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

What Makes Life Easier?

I close my eyes, open my mouth, and let the almost-too-hot water shower my head, come together, fall, and rinse the night down the drain. I mine my thoughts, trying to remember my dream about removable magnetic teeth lined up perfectly once replaced. Straight, negative-to-positive on somebody’s gums.

“That’s incredible!” I said. Wishing teeth were that easy. Knowing others have it harder. 

Then, dream-me wondered whether the woman who’d shown me magnet teeth was just messing with me, because somehow, we’d gone from the dentist’s room and were now in a bar. The bar lights did the same. Magneted into place.

Incredible. Dreams are incredible and weird.

We don’t know how easy or how hard others have it with their teeth or anything else. 

I shave my legs, do a half-assed job of feeling for lumps, feel horrified by my half-assed attempt, do a thorough one and think about how much easier life is with hot water to wash with and look for lumps in.

I think about the people in Florida and Haiti and all the other places who are doing without water.

I think about taking my son to the bus stop on mornings past, so thankful and know that too many people don’t have homes or water, much less bus stops, not just today, but on all of the days.

Driving a bus

We don’t know what’s easy or hard for others. 

***

When I was a kid, my mom had a master calendar hung up near the phone on the built-in desk next to our kitchen. She’d color-coded it. Kid activities were blue, her work and volunteer ones green, important dates like birthdays and doctor’s appointments were penned in red. There were lines and arrows and blocked off times during a single day in a tiny box.

It worked for her, and she raised my brothers and I, managing to get us to dentists and doctors and birthday parties when we were supposed to be there.

I used to have a paper calendar. January was filled with colored boxes, coded appointments and reminders and by March, it was blank. August usually saw a resurgence of penciled and penned reminders.

Today, I have an app on my phone that can be pulled up at the doctor’s or at a stoplight.

I’m able to see whether a forgotten appointment is tapping his feet on the corner of October 21, or whether a reminder to move my car is bubbling up in the box of October 19 with reminders a day before and another two hours before. I need both.

Life’s easier with that calendar app.

I don’t know how much easier other people have their calendars. I don’t know how much harder it is to keep track of things without calendars or water.

***

I adjust the elastic on my sweatpants, roll up my sleeves, and hear my husband transfer the clothes from the washer to the dryer.

I text a friend and talk without speaking, email a teacher and a fellow room parent, and communicate without having to put shoes on or leave the bathroom.

My little boy tells me he’s hungry (he’s always hungry), and I have food in a refrigerator and a pantry and a microwave that’s willing to cook it so that I don’t have to.

I have a vacuum to sweep up the crumbs that little boy leaves behind before bugs come to carry them into our walls.

***

When I get bronchitis, I’m able to get drugs and cough drops. When my son is wet from the rain, I’m able to dry him and buy him a waterproof coat and a kid-sized umbrella.

***

When I started writing this, which is, by the way, a Finish the Sentence Friday post, I had no idea what I was thinking when I said that this week’s sentence would be “My life is so much easier due to…”

Obviously, my life has been made easier with hot water and a shower, a calendar app, elastic, and the wisdom that comes with having read what’s been hard in history. It’s easier with text and email and a dryer.

The thing is, is that life is hard. Looking for lumps knowing others have it easier and more difficult, drying clothes in a dryer or standing under almost endless hot water when others don’t have any water at all is the forgotten hard. We forget what’s hard, until we don’t. And maybe that’s the most important thing about hard or easy.

Maybe, everything feels too easy. Maybe, everything feels too hard. It’s perspective and neighbors and listening to other people’s stories. It’s about knowing that our own stories are important and worth telling. It’s about easy and hard being fluid and about life being the same. It’s about making other’s lives easier or more difficult. About where to matter.

About mattering, at all.

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  • Lydia - Nice. Reading this Makes me feel grateful.October 13, 2016 – 9:54 pmReplyCancel

  • Lux - An easy or hard like is relative. What is easy for others might be difficult for some. I think it’s a matter of perspective. 🙂October 14, 2016 – 4:51 amReplyCancel

  • Linda Atwell - Out One Ear - Great thoughts, Kristi. Although life can be hard at times, I recognize too that even our hardest moments are probably not as hard as some other’s hard moments—especially if one lives in a third world country. We not only have white privilege (in my opinion), we have U.S. privilege too. We are lucky in so many ways….even when life is super hard. I feel more grateful than discouraged most of the time. (I also recognize that others living in the U.S. have it extremely difficult compared to me and I feel sad about that. I wish no one had to suffer. Ever.

    Happy Friday, Kristi.Thanks for making me think this morning. 🙂October 14, 2016 – 10:41 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I wish nobody had to suffer ever either. Sigh. And yeah, you’re right. We definitely have white privilege in addition to US privilege. I wish that weren’t the case. I mean, I wish everybody had access to fairness and equality and hot water and justice. xoxoOctober 14, 2016 – 7:59 pmReplyCancel

  • Corinne Rodrigues - Oh yes! My Dad is 91 and I sometimes wonder what he must make of how much simpler life is at so many levels.October 14, 2016 – 11:22 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - It’d be interesting to know what your dad thinks, Corinne. In some ways, I’d guess that life is less simple now than it used to be. Kids have so much to compare themselves to now you know?October 14, 2016 – 8:00 pmReplyCancel

      • Corinne Rodrigues - True. I guess people had lesser ‘needs’ then.October 14, 2016 – 10:21 pmReplyCancel

        • Kristi Campbell - I think in some ways they were lesser, but in some ways, harder. Like if your kid was missing at 7pm, you had to resort to a phone chain or searching the neighborhood right? Not that when a kid is REALLY missing now that we have better but we have ways to stay in touch…October 19, 2016 – 11:34 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - I’ve been thinking about the people in Haiti too — I feel like what they are enduring has been brushed aside by the media because of all the crazy election news. They definitely have it hard, really hard. And speaking of calendar apps, I use my electronic calendar AND my paper calendar, because I am paranoid. I think I actually make it harder for myself though by keeping two calendars..I still mess up appointments all the time!October 14, 2016 – 12:31 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOL to messing up appointments all the time with two calendars! And you know, I hadn’t thought about it but I bet you’re right about the people in Haiti not getting the news coverage they would if there weren’t so much crazy election coverage. Gah. I’ll be glad when this election is over (as long as I get my way of course).October 14, 2016 – 8:03 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - We are so blessed. I don’t know if it’s national news but parts of NC are STILL flooding and people are STILL having to evacuate and many will STILL have no power for weeks because they can’t restore power until the floods recede. Unlike Haiti, no one has died that I know of but it’s all so awful for everyone. There’s snakes and alligator problems. Ick! I can’t even imagine.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve used a paper calendar. LOVE my app too and that my husband and I can share calendars. It used to be a pain when he used a blackberry.

    Love that picture of Tucker.October 14, 2016 – 8:08 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - We are so blessed. I can’t believe how much the news isn’t covering some of it here (or maybe I’m not watching right). Blackberries UGH. gross
      And yeah, I love that pic of Tucker too 🙂October 15, 2016 – 9:59 pmReplyCancel

  • My Inner Chick - **It’s about knowing that our own stories are important and worth telling**

    worth shading in yellow marker, dear.

    xxx love from MN.October 16, 2016 – 2:21 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - YOUR story is amazing. I’m so glad you’re telling it and helping so many people find help. <3October 16, 2016 – 7:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Allison - We are so lucky and life is easier (I guess😱?!?!) Thanks years past and compared to so many other on this planet – and yet we complain about how hard it is. So silly, and I’m so guilty. Would you believe I still keep a paper calendar? Drive s Rich crazy.October 17, 2016 – 5:29 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOL to your paper calendar driving Rich crazy but I get it. It’s actually easier to look at with it all laid out in front of you at once, unlike the iPhone app. True. I kept both for a while but was slacking and missed stuff on one but not the other… gah. And yeah I guess elastic and pants and apps make life easier but they also complicate life, you know? Like if this were the dark ages, we’d all have been in bed shortly after 7pm because it’s DARK and maybe we’re supposed to be sleeping. I dunno.October 19, 2016 – 11:36 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - Nodding along to so many of the things you have in here. Absolutely.
    Can I tell you what makes my life easier? Truly? My husband. In so many ways. (I should probably write him a post.) And my Zilla. In some ways their contribution is grand and eloquent, and in others it’s just little everyday shit. But yeah, it’s them. Always them.October 18, 2016 – 1:25 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Oh Lisa! I should have said my husband! He really does make my life easier (he does almost all the laundry and that’s HUGE). I can’t believe I didn’t even think of them. GAH>October 19, 2016 – 11:39 pmReplyCancel

      • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - Mine does most of the laundry too! So is it bad that I DID think of him and didn’t write that post? LOL.October 20, 2016 – 12:29 amReplyCancel

  • Kimberly - My pain specialist came and sat next to me once. We just sat in silence for a good 15 minutes before he said in his thick Indian accent,” It’s booooolshit you know. Dis. All dis.” and he pointed at my IV and the monitors I was hooked up to.
    I think he knew I needed to cry and punch the fuck out of things.
    So I cried.
    Then we talked about paint colours.
    I think it’s ok to feel bad about ourselves and our life. We are living the hell. Maybe that person who you are feeling bad for is looking at you and thinking “Jesus fuck, that poor person. They have it super bad”
    We need to give ourselves permission to feel. Then move.
    Yes, I am thankful for what I have and yes I am well aware that I have it far better than others – but sometimes man, I need to just say “damn it. this is boooooooolshit.”October 26, 2016 – 1:56 pmReplyCancel

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