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

I Hope I Get This Summer Right

My parents were big believers in camping. Each summer, they consulted maps, weather patterns, calendars, and the neighbor’s availability to water our many macrame-potted ferns. They made plans, and the five of us loaded up into my dad’s green Scout International named Homer, complete with a CB to converse with truckers to get the 10-4 on speed traps and non-existent traffic. The back seats were folded down and Homer was packed with tents, sleeping bags, food, and fire-pit safe pots. My brothers, our dog, and I were left with two feet on top of it all to travel on.

I remember those camping trips as magical and as a frightening pain in the ass. The whole cooking on a fire thing, pooping in the woods, and bathing in the river were freeing for a couple of days. Then, it got old, as did the musty tent smell that seemed to follow us for weeks upon returning home, regardless of the drains in regular showers and sleeping bags airing out on the porch.

Camping at the firepit in the 70

There was the year that Junior, the dog, caught a rattlesnake and killed it just before it killed my brother, or something close enough. That may have been the year that my dad, out of nowhere, grabbed my ankle while driving to somewhere because, as the oldest, my legs were the longest and most reachable. He said “If I hear one more word about poop, gas, or vaginas, I’m leaving you all on the side of the road!”

My brothers and I got years of comedy out of that. Each time one of our parents seemed annoyed, we’d shout to one another “If I hear one more word about poop, gas, or vaginas, I’m leaving you all on the side of the road!” and burst into giggles.

I think my parents got those early summers right.


While lying in bed with my son last night, at a much too-late hour, he sniffed and snuffed, tossed and fluffed. Arms, under the covers, and then the covers thrown off. His pollen allergies were making it difficult for him to fall asleep because while sniffling and snuffling is fine by day, once we lie down, it all becomes more there, stuffed, back of throat and overall annoying.  While he sniffed and shifted, I was getting more and more agitated as the minutes ticked by. I knew he’d be tired today, and I know that his repeated tiredness means he’s more likely to become ill, and I want him healthy to enjoy his first ever for-real birthday party on Saturday.

His birthday isn’t until July, but nobody is around in July and there’s also the fact that he’s never cared about having a birthday party before. We usually go to the beach, or on a trip, but now he cares greatly and deeply about having a party here. We want his friends to come, and they aren’t around near the 4th of July, either.

And so we are going over the top of the top with this party, and he’ll have an obstacle course, a bounce house, a Superhero theme, swimming, and finally, pizza and cake with 14 of his closest friends. Or, at least those who he thought to mention when I asked who he wanted to invite. To say that I’m stressed out about summer would be stating the obvious but I know it’s going to be fun. Damnit, it’s going to be fun. I’m going to get this summer party right.


During his shifts and his shuffles and his snuffles and his comments, I heard his words, paused, and I breathed them in with presence and peace. “Stay here forever, Mommy,” he said.

And I wanted to. Just moments before that, I wanted him to go to sleep and to stop talking and asking me things like “Do skeletons eat? Where did their eyeballs go?”

His words. Oh, my, his words. “Stay here forever, Mommy” reminded me that it’s only been a couple of years since I prayed silently and out loud for him to talk. To be able to have a conversation with me. To wonder about things like where skeletons’ eyeballs go. And so I fluffled my own pillow on his bed, flung my leg outside and then again beneath his covers while my arm around him did not move, and I stayed there. I may have stayed for almost forever.

I, at least, got the night right, and the summer is still ahead of us.


This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, where writers and bloggers gather to complete the same sentence and share our variations on it with one another. This week’s sentence is “This summer…”

Your hosts: Me, as always (
Lisa (
Reta (
and Allison (

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  • Dana - I did not go camping as a kid, and therefore I detest it as an adult. S’mores are awesome though.

    The party will be awesome. How can a Superhero party not be? James had one when he was younger too. I understand be stressed about it though – you will survive and Tucker will have a blast.

    I’ll be thinking of him when I too am sniffling in bed tonight. I shove a tissue up my nose so I can get some sleep…have you tried that? It’s very classy – Matt loves it.

    Jeez, this is the most all over the place comment ever. Sorry!June 11, 2015 – 10:17 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - S’mores ARE awesome. Camping can be but it’s also a ton of work and better in Colorado than here because here has bugs and snakes more than Colorado and I’m terrified of bugs and snakes. Of course, Colorado had that rattler… huh.
      I HAVE tried the tissue up the nose! It’s brilliant AND sexy. Win win for sure.June 12, 2015 – 9:18 amReplyCancel

  • Reta Jayne - Awww. I bet his birthday WILL be fabulously fun. . . & I can SO relate to those bedtime moments. . . The irritation followed by a realization of what a blessing that moment really is. . . Those are the moments to live for. . .June 11, 2015 – 10:19 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - They so are the moments to live for, Reta Jayne! Thank you and I’ll let you know how his party goes!June 12, 2015 – 4:56 pmReplyCancel

  • Allie - Oh honey, please don’t put so much pressure on yourself. I am confident that every summer has been awesome in Tucker-World:)! And I know his party will be perfect. And honestly…he probably won’t…well you know where I’m going:)!…remember this summer. I just quizzed H&A and they don’t remember the road trip from 2011 – and they’re 14 &10! Just take it day by day.June 11, 2015 – 10:20 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks Allie! He better remember this! Or, I’d better take tons of photos to prove to him later what an awesome party he had!!June 12, 2015 – 6:56 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - I’m so impressed that your family went camping. We never did, but always stayed in fleabag motels, which in some ways is close to camping? Anyway, I totally get you being stressed about the party. I always used to say that throwing my kids birthday parties was more stressful than planning a wedding. I guess it’s bc you so want all the kids to have fun and then you also worry about the parents…I just think it’s awesome that tucker wants a party and is so into it. As long as he has fun, nothing else matters.:)June 11, 2015 – 11:25 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Fleabag motels are totally close to camping! Except you know – no bugs and dirt and stuff. I’m so happy that he’s totally into his party! This is a first and the way I see it, totally counts as a milestone!June 12, 2015 – 6:58 pmReplyCancel

  • Kelly L McKenzie - Stay here forever Mommy? I bet you just melted and clung to that bed with all that you had. What a wondrous phrase. From anyone. And doubly so from Tucker.June 11, 2015 – 11:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Nicki - My mom had a CB – don’t ask me why but I only remembered now reading about your dad and Homer! And also… vaginas.
    Everything about this is so right… especially the author and the amazing mom, friend, person she is!June 12, 2015 – 12:43 amReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - Oh my word your Dad’s line – that is HILARIOUS! I think that’s the best parent line ever.
    As for the birthday party…are you seriously having Tucker’s first ever real birthday party on Saturday??? Guess who else is doing that? Us! For Zilla! And yeah, we might be a bit overboard, too. I’m over it. They’re so worth it.
    I feel so much the same some days…did it today…where all I can think (and unfortunately sometimes say) is PLEASE stop talking. You talk from the minute your eyes open until the second they close at night – and even then you sometimes keep going. But if she ever stopped? Can’t even.
    I’ve been everywhere you took us in this post…well, except camping. No freaking way. Camp Marriott is roughing it enough for me.
    I love your post – as always – and I love you! <3June 12, 2015 – 12:54 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Happy happy birthday to Zilla, Lisa! And yes! Tomorrow (even though his birthday isn’t for three more weeks). YAY that they’re on the same day!! I hope you and your family have a very excellent time and that it’s even better than you hope it to be. No camping for you huh? I don’t think I’d camp out here in VA – too humid. Too many ticks. I love you too and can’t wait to hear about the partay!!June 12, 2015 – 7:15 pmReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - I am wiping the tears away and it is just moments like this with both my girls, too that make me know that for all the crazier moments, it is truly all worth it and than some.June 12, 2015 – 2:04 amReplyCancel

  • Anna Fitfunner - You will totally get this summer right, along with many more to come. You so have this. Plus Tucker has really good instincts; he will help you get there even without Homer and that musty tent smell.

    Okay, that’s enough about poop, gas, and vaginas for now!

    😉June 12, 2015 – 2:13 amReplyCancel

  • Kathy Tyson - You already got it right. Beautiful.June 12, 2015 – 2:19 amReplyCancel

  • Christine Carter - Oh this is just so beautiful… you always grab my heart and wring it out, Kristi. Always. Yes, my dear friend. You get a lot right. This night, this party, this boy… all of it. <3June 12, 2015 – 2:50 amReplyCancel

  • Ripped Jeans & Bifocals - Oh my. Zack’s birthday is in July, too, and we’re in a quandry about the party. And my other son, Kyle, always tells me he wants me to “stay with him forever.” So sweet. It was so great meeting you. So excited to see you again next month!!!June 12, 2015 – 3:53 amReplyCancel

  • Considerer - I hope the birthday party goes really well. It sounds like your summers were a mixture, but the good bits stayed, and that you’re determined to create good bits for Tucker. I think he’ll remember, and good for you. And YAY FRIENDS! That made me smile huge that he wanted to invite so many people.June 12, 2015 – 5:30 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - YAY FRIENDS! I know right? I let him invite everybody he wanted and didn’t say “oh we should…” I went with it. No guilt. Total fun.June 12, 2015 – 7:19 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana Dominey Campbell - SO, so beautiful… “Stay her forever mommy,” is HIS sweet voice… heart-melting!June 12, 2015 – 7:15 amReplyCancel

  • Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom - Oh my word, treasure those words forever, Kristi! I wish you the best with the party and I hope for good weather and good attendance. It is only now with my second child still having birthday parties that I feel like I get it right. Before, with my first, birthday parties were stressful because I worried too much. So I hope you can learn from my errors, be flexible, and go with the flow whatever that day brings!

    I had to laugh at the CB. We spent 2-3 weeks in a RV every summer, which was way better than a car I bet. But I mostly recall reclining in the back reading book after book while my parents seemed irritated that I wasn’t looking out the window taking it all in.June 12, 2015 – 7:50 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks, Katy! Here’s to being flexible and the kids (and the parents) having fun! HAHA to the RV and your parents being irritated you sat in the back and read! Also sounds way more comfortable than our deal – the Scout (Homer) was so packed that we couldn’t even sit up – we had to lie down on top of the gear!June 12, 2015 – 7:21 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerri - Oh my friend you got the night perfectly right. And the party? I’ll be sending good vibes your way. You are braver than I amJune 12, 2015 – 10:05 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I hope it goes well! I’m nervous. Tucker’s excited. We’ll see and yes, keep sending the good vibes!June 12, 2015 – 7:53 pmReplyCancel

  • Ivy Walker - My birthday (s) are august. Ive had exavtly two parties! 30 &50! You got it right sister! Can I come!?June 12, 2015 – 10:12 amReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - Beautiful Kristi! Even when we wing it I think we get it right. All our kids want (now) is for us to be there (accessible). You did give me slight anxiety about the party. Is it the kind of party where the parents hang out somewhere – helicoptering? Finally on this end I think we are all done with the snuffy allergies. I don’t know when I stopped clearing my throat. I just realized I hadn’t in a while when reading this.June 12, 2015 – 10:41 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Kenya,
      Yup. It’s at our gym (Lifetime Fitness – not sure if you have those down there). There’s going to be an obstacle course, a bounce house, superhero cape making, swimming, pizza and cupcakes. Each kid has one parent staying. So yes, helicoptering although I’m okay with that during the swimming part because Tucker can’t swim yet. It’s got the beach entry so super shallow 1/2 but then it gets deeper…
      I still have the snuffly allergies!June 12, 2015 – 7:59 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi - I hope Tucker has a wonderful birthday party–and a wonderful birthday in July!June 12, 2015 – 11:21 amReplyCancel

  • Mimi - Kristi, it’s going to be an awesome party! And can’t believe how we both wrote about our boys and their beautiful hard earned voices. ESP via cyberspace. Thanks for sharing your fond memories about camping. I’m not much for the woods, but I understand the benefits and hope my children learn them with summer camp. Haha. Can’t wait to hear about the big soirée. Have a ball!!June 12, 2015 – 12:02 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Mimi, I loved your post! I love that ours were so similar. May the Force be with you and Mr. B all summer (and all lifetime) long. So hey – Tucker hasn’t seen Star Wars yet. I was wondering if it’d be too violent but maybe not since Mr. B has seen them all?? HAHA to Summer Camp! Thank you!June 12, 2015 – 8:03 pmReplyCancel

  • Valerie Newman - Happy Birthday to Tucker. I’m loving the poop, gas and vaginas story. Ours were all about the farts. lololololJune 12, 2015 – 1:57 pmReplyCancel

  • Sandy Ramsey - Well, you’ve done it again. I have tears. They are good tears, of compassion and happiness. You are a great mama to Tucker and I have no doubt you will move heaven and earth to make sure his birthday party is nothing short of amazing. You are such an inspiration, Kristi. I love you.June 12, 2015 – 2:05 pmReplyCancel

  • Jena Schwartz - Gah, that photo of you! And his words. Your words. Love this.June 12, 2015 – 3:14 pmReplyCancel

  • Gretchen - This is beautiful, tearfully heart swelling-ly beautiful. And a reminder for all of us to soak up those moments when our kids want us near them. I am constantly worrying about what I’m getting wrong as a parent but those moments, the lying in bed answering random questions moments are the ones we’ll remember. That they’ll remember. Thank you for this…June 12, 2015 – 4:41 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw thank you Gretchen! I so appreciate your kind words! And you’re so right – those moments at night, when we can just relax and not worry about all of the to-do’s and listen to questions like why skeletons don’t have eyeballs, that’s what we’ll remember. xoJune 12, 2015 – 8:16 pmReplyCancel

  • Erin Johnston - Oh, sending you tons of virtual hugs for a great party – I know it will be great!June 12, 2015 – 5:29 pmReplyCancel

  • Marcia @ Menopausal Mother - “Stay here forever, Mommy.” THAT just melted me.June 13, 2015 – 12:16 amReplyCancel

  • Sandra - Well I’m slowly getting back into the groove of blogging. This is definitely a blog hop I’ll join next week. Your writing is exquisite and you know the precise moment to tug on my tear ducts. PS: I. Love. Your. Dad! !!!!!June 13, 2015 – 12:23 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Sandra,
      I think you’ll really like this bloghop. It’s not just a linkie dump party – everybody visits a bunch of blogs and it’s a great group. Looking forward to you joining next week! And thank you for your kind words about my writing. I love my dad too! He’s awesome 🙂June 14, 2015 – 11:32 amReplyCancel

  • Erin Gaynor Putman - I love everything about this. The skeleton eyeballs, the birthday party, and of course, the amazing, “Stay here forever.” I am in that place where I pray and dream of skeleton eyeball questions. You give me/us hope. XoxoJune 13, 2015 – 3:27 amReplyCancel

  • Julie Martinka Severson - Oh Kristi, love this. If there’s ever a day where I hear one of my kids say, “I think my Mom got it right” about anything, I’ll die a happy woman. That photo of you and the caption is priceless.June 13, 2015 – 12:50 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana Schwartz - Oh this post is so great Kristi! I’m cracking up at your camping memories and then nearly crying at your son’s sweet voice asking you to stay with him forever. Gulp!! I hope his party is fabulous, it sure sounds like it will be 🙂June 13, 2015 – 1:12 pmReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - “Stay here forever, Mommy” – it just doesn’t get much better than that!June 14, 2015 – 2:10 amReplyCancel

  • Tamara - “If I hear one more word about poop, gas, or vaginas, I’m leaving you all on the side of the road!”!!!
    With Scarlet also turning six in early July, we do our parties in late June before everyone, including us, goes away.
    I’m totally stressing. And totally digging it too. There are eight more days of school, but who’s counting? A wide summer is still ahead.June 14, 2015 – 8:32 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Don’t stress, just dig. Our party yesterday was totally awesome (said with the Valley Girl accent which you may be too young to get but trust me it rocked). We have 5 more days of school. Countdown, baby.June 14, 2015 – 10:36 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ Golden Spoons - I’m not much of a camper. Sleeping on the ground (albeit inside a tent) with no electricity and no running water just does not sound like fun to me! 🙂 As for the rest of it, you get it right a lot, Mama! If only we really could stay forever.June 14, 2015 – 2:43 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I’m no longer much of a camper, either, Lisa, but I used to be and kinda miss it (but not here in VA where there are too many ticks). And yeah, if we stayed forever… xoJune 14, 2015 – 10:37 pmReplyCancel

  • April G - I feel for Tucker. I haven’t been able to sleep at all because my sinuses have been completely closing up as soon as I lay down. Ick!

    Can you do summer wrong? Enjoy your time together and he’ll remember them. 🙂June 15, 2015 – 4:13 pmReplyCancel

  • Pretty Wellness - I get sentimental over time. I think back to how my son only started to talk, read and write a few years ago…and now as a six year old he’s his full blown person. I do love our nighttime cuddles because he gets really sentimental with me, too. Like your son – wanting me to stay in the moment forever. Happy Summer Break.June 17, 2015 – 10:10 pmReplyCancel

  • Pretty Wellness - I get sentimental over time. I think back to how my son only started to talk, read and write a few years ago…and now as a six year old he’s his full blown person. I do love our nighttime cuddles because he gets really sentimental with me, too. Like your son – wanting me to stay in the moment forever. Happy Summer Break.June 17, 2015 – 10:10 pmReplyCancel

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