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

The Days, Years, Smiles, and Brave Mr. Buckingham saying “That Didn’t Hurt!”

The first house I remember living in had a tiny linoleum kitchen with wooden folding doors leading to it from the family room. My parents locked the doors way up high with one of those eyelet locks because my brother was hyper-active and sugar was his drug.

We found ways to get in, anyway. We’d climb on chairs and boost one another up, and always got in. Oh the days, and those early years.

Getting to forbidden sugar isn’t the point of this particular story though. This is a story about the days, the years, the smiles, and Brave Mr. Buckingham saying “That didn’t hurt!”

I feel like the kitchen was mostly yellow but can’t say for sure. Our table sat next to the window, my seat directly in front of it. I’d lean back, balancing my chair on two legs, and found harmony when the chair’s head rested on the windowsill holding me solidly angled and just-right.

“You’re going to fall or break the chair,” my parents said. “Sit properly.”

One day, a tooth of mine hung by a string and I was scared about pulling it. My dad had a book from his childhood – Brave Mr. Buckingham. It was about a boy afraid of having a tooth pulled. He was told the story of this Native American guy (in the book, released in 1935, he was called an Indian) who lost a foot, his other foot, an arm, a torso, and so on. After each of his accidents, Brave Mr. Buckingham said “That didn’t hurt!”

I loved that book.

At the end, the little girl in the story fed Brave Mr. Buckingham strawberries, who by then, was just a head sitting on a kitchen table in a feathered headdress.

Weird fact side-note – I’ve wanted my dad’s childhood copy of that book for years and nobody seems to have it. I Googled it, cannot find a copy to purchase, and learned that its author also wrote Pat The Bunny. Life is weird because we have several copies of Pat the Bunny, and not having Mr. Buckingham does kind of hurt. I remind myself that it doesn’t hurt-hurt though.


In that linoleum kitchen, there was a day when I shattered a mercury and glass thermometer. I’d been leaning back in my chair, lost balance, and crashed forward, biting down. “Don’t swallow!” my parents said, and I didn’t. I can still feel the saliva under my tongue, wondering whether I’d die.

They fished balls of mercury from my mouth. Placed it on the tablecloth. We played with it, separating it, watching it roll. My dad probably got a science lesson in about mercury but I just remember how cool it was that it’d roll like a ball but then be melty-ish in a cup.

I didn’t die, and tilted back in my chair there and in the next house for the rest of my childhood.


I think about how quickly and slowly summer happens each year. I think about my son’s school year ending and a new one beginning.

“That didn’t hurt,” I said, knowing it hurt, because each year passing hurts all of us a little bit even as we grow and find grace.


Tucker went to Parkour Camp last week. He’s obsessed with it, and also so so hard on himself that I was worried. I needn’t have worried though. They were wonderful with him. So encouraging, helping him climb down when he was meant to climb up, telling him that he can do it.

On the final day, he jumped into a 12-foot foam pit, yelling, “I believe I can fly!” on the way down. The first day, he scooted into it on his butt. I have video but am terrible about video editing but promise to share soon, either here or on the Book of Faces.

School starting again soon hurts although I think I’m mostly okay with my not-so-little little boy going into second grade. It hurt enough to try and prolong it, and so we went to the beach, where I think about each year’s smiles and growth and new words and remembering my own childhood trips.

I think about how my son has grown and about how his smile has stayed the same each year on the beach.

Robert and Tucker in waves

About how tall he’s gotten. Comparing yesteryear to this one…


It didn’t hurt at all to watch my son pretend to paddle in a sea kayak in front of me on the smooth waters of Fenwick Island Bay. Jellyfish all around us, and nobody fell in. 


We let waves slam us and remind us of our size both big and small. “That didn’t hurt,” we said. Except that it did, a little bit because the waves were strong and the sand was biting. Except it also wasn’t, because learning to love wave-slams from a boy who seeks sensory input is pretty beautiful.


The beach in August hurts a little bit anyway, because night time came around 8:00 rather than 9:00. Anything ending hurts a little bit.

But mostly, the years passing do what they do. What we do within them, and with them, is what matters. Here’s to remembering the moments that sucked, the ones that were life-changing, and to knowing each year ahead holds as much beauty and grace as the ones behind us do.

To also remembering that progress, acceptance, and evolution needs the years passing in order to continue.


Finish the sentence Friday writing prompt

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. Our sentence this week was “When it comes to the years…”

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  • JT Walters - I am with you on the years passing stinking. I miss my two year old little communist who did anything and everything I asked him and use to squeeze me so hard with his hugs. I miss him wanting to be with me and I am so tired of constantly have to fight the state of Florida to get him basic fundamental services. But I also see, in small portions, a few people accepting Alex and that makes my heart jump for joy.

    Being a parent does hurt. It is also the most wonderfully rewarding marathon of unconditional love. You find strength you never had.

    Who would have ever thought I could endure 12 hours a day of YouTube videos?? Or I would travel for the past 16 years none stop just to get my son basic services that have now been cut?

    Who knew I’d be able to stand up for my son who not only has autism but two rare disorders that the state of Florida somehow overlooked when they called me names and attempted to smear my reputation? I am still standing and still asking for services our government is determined not to provide my son. So every year we endure disenfranchisement it hurts because Alex sees not purpose in government any longer. Honestly, nor do I except to be the most horrific parents to their children/citizens. This country’s moral authority is gone when the neglect to enfranchise and include children with disabilities and that has been going on since the 1990(s). It is close to 30 years of abusing the disabled and their families. God knows how horribly our country abuses children and parents of rare diseases so yes, another year they do it is very pathetic but it is also another year that no matter what they have done to me…I am still here. I am still advocating and I will never surrender!! That is good for my son and every child that is different. But I miss my baby too!!August 26, 2016 – 1:27 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I know you miss your baby too! And you’re doing SUCH an awesome job as a mama to a teen – your courage and tenacity amaze and inspire me. State of FL vs. JT, my money’s on JT!August 26, 2016 – 7:12 pmReplyCancel

      • JT Walters - Only because of awesome leaders like you Kristi. Thank you FTSF.

        I am a Mom and therefore no matter how hard it is, I can never give up on my sweet handsome son. I do miss my little communist that loved me with all his heart. We were eating out and a girl in a bikini top with large boobs walked by and his head followed her boobs and he completely ignored me. I was invisible! No one writes about this stuff what to expect when your expecting. “Oh and btw, when ur son turns 16, if boobs are in the room you will be completely irrelevant to him!” What????August 26, 2016 – 9:08 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - Wow to poor Mr. Buckingham. That story sounds night and day from Pat the Bunny! I love that last picture. Considering all your phone mishaps I’m surprised you took it in the water.

    You know I hadn’t noticed the days getting shorter yet. I have noticed that the morning officially “feel” like back to school. Christopher starts back on Monday.

    I felt the yellow kitchen, and I so glad you survived mercury!August 26, 2016 – 11:51 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Kenya,
      It was such a weird story! I loved it though (maybe because my dad read it to me having read it as a boy?). The last photo (and the sea kayaking one) was taken with the Go Pro. I’m too scared to bring my phone into the water even though it’s supposed to be waterproof. I got a Go Pro for Christmas last year and it has a waterproof case AND a strap. I really love it and was surprised by how good the photos on it are. The problem is that videos are 300+ mb and I have no room on my laptop…
      Christopher starts Monday? Tucker’s got one more week and starts the day after Labor Day. And thanks, I’m glad I survived mercury too 🙂August 26, 2016 – 7:15 pmReplyCancel

  • Allie - You amaze me. This post is beautiful and well thought out and would probably take me a week to write. Did you check eBay for the book? I’ve had good luck there looking for old books. And leaning back in the chair…no-no. the beach in August is a little sad, although I never thought of it that way before.August 26, 2016 – 1:40 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Allie! It’s way less thought-out than you say but THANK YOU HUGE for saying it seems as if it were. I appreciate it. And yeah, I’ve checked eBay and rare book stores… I found it a year ago but it was like $500 and I didn’t get it. I sort of regret that now. I still think one of my brothers has it though…August 26, 2016 – 8:47 pmReplyCancel

  • Paul Brads - You are so good.August 26, 2016 – 6:47 pmReplyCancel

  • Marcia @Menopausalmom - Awwwww…this is so sweet and poignant. I love love LOVE the family photos at the beach. After reading your blog all this time, I feel like I’m right there too, watching your boy grow older and taller each year. It just goes too fast, doesn’t it?August 27, 2016 – 12:27 amReplyCancel

  • Jen - Glad you were at the beach for your birthday and hope it’s a great year you deserve it! The last pic here is perfect!August 27, 2016 – 12:36 amReplyCancel

  • Roshni - I love reading stories about childhood! It just feels so comforting! The story about biting off the thermometer exemplifies it where we wouldn’t get all worried and nervous about safety concerns but we still take care of each other!August 30, 2016 – 2:42 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Isn’t it funny about the thermometer? That’d never happen now – I don’t think they even make those things any longer! Thanks, Roshni.August 30, 2016 – 8:02 pmReplyCancel

  • Sara - Good post! Love all the photos. I am way jealous that Tucker went to Parkour Camp! I would love to go! I would go now, but I’m old and fragile and liable to break a hip just getting out of bed in the morning, but man-oh-man, if they had that when I was younger???? I’d be ALL OVER that!!!

    GO TUCKER!!! He is so brave! …and clearly adventurous!!

    Now I want to find Brave Mr. Buckingham. I’ll keep an eye out. 😉August 30, 2016 – 7:47 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Not only did he go to Parkour Camp, I got a 20-visit pass because they have Nano Parkour (ages 6-8) classes on Saturday afternoons AND break dance classes! It was SOOOOO COOL. The instructors were amazing – walking around on these tiny bars 20 feet in the air and jumping to hold onto that tiny ledge on the ceiling beams. So cool. Plus, they were super nice. I was worried because Tucker’s SO hard on himself but the guys were incredible. Patient, encouraging, and now he knows how to do the landing. Come visit and I’ll take you to watch. I’m to scared to go too. I mean, I break bones falling from one-foot tall cots and taking my trash out down the normal stairs. I can’t imagine what I’d break trying that shit.
      YES Brave Mr. Buckingham. Also Little Black Sambo. Totally not PC but another of my favorites as a kid. I swear Tom or Mike has them but they both deny it. Sigh.August 30, 2016 – 8:09 pmReplyCancel

  • Maria - Just awesome things to cherish about life… when I was a kid 6 or something I remember some things like watching Tom and Jerry, a science program tune comes to my mind and also caughting hail stones when it rained(: … enjoy life, I too would love spending my while on water. Your 2nd grade kid is still cute(:October 6, 2016 – 2:30 amReplyCancel

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