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

I am the Mother to a Six-Year-Old.

When I was six, we lived in a small house with a linoleum kitchen near the entrance, a family room on the right, and a 70’s carpeted hallway between the two that led to our bedrooms. Mine was at the end on the left, and my younger brothers shared the one on the right. On the wall between our rooms, there was a mirror.

I am the mother to a six-year-old.

I remember being six. One day, a friend at school shared her grape-flavored Bubble Yum with me – a treat as my mom had allowed only sugarless gum, and even that was rare.

“I’m going to sit here until I learn,” I said. I was determined. My friend Suzy knew how to blow gigantic bubbles that covered her face, her hair, and her giggles. I wanted to be able to do the same – maybe more than anything I’d ever wanted before.

I sat on the floor in front of the mirror, chewing and stretching, manipulating the gum with my fingers to achieve a more even distribution. I sat there for hours. My cheeks hurt, and I felt like I’d never blow a bubble, until I did.

I blew a bubble! A real one that reached my nose if not my hair. I’d done it, and I wanted to jump up and down, but didn’t. I didn’t want anybody to know I had sugar gum, and I didn’t feel any different on the inside.

Instead of jumping, I pressed my forehead to the mirror and stared.

I saw me. My eyes had rings and specs. I’d never noticed them before. I wondered whether it was true – that we are of the stars and of more.

***

Today, my son is six. He is the age when I wondered at eyes having rings and specs, and of being separate. Alone.

“I have to see!” he said, and ran to the mirror. My little boy had lost his first tooth. It wasn’t real until he’d seen it in the mirror for himself, in spite of the tiny tooth I guarded in my palm.

***

I sat in my crappy apartment after losing who I thought I was. I’d said goodbye to the home we’d saved for, the boy I thought would be the father to my forever family, my job, and my dignity. I sat, alone. I put my forehead to the mirror. I talked – to my past? my future? Probably both. I cried and gave up that night, until I didn’t.

I saw me. My eyes had rings and specs. I’d forgotten them. I’d forgotten being separate and alone, but also not, because of the stars, and of more.

***

I catch glimpses of myself in the car window, and forget how old I’ve become. I am shocked at wrinkles and sags and at age. I slump my shoulders, wishing I’d become a mother sooner than I did, and I know why the moms in this neighborhood do not embrace me the way that they might if I were 30. I get into my car, my husband next to me, my six-year-old in the back, and we drive.

“I used to be prettier,” I say. “My eyes were bigger, and more full of stars.”

“Shhh. You’re beautiful,” my husband says.

“I know this song, Mommy!” my son says. “What’s the name again? Let’s dance!” I tell him the name, turn to him, and bounce in my seat along with him, ageless, of no time.

We giggle, and I remember my earlier reflection, mourn my youth, and then see his flawless skin, and know that  if I am lucky enough to be in this body in 20 years, or in 40, that I will look back and see that today, I am young, and of now.

I am of today to my little boy who grips my hand more tightly at bedtime. “Stay here forever, Mommy.”

In his world, my wrinkles don’t count and my age doesn’t matter. That I can open water bottles and scare bad dreams away is my super power.

Looking in the mirror brings us all of the people we’ve been and they blur with the ones we hope to become. We blur because our focus is on another, like a photo that captures what’s important.

***

I look at this boy of mine, and I hear his broken words that I know he will one day feel less-than. I know that he already has.

And I know that he knows that I don’t hear anything broken in his words, or in him. He knows that I see him, and that he’s my favorite forever no matter what other people see, including himself. Tonight, I know that when he looks at me, and holds my hand in the dark, that he sees me, and that wrinkles and age don’t have anything to do with that.

I am the mother to a six-year-old.

I am his dance partner, and his reminder that he is perfect and unbroken, even when he feels as if he is broken and imperfect. I am his reminder that we are all imperfect and broken, and that we’re made that way on purpose, and are, therefore, perfect. After all, we’re of the stars, and of more. 

My little boy sees his mommy.

I am the mother to a six-year-old.

I am the mother to a six year old - findingninee.com

***

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “When I look in a mirror…”
Your hosts:
Me, (FindingNine.com) and this week’s sentence thinker-upper, April of April Noelle.

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  • Kenya G. Johnson - Beauuuuutiful! I think the advantage of being an older mom is that we can’t hardly be a grandparent at 45 like some of my friends. So therefore, we ARE younger and probably FEEL younger that a 45-year-old grandma.

    And I LOVE the way children love.February 11, 2016 – 10:33 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - You know, that’s really true. It gives us experiences in life that we may have experienced before, but are doing so now… and that DOES keep us younger, because being the mom to a boy who is six, at my age…February 12, 2016 – 10:20 pmReplyCancel

  • Don - Hey! I’m the dad to a six year old boy who just lost his tooth! Is it the same kid? This was really great, Kristi. You weren’t meant to be a mom to Tman until you were. Young you wouldn’t have the same patience or understanding or experience to deal with him the same. You’d have still been great, but not as great as you are now. Just my opinion. For what it’s worth, I think you’re beautiful too, wrinkly ass and all.February 11, 2016 – 10:36 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Hey! I do think it’s the same kid because hello. Wait, that never happened. Right so thanks, you. So right that I wasn’t his mom, until I was and yeah. Thanks for thinking my wrinkly ass face is beautiful.February 12, 2016 – 10:23 pmReplyCancel

  • Tamara - You sure are, and I am too!
    I remember being six but I remember even more how I felt when my sister-in-law got a job teaching first grade.
    “First grade?? That’s so little and adorable!”
    I have to tell myself that a lot.
    By the way, I’m linking up tomorrow. I love this.February 11, 2016 – 11:27 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I remember six and also when I was nine, thinking they were so young, as my mom taught first and second grade. I have to tell myself too.February 12, 2016 – 11:05 pmReplyCancel

  • Julie S. - This is wonderful because you’re so right, in our child’s eyes we are a super hero and can do everything that is amazing. But don’t we just see something different when we look in that mirror?February 12, 2016 – 12:14 amReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - Aw, Kristi seriously I couldn’t have said this better if I tried and I, too am the mother of a six (almost 7) year old and the range of emotions I feel just by looking in the mirror lately is huge, but still deep down am so thankful for the fact that if nothing else I am still just me and truly loved by both the 6 and the 5 year old, too! 😉February 12, 2016 – 3:05 amReplyCancel

  • Stacey DeHaven Gannett - That was amazing, Kristi! That is oh so true, there is nothing more beautiful than mommy through the eyes of their child, at least that is how it should be. Have an amazing week and always be blessed in that admiration!February 12, 2016 – 3:22 amReplyCancel

  • Tulika Singh - Isn’t that just the best thing about kids – that to them you’re just a mom and nothing else matters. Have a good weekend.February 12, 2016 – 4:02 amReplyCancel

  • Lizzi Rogers - Absolutely utterly beautiful. All the alls. Love the reflection, the mirrored journeys, the looking-glass life and the way you weave words and stars and thoughts and story.February 12, 2016 – 4:14 amReplyCancel

  • April Grant - I took a similar route, but I’m a mother of a 12 year old (today to be exact). It’s scary and the marks remain everywhere. Beautiful.February 12, 2016 – 4:16 amReplyCancel

  • Christine Carter - Oh my heart… This grabs it in all the good places. I remember that time I too, was the mother of a six year old… Now I’m reliving those days. And each year since. “We are of the stars… and more.”

    Thank you, for inspiring me to believe in it all- being on purpose and perfect in all the right ways.February 12, 2016 – 4:46 amReplyCancel

  • JT Walters - i see a complete stranger who speaks of biochemistry, Neuro-chemistry, and law. Where did this person come from? She is so divorced from the person I was. As a more mature Mother too I think I have a bit more wisdom but sometimes lack the energy to keep up with my son who I also danced with until he was 12 and decided it was not cool anymore.

    But I look in the eyes of my beautiful son who when I taught him about existentialism also taught him about astronomy. The Stars reveal our history, present and past. What is has always meant to be. That is kind of hard when my son has rare disorders but I see the sparkle and I know he is full of magic.

    Unfortunately he is a teenager and hanging with Mom is not as cool as it use to be. Cold winter nights when we do take out he will sneak in my bed and put his cold feet on me to warm them.

    Enjoy those moments because they fly by so quickly.

    YAY Hubs for saying the right answer!!

    Beautiful piece about unconditional love for your family and finding it for yourself!February 12, 2016 – 5:01 amReplyCancel

  • Sandra - This was so lovely and although there was so much success substance to this post, the second you mentioned wrinkles and sagging skin, I started pulling at the waddle on my neck. I wish I was okay with ageing but I don’t think I’ll ever be.February 12, 2016 – 10:21 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Sandra, UGH to the wrinkles. Trust me that I am not immune to treatments and expensive lotions and all of the all shit. Gah.February 12, 2016 – 11:28 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - Yup, you nailed yet another FTSF post! I think I was too afraid to try this one this week, because looking into a mirror now and I mean REALLY looking is scary and I’m not just talking about the aging stuff (which sucks – ugh I hate my neck now!) but all that stuff on the inside too that may not actually be reflected in a mirror but you know it’s there. I think Kerri said it best in the comments on FB that this post was like therapy and I so get that.February 12, 2016 – 10:35 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw thanks Emily and you know that you’d ROCK this prompt, and just saying that it’s open until Sunday if you decide to write…February 13, 2016 – 12:57 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Also yeah, I know. Aging SUCKS 🙁February 13, 2016 – 12:57 amReplyCancel

  • Rabia @TheLiebers - Our kids make us feel old and at the same time they keep us young. I spent 20 minutes the other night watching my boys jump over my sewing mat on the floor. “Watch me, Mommy!” and then “Ooops! I blinked, guys. Do it again!” It was hysterical! And one of those “guess you had to be there” moments!February 12, 2016 – 11:07 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I love your had to be there moment! Sounds fun, and beyond time and space and wrinkles.February 13, 2016 – 12:59 amReplyCancel

  • Kerri Ames - So beautiful, my friend.February 12, 2016 – 12:53 pmReplyCancel

  • Julie Martinka Severson - Ok, now THIS one is my favorite. Each time, you write something more favoritey worthy than the last one, so I just can’t decide. It’s ok to have more than one favorite isn’t it? Like more than one BFF? Kristi! You are so gifted. How you can describe three such vivid scenes from three life seasons, each with their own “rings and specs”, in one post and tie them together so beatifully and universally is amazing. Bubble Yum! No greater bubble making gum that that. Did you ever try blowing a bubble inside a bubble? “My favorite forever” That crushed me. What this world would be like if every person felt as though they were somebody’s favorite forever? You are such a good mama. Have a happy weekend.February 12, 2016 – 1:05 pmReplyCancel

  • Allie - This was hard for me to read. I’ve been struggling with the mirror lately. All the insecurity you describe, that’s me. Damn father time! And yes, I know deep down in my soul aging is better than the alternative, but that doesn’t mean we have to be comfortable with it. As for those other moms….well you know my feelings on that.February 12, 2016 – 1:10 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Allie, I know. DAMN FATHER TIME. For real. I know too, that it’s better than the alternative but still, it sucks to remember looking better but also when we looked better we still saw flaws and in 10 years, in 20, we’re going to wish we still loo like we do NOW, which is maybe hardest part of all.February 13, 2016 – 1:01 amReplyCancel

  • Clark Scottroger - Looking in the mirror brings us all of the people we’ve been and they blur with the ones we hope to become.
    my FTSF thoughts today, …more elegantly expressedFebruary 12, 2016 – 1:59 pmReplyCancel

  • Echo - This is so beautiful. I really love your perspective on yourself and life. It’s wonderful to be open to seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes. I hope that I can reach that point someday as well.February 12, 2016 – 2:12 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Echo, I hope that you can too. I write that I can, and sometimes, I really do, but also I write to remind me that what I see isn’t what is really there…February 13, 2016 – 1:02 amReplyCancel

  • Ruchira Khanna - Geez! this is such a beautiful post, Kristi. Gave me goosebumps esp the statement made by tucker, “Stay here, forever!”
    xoxoFebruary 12, 2016 – 4:01 pmReplyCancel

  • Susan Zutautas - Feeling pretty old today but feeling good as I’ve not written anything since last year ….. ummm way back into last year. This weeks finish the sentence prompt inspired me and I thank you and April for this. Hopefully my writers block is over with for now.
    I always love to read your posts especially about your son, and I too feel that I wish I’d have become a mom at a younger age.February 12, 2016 – 6:27 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - I look in the mirror and see the toothpaste smudges my kids left there. And then I get annoyed and then I remember that I am the mother of a 14 and 17 year old, and soon there won’t be toothpaste smudges on the mirror anymore.

    And that ^^ is why I didn’t write this week. But I’m glad you did.February 12, 2016 – 7:08 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Awww… please write. But yeah, I definitely get that. No smudges comes way way way WAY too soon.February 13, 2016 – 1:03 amReplyCancel

  • Pat B - This is such a sweet post. Your description of your memory of chewing the forbidden Bubble-Yum is a fun read.February 12, 2016 – 7:22 pmReplyCancel

  • Anna Rosenblum Palmer - Awww… it is the perfect mirror post. Past present and future.February 12, 2016 – 8:41 pmReplyCancel

  • Shay from Trashy Blog - Well, this was fucking beautiful, my friend. There are no other words. BEAUTIFUL.February 12, 2016 – 8:48 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - That you came by to say that this is fucking beautiful is the highlight of my month. THANK YOU.February 13, 2016 – 1:08 amReplyCancel

  • Anna Fitfunner - Kristi: You know that Tucker will always see you as perfect and unbroken as you see him. Thank you for sharing your magical moments with us, as seen through the mirrors of your life. Hugs!February 13, 2016 – 4:12 amReplyCancel

  • Mardra Sikora - Oh my.
    Love. That is all.February 13, 2016 – 12:46 pmReplyCancel

  • Mama Sick - I share a lot of the same feelings when I look into the mirror too. I even remember trying very hard to blow a bubble in the mirror too! I am 46 which seems old to me, but I’ve got to remember that I am young as compared to someone in their 80s. I need to treasure the age I am at and ignore what’s in the mirror because my son thinks I am beautiful no matter what.February 13, 2016 – 12:50 pmReplyCancel

  • Michelle Poston Combs - This is beautiful!February 13, 2016 – 12:59 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily Nichols Grossi - Oh, Kristi, this is just beautiful. Thank you for it! xoFebruary 13, 2016 – 5:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Shay from Trashy Blog - I would be here way more often, but life is so goddamned busy that I’ve had to slow way down on my blog reading in order to get my own writing done in the very limited hours I have to do it. Working on blogging and a new novel (like we all are, right?), and with a career, a little fun side job (I promise it’s not street walking–although I’m not judging any street walkers who happen to be reading, I swear), my two boys, and my other passions that include but are not limited to working out, reading, traveling, and drinking rum and cokes with friends, well, dammit, there’s NEVER ANY TIME! I’M SO EXCITED! I’M SO EXCITED! I’M SO…tired. LOLOL. But I’m preaching to the choir, I know. I miss you, friend! And that crazy Jen Kehl!February 13, 2016 – 7:45 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Shay! Well now that you mention Jen – we are launching a new site for parents with special needs kids! And I know what you mean about no time no time – I never have any either. I want you to finish your book so I can read it! I started a fiction one for Nanowrimo but got stuck… sigh. LOL to I’M SO…tired. DItto sister.February 15, 2016 – 12:41 pmReplyCancel

  • A.J. Goode - Oh, my goodness . . .

    You made me cry, Kristi. I really hated this week’s prompt at first, but it’s been amazing to see what everyone did with it — especially you! I love the way you used the mirror to show how we see things so differently in our own reflections, but I REALLY love the way you were to see the yourself through your son’s eyes as well.

    Thank you so much for this.February 14, 2016 – 8:14 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw AJ thank you thank you! Seeing myself through my son’s eyes helps me to remember that he doesn’t care about fat, or wrinkles, or whether I have mascara on… xoxoFebruary 15, 2016 – 12:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - This is so lovely, Kristi. I had every intention of getting in on this one, but…I missed it! 🙁 I also see the toothpaste smudges, and if I’m being honest I’ll say I really try to avoid the mirror if at all possible. 😀 Maybe I’ll write it anyway and just not link.February 14, 2016 – 9:48 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thank you Lisa! I can always add your link manually if you decide to write!February 15, 2016 – 12:45 pmReplyCancel

  • Roshni - I’m the only meanie here who’s going to let you know that my 12 year old son pointed out my crow feet and chin hairs yesterday!
    You’re welcome! 😀February 15, 2016 – 11:46 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Well my son has told his dad that his belly is too big, and he’s told me my breath is stinky, so there’s that 🙂February 17, 2016 – 11:07 pmReplyCancel

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