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

To my old man son

There are a lot of people that I’d like to have dinner with.  They include family, friends, and many of you. Tina Fey, who would make me laugh endlessly, especially if she did dummy Sarah Palin for me.  Ellen.  Jack. Sir Anthony.  Steve Jobs. Martin Luther King. But there is one person that I want to dine with above all others.

My son.

Yeah, yeah, I dine with him every single night and there are moments when I wish I could escape.  When I wish that I could briefly run away from chicken nuggets and pizza on the floor.

I want to dine with my son when he is an old man. I want to hear about his life.

The life that he lived after me.

I am almost 45.  Tucker is only almost four. I hope and I pray that I will dine with my baby when he is my age.  But, I do not know that I will.  The reality is that there will be a day when I am not able to have dinner with my son.  It is probable that I will not dine with him when he is an old man.

To my old man son,

I love you.  I love you more than all of the grains of sand on every beach, in every sandbox, on every ocean floor and in every dune.  More than anything. More than everything.  Did you know that? Did you feel that even after I was gone?

How are your words?  Was language a lifetime struggle or one that you overcame? Did you find a fulfilling career?  Did you become an accountant because counting is easier than words? An artist? An astronaut? A computer genius?  Did you end up herding grocery carts and if so, did you pretend that they were tractors, readying them for a much-needed tractor-wash? Whatever you chose, I am proud of you. So proud.

Did you understand that when I made you cry in an attempt to help you understand that “hands to self” matters that I was doing it for you?  Did you know that every single time I made you work for it, for your words, for your everything…did you know?  Did you know that I was doing it for you?  I was.  I am.  I am doing it for you now and I’ll be doing it for you tomorrow.

I want to hear that you fell in love, and that you were loved back.  Did you have children?

Who did you become?

Reassure me that you had a fulfilling life after I was no longer in it.  Reassure me that life was messy and real and gratifying and rewarding and wonderful and mostly beautiful.

I want to hear that our years together were long and close. Most of all, I want to know that you lived a life full of light.

To my future old man son, who is also my today baby.

You are my forever favorite.  I love you.  Now. Then.  All of the tomorrows.


This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post using the sentence “If I could have dinner with anyone in history, it would be…”
Your lovely hosts:
Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyaholic (TwitterFacebook)
Can I get another bottle of whine? (Twitter, Facebook)
Mommy, for Real (TwitterFacebook)
Dawn’s Disaster (Twitter, Facebook)

  • Betty Taylor - What a beautiful thought! I totally understand how you feel. I was 40 when my youngest son was born. I was afraid I wouldn’t be around when he was grown and older. My parents were older when I was born and my dad died when I was 20 and mom when I was 43. My older children were 22, 20, and 18 when he was born. I have always nurtured his relationships with his older siblings because I worried that when he got a little older he wouldn’t have parents around and I wanted to make sure he has close family. My son is now 18. I don’t worry so much anymore. He is c
    Very close to his siblings. He now has 2 nephews who are 5 and 10. He is really close to them to. He will probably have them around with him longer than any other family because he is closer in age to both of them than any other close family. I guess it’s just one of the things we older parents worry about!June 21, 2013 – 11:33 amReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - Seriously, this was one of the nicest posts I read linked up with us today and seriously made me cry, because it was truly so heart warming and sweet. You are really just a wonderful, loving mom (not that I didn’t know this already), but seriously loved how you would done with Tucker as an old man. Absolutely beautiful and just tweeted, too. Thank you so much for always linking up with us and never disappointing!!!June 21, 2013 – 11:34 amReplyCancel

  • Considerer - What a gorgeous idea 🙂June 21, 2013 – 11:35 amReplyCancel

  • Kerri - I have tears in my eyes. Because I know when he and Boo have children they are going to be absolutely beautiful and we will spoil them rotten together. You need to save this post for his teen age years, his graduation and his future. I think this is by far your greatest ever written. And you’ve had some doozies what with Billy Idol and all. xoxoxoxoxoJune 21, 2013 – 11:40 amReplyCancel

  • clark - (yow)

    I mentioned somewhere recently that, though I use the word ‘competition’ when talking about how I feel about my FTSF posts (and those of everyone else).
    I re-defined my own use of the term in hopes of conveying the sense of the competition you see in (live)musical colaboration aka ‘a jam’. When you watch/listen to good/skilled muscians they are trying to take the theme/melody/idea to yet another place.

    a rather long way to say, nice post.June 21, 2013 – 12:10 pmReplyCancel

  • Bonnie Doody - Kristi, I have been where you are and am getting closer to where you want to be. My hubs and I spent an entire day with our 32-year-old son recently. I was never sure he would make it to adulthood because of the anxiety and depression he suffered as a child with Asperger’s syndrome. He also suffered through bullying as a child, teenager and then as an adult. So he did make it to adult status. It was a very hard, long struggle for our family–but to see how loved and respected he is by his friends and colleagues, and how well he is doing in his chosen city,(Brooklyn,NY), makes me KNOW all the love and hard work and counseling and support we provided for him was exactly what he needed to grow up to be himself. And, really, isn’t that all we want for our children is to grow up and be themselves living on their ow terms? May you live to see your son be his own self. When My son declared to peopleJune 21, 2013 – 12:22 pmReplyCancel

  • Kimberly - know what is weird?
    Just this morning, my son and I exchanged our usual “I love you to the moon” and he says “And all the way back”…and I thought about all of this changing when he gets older.
    When I watch my husband and his mom’s interactions I get sad because he never really talks to her or hangs out like he used to.
    Like you, I hope for the same thing.June 21, 2013 – 12:25 pmReplyCancel

  • Bonnie Doody - Hi Kristi again! Must have pushed a button too soon:-(. Anyway, we were on a public bus when my son was almost three. My son, his younger twin sisters and I were off on an adventure somewhere in the city. An elderly woman asked if he and his sisters were triplets. He stood up and said, “I am my own self.” He meant he was not a triplet. In fact, we are all our own selves; and I am grateful that he grew up living that and that I had the chance to realize that he is an adult with the ability to create his life. I wish that for you, Kristi, and every mom that you shall all have the chance to see your children grown up and on their own.June 21, 2013 – 12:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Deb @ Urban Moo Cow - You. You and your making me sob with your words. Breathtakingly beautiful.June 21, 2013 – 12:38 pmReplyCancel

  • Lori Lavender Luz - Though I’ve often though of this question in terms of people either living or dead, I never did think to bend time and go into the future.

    So yes, I, too would like to know what happens after me with my children. I have become more and more mindful of decisions that impact my health so that I can be around for them for as long as possible (I’m an old mom, too).

    This is a beautiful time capsule to your son.June 21, 2013 – 1:00 pmReplyCancel

  • Sarah Almond - I love this. What a wonderful spin on this topic! I so wanted to do this FTSF, but I’ve learned that I have to give one priority and since I’m doing Fly on the Wall I had to pass! I really enjoyed reading this Kristi!June 21, 2013 – 1:02 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - Crying…that was one of the most beautiful and heartfelt pieces I have ever read. I’m going to re-read it several more times….June 21, 2013 – 1:30 pmReplyCancel

  • Ruchira Khanna - Gosh…this is a beautiful tale. I wish you do get to have dinner with your son, an old man then!
    Amen to that, my friend!June 21, 2013 – 3:37 pmReplyCancel

  • Julie's Boyz Blogspot - This is beautiful, Kristi!June 21, 2013 – 3:48 pmReplyCancel

  • Kimberly Choquette Pugliano - Lately, I have been thinking about the “what if” of me passing away early in life, leaving Noah with another lost parent. This reminds me of that. It can’t be explained how much we love our children, even when they are almost 14 and have chronic bad breath and bad attitudes and roll their eyes. I think I might have to join this Finish the Sentence. If I have time. Oy.June 21, 2013 – 3:55 pmReplyCancel

  • Katia Bishofs - Oh WOW, wow, wow, wow. And another wow. I was reading this as a prayer and I hope that if enough people do, you’ll get answers to some of your questions. You’ve put a lump in my throat, you! Again! When you read stuff like that you feel the helplessness of your own words and know that you’ll have to try harder next time. You’re amazing.June 21, 2013 – 4:49 pmReplyCancel

  • The Vanilla Housewife - beautiful words, the kind that only a mother can write <3.June 21, 2013 – 5:01 pmReplyCancel

  • Shanique - This is beautiful. As a child I would love to find something of this from my parent.June 21, 2013 – 5:11 pmReplyCancel

  • Richard Rumple - Okay, Kristi, you got me on this one. Really a precious piece. One would almost think you loved your son! 🙂 Seriously, very well done and moving. Great job!June 21, 2013 – 6:13 pmReplyCancel

  • Out One Ear - Wow. What an incredible tribute to your boy. I got all teary-eyed. And a little because I’m a bit jealous of your loving, dedicated emotions. Lindsey is 33. She still isn’t easy and our conversations are often like going to Home Depot and listening to one of those repeat reels of how to fix your toilet–once it finishes, it starts over from the beginning. I love my daughter. But my dreams of what might/could be are smashed over and over again. Yet I do see glimpses of hope. She is married. They are doing fine. And her new husband doesn’t seem to mind the Home Depot reel repeating over and over. Sometimes Lindsey can carry on a conversation. She answers “real” questions and we have a “real” conversation. But most of the time it is her own agenda without regard for anyone else at the table. But now I have a new dream. My daughter as an old woman. I hope for the same things you listed here. You inspire me Kristi.June 21, 2013 – 6:15 pmReplyCancel

  • GirlieOnTheEdge - Kristi, Kristi, Kristi. Damn. I am trying not to let the tears fall. Then I would have to tell you your writing brought me to tears. But is that a bad thing?:)
    You have beautifully, eloquently and innocently bared your soul. We who have read your words are the better for it.June 21, 2013 – 6:36 pmReplyCancel

  • Kelly Louise - Beautiful. Your blog might be the best reading he ever does. Your heart shines in every word.June 21, 2013 – 7:37 pmReplyCancel

  • Jean - Kristi, this is what we all want and you put it into such beautiful words. So lovely.June 21, 2013 – 7:48 pmReplyCancel

  • Kimbra - This is beautiful, I got so tears eyed reading this, as I could remember writing such similar letters to my son. I love reading about your amazing little boy and all the wonderful things you do with him and for him. Thank you for being such an inspiration

    June is Hydranencephaly awareness month – help spread the word 21, 2013 – 10:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Rachel Demas - I actually can’t even think about this topic, about my daughter getting old. The weird part is that it’s easier for me to think about ME dying than to think about her getting old. I want her to be the one who is forever young, not me. Maybe, it’s because I know it’s too late for me. I don’t want aging to ever happen to her. I think you are brave for even contemplating it. Beautiful post!June 22, 2013 – 12:50 amReplyCancel

  • Muses from the deep - Wow, this nearly made me cry. I would love to see my son when he grows up too, to become an old man who has achieved much in his life. Wonderful, wonderful write, Kristi Rieger Campbell.June 22, 2013 – 9:01 amReplyCancel

  • Shay - How is it that one moment you can make me laugh hysterically by calling me a skanky whore, and the next moment you can bring tears to my eyes with such profound posts?? You, my friend, are FULL of talent. Another awesome post.June 22, 2013 – 9:44 amReplyCancel

  • Menopausalmother - Oh Kristi, you made me teary- eyed with this one! My oldest son is now 26, and I am so proud of the man he has become. I pray that I will be alive to see him married, have kids, buy a house and reach my age. Time is so fleeting, isn’t it? This post really hit home for me. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful slice of your world with us. XOJune 22, 2013 – 2:17 pmReplyCancel

  • Dana - Like Shay said, you can make me snort with laughter or bring tears to my eyes like you did with this post. How wonderful it would be to have dinner with my old man babies.June 22, 2013 – 2:28 pmReplyCancel

  • Kate Hall - Beautiful, Kristi! I’ve had thoughts about what age my kids will be when I die. My daughter is 4 and I’m 41. I try not to think about it too much though. Get’s depressing. This is a great post! Very moving.June 22, 2013 – 3:12 pmReplyCancel

  • karen - I am a sobbing mess right now…that was so touching and beautiful…oh God, I can’t see through my tears woman. Your words….OH GOD…so beautiful… I can’t stop crying woman.June 23, 2013 – 8:08 amReplyCancel

  • Diane - That was astounding! I always know, when I visit here, that I am going to be taught. With wisdom. With humour. With great insight. And this tops all of them. Crying here in Canada. Thank you for sharing!June 23, 2013 – 9:14 amReplyCancel

  • [email protected] on Deranged - So lovely, even if it did make me a little sad, because I probably won’t get to meet the “little old lady” versions of our daughters, either. But I’d like to think that their dad will, and that comforts me, because he can reassure them how very much they were loved.June 23, 2013 – 4:45 pmReplyCancel

  • Anita @ Losing Austin - <3June 24, 2013 – 5:37 pmReplyCancel

  • Joy - Who allowed you to make me cry? :’-( *sniff*June 25, 2013 – 2:36 amReplyCancel

  • Laura Dennis - It’s sad to think about, but it’s a great reminder of what’s important in life; and to live that way today — not forty years from now. Thanks for this!June 25, 2013 – 2:16 pmReplyCancel

  • K - OMG. This is beautiful beyond words.June 25, 2013 – 7:15 pmReplyCancel

  • Jak - All I can say that this was beautiful.

    That and thank you for making me cry in the middle of a coffee shop.

    Yeah, but mostly beautiful.

    Jak at The Cryton Chronicles & Dreams in the Shade of InkJune 25, 2013 – 9:32 pmReplyCancel

  • Jen - Why you making me cry? This is such a beautiful post, I know so many of us feel that way, I know I do. And being “older” moms its hard knowing we might not be there for all of the milestones of adult life. It’s hard not to be jealous of some of those younger moms… really beautifully written. Really.June 27, 2013 – 6:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi Campbell - All. I’m sorry that I don’t have a comment system (and after my recent blog scare with slow loading and other issues, trust me, I’m waiting for my theme to help me out) that allows me to reply to each of you individually (facebook comments allows that but you’ll have to include your blog URL). Just wow, guys. Thank you so much for the amazing support and kind words and understanding and tears. I have read this post myself a number of times and cry every time as well. There’s just something horrible and honest and un-changeable about the fact that we’re going to likely die before our children (and SHOULD because God forbid the opposite). It’s surreal to imagine them navigating life without us. But they are themselves. They are. We can only hope and pray that they are themselves in a situation that allows them to be the best of themselves. You people are beyond amazing. Thank you.June 27, 2013 – 10:30 pmReplyCancel

  • Jessica - AWW… How beautiful! I’m in the same boat. I will be 41 this year and my little one is 2. Wouldn’t be great to do that? Come back to see how they’re dong by having lunch? Thanks soo much for your wonderful post and sharing it on My Favorite Posts SHOW OFF Weekend Blog Party!

    The Wondering BrainJune 27, 2013 – 11:46 pmReplyCancel

  • Norine of Science Of Parenthood - I’m with you! I’m 47 now and my boy is 7. Being an older mom has it’s upsides and downsides. But the biggest upside is that I had my son when I was READY to have him. Thanks for a fabulous post!June 29, 2013 – 4:47 pmReplyCancel

  • Sandy - Take each day as it comes, don’t look so far forward you make yourself crazy. You’re not even old, you have plenty of time to see what career he lands, or if and when he falls in love. My DD is now an adult and I can tell you, yes they do know we do what we do for them.June 30, 2013 – 11:21 amReplyCancel

  • Muriel Jacques - A lovely post for a mummy’s boy! My older daughter is now 13 and sometimes I wish she was 4 again…time passes fast!June 30, 2013 – 6:51 pmReplyCancel

  • Harshita Jani - Beautiful story. 6, 2016 – 7:24 amReplyCancel

  • Harshita Jani - Beautiful story. 6, 2016 – 7:24 amReplyCancel

  • Kristi Rieger Campbell - Linda,
    I got all teary-eyed as well. A lot teary. Sorry to hear that Lindsey isn’t easy – I think it’s easier for me to have hopes for the future because Tucker is so young and I have no clue what he’ll be like as he grows up. It’s hard to even imagine him at 33, you know? But, even if he isn’t easy, I want him to know how much I love him and how proud I am of him. Even though he is at times really frustrating as well…
    I’m glad that I gave you a new dream – Lindsey as an old woman. I’m so glad that her marriage is going well. That’s huge, you know? I think one of the biggest fears for all special needs parents is questioning whether anybody but us will ever love them. Will they find happiness and love without us? I love that Lindsey has. <3June 21, 2013 – 11:06 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi Rieger Campbell - Thanks, Rich. Go figure that it shows I love him in this one! 😉June 21, 2013 – 11:06 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi Rieger Campbell - You have time to participate! It’s open until tomorrow actually – I once submitted mine on Saturday around noon. And the fear of leaving our children too soon is crushing. I totally get what you mean.
    June 21, 2013 – 11:07 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi Rieger Campbell - Indeed, Ruchira, Amen to that!June 21, 2013 – 11:07 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi Rieger Campbell - Thank you, Julie.June 21, 2013 – 11:07 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi Rieger Campbell - Katia, first, thank you. No wait – first, your words are amazing and you do not need to try harder next time ever. I love everything of yours. Everything. I hope you’re right and that if enough people read it, and see it as a prayer, that I’ll be able to stick around long enough to see how Tucker evolves as a person of his own. June 21, 2013 – 11:09 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi Rieger Campbell - Thank you so much.June 21, 2013 – 11:09 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi Rieger Campbell - Rachel,
    For whatever reason, it makes me happy to think of Tucker as an old man – one that has led a fulfilling life, anyway. I get more frightened thinking about him not having me. So often, I am the only person who understands him (I’ve even told my husband to stop asking “what’s he saying” in front of him because I’m worried it will lead to further insecurity. I get where you’re coming from though…totally. June 22, 2013 – 2:40 amReplyCancel

  • Kristi Rieger Campbell - Thank you so much, @Michelle! Wouldn’t it be amazing to see our children as old people?June 22, 2013 – 6:40 pmReplyCancel

  • Kristi Rieger Campbell - Laura,
    So right about trying to live life that way TODAY. Thank you.June 25, 2013 – 11:39 pmReplyCancel

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