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

The Things I’ve Forgotten

I walk through a forgotten scent or the notes from a long-ago song, and memories surface the way hunks of ice in a glass swim closer to the top as they melt. Mining memories is a tricky business – use a pickaxe and they’ll become puffs of smoke leaving behind only happiness or grief.

Waiting for memories to swim to the surface on their own is the only way.

And so I wait.

It was crowded downtown DC Friday morning. People going to work, walking kids to school, a woman playing Pokemon Go stopped in the middle of the sidewalk as she added a cartoon character to her library of phone-bound warriors. It was then that a face unseen left behind a scent that grabbed me and pulled me into life many years ago.

I forget why his loving me was so important back then. Why I felt as if his seeing me would enable me to see myself.

I remember his hands though. They were unbelievably sexy and sure. The hands of somebody Who Knew Things.

Except, he didn’t. Know anything, that is.

He didn’t know that keeping me on a shelf wasn’t an option although I allowed him to do so for much too long.

I’d forgotten about his hands but remember the night at Lake Tahoe and the magic we found and made there. Standing on a balcony, 16 floors up, thinking about how regular hotels don’t have windows that open more than an inch or two. Marveling at how this fancy hotel trusted people to not jump.

I don’t think I thought about pushing him, but I may have.


“I’m scared,” he said. “Stay here for 24 hours or until it’s light again.” My son, last night, reminded me of the night I’d lain in bed with him whispering “remember this” to myself. I didn’t want to forget small-him or the peace of letting the undone things remain undone to pull him closer. To sniff his hair and marvel at the perfection of a young boy’s cheek in the shadows of a nightlight.

I think about how sad I was the night he told me to leave. Also, how happy I was, because it felt like a milestone finally met. One met much earlier by his peers.

How I grieved through relief.  

I dreamed my son could talk when he had apraxia and possibly autism

“Mommy, what’s your weapon in Terraria?” he said.

Crap. Really? “Um, I don’t know,” I said. “Which one is the most powerful?”

As he rambled on and a work spreadsheet started dancing the jig on my laptop while laughing, I rubbed the tip of my nose. The stressed-out place below my brows.

“Can you please just give me 10 minutes?” I said.

I looked up. His tiny face, once much tinier, defeated. I gave the spreadsheet my middle finger, closed my laptop, and said “show me.”

“Show me Terraria.”

And what a gift. This not-so-little little boy of mine showed me how he’d mined a place for his science room, how he’d made a bed using cobwebs and wood, and how you could build a tower to heaven.

I’d forgotten that once, all of my prayers and wishes sent to stars contained “please,” and “talk.” “Please let him speak. Please say ‘Mommy’ one day.”


Our memories are often sprinkled with nostalgia dust, and maybe that’s how it’s supposed to be. What woman would have another child if she remembered each tear and contraction from the one she’d birthed before? What human would open himself to the possibility of butterflies and passion if she still felt the tears and anger of previous betrayals?

What mother would dare to hope for a baby after losing one? Who, indeed.

And so we carry on finding the magic and the memories in the forgotten mess of life and laundry.

Special needs mamas continue to delete emails about milestones and focus instead on the gift. Some days, we may even forget that we’re special needs mamas, carried to a balcony far away, sent from the scent of somebody we passed on a sidewalk.

We may wonder about that person, and the family he goes home to. What his kids are asking him to do that makes a spreadsheet dance the jig on his laptop. Whether he gives it the finger or dives into his work pool that has no bottom.

Maybe, tonight, we whisper “remember this,” knowing that it’s all too soon gone. Maybe, we think about creating a land of empathy and wonder for our kids while we try to not mourn the moments as they happen, knowing that this time is a gift although sometimes, some moments feel as if they will never pass.kristi rieger campbell finished post for finding ninee

TFinish the sentence Friday writing prompthis has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “The things I’ve forgotten…” and your hosts are:
Yours truly, Kristi, from Finding Ninee and this week’s sentence-thinker-upper, Hillary Savoie of She’s also the heart and mind behind The Cute Syndrome. Check her out. You won’t regret it.

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  • Emily - Beautiful writing Kristi…I too remember the prayers and wishes of “please talk” and “please say mommy.” But, I had forgotten those prayers until you reminded me of them. Seems so long ago — now I’m going on college visits with him (and in fact going to one in your neck of the woods I think? Goucher in suburb of Baltimore…if I was going to be there for more than 6 hours, you KNOW I’d track you down!!)September 15, 2016 – 9:56 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Oh bummer that you’re only going to be there for six hours. I’d LOVE to see you! Gah. College. Exciting and scary I’m sure for all of you.September 16, 2016 – 6:27 pmReplyCancel

  • Hillary - Oh, Kristi, I love the balance in this post. The laundry, the births, the losses…and the forgetting. But this moment of recalling after the spreadsheet and the finger: “Please let him speak. Please say ‘Mommy’ one day.” broke me. Just so honest and lovely and real. Love it.September 15, 2016 – 10:27 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw thanks, Hillary! I really appreciate your comment and you co-hosting this week!September 16, 2016 – 6:28 pmReplyCancel

  • Kerri - Beautiful, simply beautifulSeptember 16, 2016 – 7:59 amReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - That defeated body language will get you every time won’t it?

    I think we all have a lot of please and prayers before each milestone. And the one day the one thing we worried over for seemingly a long time just disapears and then one day after that we forget how it use to be.

    I want to read more about the first segment of this post. You left me in suspenese.September 16, 2016 – 1:35 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - The defeated body language guts me! It’s so true that we forget how it used to be. I’ll have to tell you more about the first segment – sorry for the suspense!September 16, 2016 – 6:30 pmReplyCancel

  • clark - I gave the spreadsheet my middle finger, closed my laptop, and said “show me.
    funny how some our best right decisions often are hidden among the ‘important and necessary responsibilities as adults’… when I look back on such times, I can sometimes experience suspense and celebration as I watch the memory unfold, very much like in most cliffhanger movies. ‘look clark thinks this other thing matters more than taking the time for what really matters, he thinks there’ll alway be time …what will he decide?!’ (lol if I do this looking back thing correctly, the bonus is a huge sense of relief watching my past self take the right path).
    cool potation, yoSeptember 16, 2016 – 7:23 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Our VERY best decisions begin with flipping off spreadsheets, I think… and another glimpse into the original Clark brain with the looking back and looking forward to what’s important. A gift. You ROCK.September 17, 2016 – 12:14 amReplyCancel

  • Tamara - I was so struck by this – “Waiting for memories to swim to the surface on their own is the only way” that I had to quickly write it here and then scroll back up to be captivated by the whole paragraph of nostalgia dust.
    TOO GOOD!September 16, 2016 – 10:16 pmReplyCancel

  • Allie - Oh Lake Tahoe sounds sexy! And oh, the endless hours I’ve spent listening to Minecraft stories. Shoot me now, and yes, the irony of my torture is not lost on me🤔xoxo.September 17, 2016 – 8:26 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOL to “shoot me now” about the Minecraft stories! Do they play Terraria too?September 17, 2016 – 6:51 pmReplyCancel

  • Kimberly - This is one of the most beautiful things I’ve read in such a long time.
    Memories are a tricky thing but the key is to cling to the ones that make all your senses sing when you recall them. Love you.September 17, 2016 – 8:45 amReplyCancel

  • Josie Two Shoes - Beautifully written, as always! Your words reach my heart. I love those memories that appear like magic, both sweet and bittersweet, and I appreciate that time softens the blow of the harsh ones, we remember but it just doesn’t matter as much as it once did. My babies are 37 and 41 now, and I still savor those sweet moments of their tiny heads on the pillow next to me, those wonderful conversations that were too easily taken for granted. You chose correctly – love now, live now, the work will always be there, children won’t, childhood won’t. <3September 17, 2016 – 11:54 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Aw thank you!! I love how memories appear like magic, too. Here’s to loving and living now! <3September 17, 2016 – 6:54 pmReplyCancel

  • Lydia - Wow sister, you got writimg chops!September 17, 2016 – 11:23 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - One of my greatest fears is that I will not remember this or that about my child, about her babyhood, about her milestones or her experiences or whatever. I have spent so much time worrying about what I might forget that I didn’t see how much I do remember. And I don’t remember it all the time. Sometimes memories do indeed swim to the surface because some little bubble of air pushed it there that day. I have to just go with the belief that we remember what we are meant to and that we will remember enough. Great post from you, as always. <3September 19, 2016 – 11:52 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - The fear of forgetting the memories is so powerful and so real and almost impossible to escape. And yet, the ones most memorable float back to us somehow… Here’s to us remembering. To keeping track, to being there.September 20, 2016 – 12:17 amReplyCancel

  • Dana - Our memories are sprinkled with nostalgia dust – I think it’s our minds’ way of blurring the harsh edges. Except when the edges have to stay harsh to remind us to not repeat mistakes.

    Sometimes my kids will recall a memory, and I have no recollection of it. That makes me sad, but I also know I remember many things that they don’t. Between us all, we have one complete memory!September 19, 2016 – 8:08 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I think the nostalgia dust is a gift and a curse in some ways… but yes, to blurring the harsh edges. I like that. Here’s to making the memories complete between all of us GODSMACKED and all heheheheheehhehheheheSeptember 21, 2016 – 11:52 pmReplyCancel

  • Marcia @Menopausalmom - Such beautiful writing, Kristi. And the cool thing is that you will ALWAYS have these precious memories because you are writing them down just like this. I wish I’d done that more when my own children were small.September 20, 2016 – 4:15 pmReplyCancel

  • Linda Atwell - Out One Ear - Another beautiful piece. I’m truly in awe how you can remember so much. I’m also in awe that you listen to your heart and stop working. I know I did not do that. I know I made work more important many days. I applaud that you know when it is important to make Tucker come first.

    Your relationship with Tucker always make me smile. It makes my heart happy. Hugs to you.September 22, 2016 – 9:49 pmReplyCancel

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