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

Reliving Childhood Through Our Children

We walk in the door, and I remind my voice to be gentle. Sometimes, she forgets. Tonight, she’s listened and is quiet, waiting. I’m quiet too, waiting for the right words. My son takes off his shoes and his helmet, pushes his scooter behind the door, and starts to walk away, head bent. “Buddy…” I say. He turns, runs, crashes into and climbs me. Crying.

He’s big now, and we topple.

We sit, holding each other right there on the floor of the entry-way.

“It wasn’t my fault,” he says. “I know,” I say. He buries his head in the place between my neck and my shoulder.

“Really?” he asks (wi-we)

“Really,” I say, trying not to think how close the car had come or how I’d yelled.

***

When I was young, there were two boys named Ricky. Both were next door neighbors in different houses. I loved the first Ricky when I was six.

We hid behind the bushes between our houses and made up secret lives. I was going to run away to the mountains and sell paper fans that I’d colored, accordion folded, and stapled. He was going to be a fireman who didn’t hurt people.

His dad was a fireman.

We pulled our pants down and placed dry kisses on each other’s butt cheeks, promising that it would be forever.

I was never sure whether his black eye was from his dad or his mom but he’d been bad and somebody pushed him into the kitchen table. He told me he was supposed to say he tripped and hit the bannister on the way to the basement.

I told my mom and pretty soon after that, they moved. I still wonder what happened to that Ricky.

Friendship is powerful. At age 6, 16, and 60.

RICKY!! WHERE ARE YOU?

***

“He’s a sensitive kid,” my son’s Tae Kwon Do instructor says to another teacher. He’s smiling, glances at me, and I smile back. He is a sensitive kid. He’d told the instructor that he broke his leg when he missed jumping over the obstacle course and fell down. Still smiling, I look over at my son sitting on the mats. Kids are running and leaping between us. I see my son through their blurs and realize he’s trying not to cry.

I wonder whether going or staying is better. Where once I’d have rushed to him, he’s more aware. I am, too. I wait, then open my arms and he runs. We walk outside to talk.  

“I didn’t win,” he says. “I know, Buddy. But it doesn’t matter,” I say, knowing that it matters to him and wishing it didn’t.

***

After Ricky moved, so did we, and that’s when I met the second Ricky. We moved in before the house was finished, so that my brothers and I’d be able to start the new school year in time. Our family of five lived in the playroom, and used my bathroom, the only almost-done rooms. I met Ricky pretty quickly. “My dad hates your dad,” I said. “I know, and mine hates yours too,” he replied.

For the first time ever maybe, my dad was a person that wasn’t always right and Ricky’s dad was a dad too.

“My dad says you ruined our view,” he said.

“My dad would have moved the house,” I said.

***

We’re sending out invitations for my son’s seventh birthday party. At first, it was an all-boy’s party. But then he decided that he wants to invite Amy* because Bobby* likes her.

“Well, she can’t be the only girl,” I say. “Maybe there are others you want to invite?”

He blushes and says “Maybe Michelle* I don’t have a crush on her but she’s pretty.”

I wonder if he’s found his six-year-old Ricky and what the next Michelle will be like.

***

It’s bedtime, and my son relives the events from riding his scooter earlier. I think about the boy who’s always there without his mother. My heart pounds, and I tell my voice to be gentle. She listens, and together, we ask my son about what happened. He’s a sensitive kid, and feels badly about something that truly was not his fault.

“Hey,” my voice and I say gently.

He looks at me. I tell him I’m going to whisper important words into my hands and put them directly into his brain. He nods.

I cup my hands and I whisper all of the words into them. I catch the words before they can escape, and place them on his head. I rub them in, making sure to “get all the brain parts, Mommy.”

We do this over and over and he calms.

He holds my hands in front of his mouth, and whispers. He says “Be gentle when angry or frustrated or mad,” closes my hands and rubs them into my head. “I learned this at school,” he says.

He then does the same for himself.

*not their real names

*** kristi rieger campbell finished post for finding ninee

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “When it comes to more youthful days…”

Tell us about youthful days of your own, or about how you miss the ones from your kid’s younger months. Tell us about what you regret or celebrate from your own life, or any life. Basically, talk about youth and how you feel about it today.

Your hosts:
Always moi, Kristi from Finding Ninee
and this week’s last minute co-host, the awesome Deborah of Life is Like a Hand Grenade

Finish the sentence Friday writing prompt

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  • Janine Huldie - Aw, love this as I lay with Lily snuggling me tonight as she is sad that kindergarten is ending and is heartbroken that she will miss her teacher, who she adores. Ode to be young and see it all through their eyes still though. Hugs ❤️❤️June 17, 2016 – 2:05 amReplyCancel

  • Deirdre Conran - Love this as always! Your blogs always make me smile. Too bad you never knew what happened to ricky!June 17, 2016 – 3:48 amReplyCancel

  • Life through my Bioscope - Hey Kristi, the way you calm him is so cool. I loved it. We certainly relive our childhood with our Kids and I find it hard sometimes as now I am in Parent’s shoes.June 17, 2016 – 7:28 amReplyCancel

  • Sandy - Kristi, it’s been a while. I have so many of your posts in my inbox to catch up on. I knew this one would be special and I was right. I love the relationship you have with your son and that you are so willing to share it. It’s inspiring.June 17, 2016 – 7:34 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Sandy! Hi, you. I love seeing your name here and your pretty smile on FB. Thank you! My son deserves more credit than I do. He’s such a gentle and sweet soul that he makes it easy to have a good relationship with him. xoxoJune 17, 2016 – 6:06 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @TheGoldenSpoons - First of all, Holy Moly – Tucker looks like you!!! I never noticed it so much until I looked at the at picture of you. 🙂

    I wonder what happened to that first Ricky too?? I wonder how many things I hear like that when I was a kid and knew something was wrong but didn’t really know at the same time?? I wonder if my girls hear things like that now?? (Actually, I’m sadly sure they do – I just wonder what they hear and how they respond.)June 17, 2016 – 8:02 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOL to Tucker looking like me Lisa (and YAY because doesn’t every parent want their kid to at least have some of them in them??). I tried to find Ricky on FB but had no luck. I wonder what my son hears as well. I think not much but oh gosh I don’t know.June 17, 2016 – 6:07 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - Isn’t it haunting – to think of kids like the first Ricky and wonder where they are today?

    I’ve often wondered whether staying or going is better (like you thought at Tae Kwan Do.) Now I’m always going, but my kids know I’d stay in a second if they needed me.June 17, 2016 – 10:08 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Yes – I did try to find Ricky on Facebook but no luck. Sigh. I hope he’s okay. Not knowing about staying or going is hard. It’s the pull away and hold close thing maybe.June 17, 2016 – 6:12 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - I know what you mean about re-living certain moments from our childhood through our kids and the experiences they are having now. I look at some of the friends they have now and wonder if that person will be their “Ricky” who they wonder about when they’re older. Of course, with social media, they have a better likelihood of keeping track of childhood friends than we do. I’ve tracked down a lot of mine, but there are still a few others who I wonder where they are now…June 17, 2016 – 10:40 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Emily,
      It’s true that our kids have a better chance of staying in touch than we did. I mean back then, if you didn’t have a phone number or an address, they may as well have lived on another planet. I tried to track Ricky down on FB but haven’t had any luck. Oh well. I hope he’s okay. And that the Rickys in our kids lives are able to be found…June 17, 2016 – 6:14 pmReplyCancel

  • Tamara - I hope Ricky is ok! We had a band of wild boys in our neighborhood and at least three of them are now dead. Two were brothers. Oh, those poor parents!
    Why did I crash your beautiful post with that?
    I hope Ricky 1 is ok..June 17, 2016 – 10:48 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - OUCH to the band of wild boys in your neighborhood! That’s scary and horrible. The poor parents is right. Sigh. I hope Ricky 1 is okay too. I tried to find him on FB but no luck…June 17, 2016 – 6:15 pmReplyCancel

  • Lizzi Lewis - *sigh* Now I’m wondering what happened to the first Ricky, and hoping he’ll be okay. T will be fine. He has you. I wish first-Ricky did. I know you tried. [< ---that, TOO, seals the deal on my #1000Speak]June 17, 2016 – 10:15 pmReplyCancel

  • Deborah Lovel Bryner - I absolutely LOVE the idea of whispering all the ‘important words’ directly into your hands and then rubbing them into his head…<3 <3 <3 Unfortunately, I know what happened to the Rickys from my own childhood, and it wasn't good. I'm so thankful that my own son has had a vastly different childhood from the one I had...and thanks for hanging in there with me until I unlocked the small intelligent part of my brain that REMEMBERS HOW TO DO STUFF...now the link is up and working and y'all can link to either Kristi's blog or mine for FTSF!!June 17, 2016 – 11:04 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerry - I had a Ricky too. His name was Rory. Hard to imagine them as anything but the little boys in memories. Somehow, now sure I will ever try very hard to find out what the adult Rory is up to. I believe he is on Facebook though.
    Another sweet portrait of your relationship with your son Kristi. Actually, I wrote something other than a blog this week. It’s a short short story and all your stories of you and Tucker have had an influence on me. Reading it back, I noticed a bit of influence in there from you. Thank you for that. Of course, all fiction and different story entirely. Just a small detection of the affect you have had on me since I started linking with FTSF.
    I just love the special, unique little rituals and things that are just between the two of you. They are so imaginative and uniquely yours.June 17, 2016 – 11:47 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Hey you, I’m going to read it now and I’m sure it’s absolutely brilliant and amazing and I am beyond flattered that you feel like there’s a slight influence in your post from us connecting. I’ll let you know what I think (going now).June 18, 2016 – 12:17 amReplyCancel

  • KErry - Hey. Allow me to clarify. When I say that I mean I wrote a short story, independent of the blog world. The post here is something else. The short story is for a summer writing contest here in Canada I’m submitting to.June 18, 2016 – 12:22 amReplyCancel

  • Allie - Girls at his party – oh momma, you’re going to be in trouble! Tucker’s going to be a playa! What are you planning?June 20, 2016 – 9:47 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Allie, it’s going to be great! A pool party with pizza and Minecraft cake. The cake’s going to be amazing (I hope) – one of my neighbors started an allergy-free baking company and is making one from a drawing I gave her 🙂
      And yeah, girls. Oh jeez. Wish you lived closer!June 21, 2016 – 10:52 amReplyCancel

  • Lux G. - I don’t have kids of my own yet but I see my cousins’ offspring and say, wow, isn’t that familiar. 😀June 22, 2016 – 11:10 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - Awww that was so sweet! And about Michelle* – too cute!

    I hope your first Ricky grew up to be okay. Today I regret not saying anything about a friend I had in middle school and I know her mom “beat” her. She showed me her bruises. In my mind I couldn’t fathom it being done for no reason and wondered why she was bad at home if she was good in school. 🙁 But one time she told me she got a bad beating and it was my fault. We had gone to the movies and had to call her mom to pick us up. There was only a payphone at the Pizza Hut. It was raining. She asked me to go call her mom. So I ran to the pizza hut and called and I was out of breath when I told her our movie was over. She beat her daughter because I sounded impatient when I called. So she stopped being friends with me. I’ll never forget that. And I so regret that I never said anything to my parents. Good for you being so young and saying something.June 23, 2016 – 8:00 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Kenya,
      The Michelle* thing is adorable. 🙂 And scary because SEVEN?? Really? Already? Still cute though. That’s so sad about your friend and how her mom didn’t let her be friends with you for sounding impatient when out of breath. That’s really sad. I hope she ended up okay and that her mom got help… sigh. I don’t think kids really know when to say something to their parents and I think it’s totally normal to assume that if a kid is punished that it’s the kid’s fault, you know? We’re working with Tucker right now on understanding that when we (or a teacher or whoever) doesn’t like his behavior that we still like him. He’s not convinced so we have to be really careful about how we talk to him when he’s doing something we don’t approve of. This parenting stuff is hard but being a kid was too. Anyway, I ramble. I feel sad for Ricky and for you and your friend and for pretty much all kids who don’t know what to do or say. I’m also a bit over-emotional, having just gotten home from T’s birthday trip. So there’s that. Anyway. Thanks. And you couldn’t have known. Truly.July 5, 2016 – 7:35 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - I forgot to comment WOW to how much you Tucker looks like you!June 23, 2016 – 8:02 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Kenya,
      The Michelle* thing is adorable. 🙂 And scary because SEVEN?? Really? Already? Still cute though. That’s so sad about your friend and how her mom didn’t let her be friends with you for sounding impatient when out of breath. That’s really sad. I hope she ended up okay and that her mom got help… sigh. I don’t think kids really know when to say something to their parents and I think it’s totally normal to assume that if a kid is punished that it’s the kid’s fault, you know? We’re working with Tucker right now on understanding that when we (or a teacher or whoever) doesn’t like his behavior that we still like him. He’s not convinced so we have to be really careful about how we talk to him when he’s doing something we don’t approve of. This parenting stuff is hard but being a kid was too. Anyway, I ramble. I feel sad for Ricky and for you and your friend and for pretty much all kids who don’t know what to do or say. I’m also a bit over-emotional, having just gotten home from T’s birthday trip. So there’s that. Anyway. Thanks. And you couldn’t have known. Truly.

      OH! And thanks! Sometimes he really does look like me but he’s got his daddy’s build/body. Like his height and his ears and shape of head and feet. All dad’s not me. 🙂July 5, 2016 – 7:36 pmReplyCancel

  • Sara - “Be gentle when angry or frustrated or mad” -Smart kid. I wish I could remember that.July 4, 2016 – 4:05 pmReplyCancel

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