 8:40 pmReplyCancel

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