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

Will My Son Be Okay After I Die?

“Mommy, I need you.”  I walk to the couch, lean down, place my hand on his cheek, and kiss my son’s head. His hair smells like the playground – dirt and mulch and little-boy sweat that isn’t yet drenched in testosterone. Stinky, but in an innocent way. A little-boy way.

“What’s up, baby?” I said.

“I need you to help me play this game. Daddy doesn’t know how,” he said, holding up his Darth Vader flashlight. 

I think about our games, and about how Daddy is rarely home, and I want to play but I don’t. I think about the future.

will my special needs son be okay when I die? findingninee.comWill My Special Needs Son Be Okay After I Die?

I look back to this morning and how we played my son’s made-up game for too long and not long enough. There were boxes and a Taekwondo belt on the floor. His made-up rules included nine stages of defeat using weapons made from pool noodles, pillows, and a Minecraft sword. The boxes and belt had electricity in them and we had to jump over them this-high. Or, well, I had to jump over them this-high because he ate a magic potion in secret and was immune to electric shock.

It was fun, for a minute. It was exhausting.

Tonight, I look at him on the couch and say “Mommy’s busy, but you can teach Daddy to play. It’s his turn, anyways.”

I tell my husband that our son needs a bath. Thursday nights are when we’ve agreed that I get to write before 10pm and I want to walk away.

I feel awful for it. I feel like it’s my turn, too. I walk downstairs, drawn to my keyboard. I hear my little boy do his elephant stomps above my head and hope my husband gets how to play this awesome and totally boring game.

I think to the future and wonder whether my son will be okay after I die. 

The faces on the bathroom wall laugh and I walk back upstairs, and kiss my son again. The words “Mommy’s busy” pinball in my brain and my heart along with the others that say “You’re busy too often,” and “One day, you’ll miss this.”

I wonder whether my special needs son will be okay after I die. 

I look to the future and wonder whether my son will remember that I was too busy tonight to play again or whether he’ll remember that I went downstairs and Daddy played. I vote that he remembers Daddy played.

I climb into Marty McFly and Doc Brown’s DeLorean from Back to the Future and decide where to go.

I visit high-school me, and tell her that while grades matter, they don’t matter. That while boys matter, they don’t. I’d tell her that she’s fine even when she feels as if she’s not, and that she’s perfect, flawed and her. That she’s less unique than she thinks she is, and that one day, she will want to change the world in a way that she cannot imagine today.

I’d visit six-year-old me and tell her to proudly display that test.

I’d visit the me that stared at the flecks in her eyes while blowing bubbles in the mirror.

But mostly, if I could borrow Marty McFly and Doc Brown’s DeLorean from the movie Back to the Future, I’d travel in time to 50 years from now.

I’ll be closer to 100 years old than I am to the papery-eyed me of today. Really, I’d just want to make sure that my little boy who has developmental delays is okay.

I’d want to meet his children, if he has them, and I’d want them to gather by my feet while I tell them stories about their daddy when he was young. How once, he said “ninee” for airplane, and how we wondered whether he’d ever talk.

in 50 years, I want to remember that I liked Metallica and I want to know my son

I’d share jumping up and down over him swearing because it’s talking. 

I’d hush my grandchildren, and find my son helping his spouse in the kitchen.

I’d pull him aside, and tell him that having him has made me better and made the world better.

I’d tell him – whether he’s herding carts at Home Depot or an App developer, that I am proud and blessed to be his mother.

I’d tell him that my life mattered mattered because of him, that he’s changed my world, and that he can change everybody’s, if he decides to. That it’s okay to not to decide to do that as well.

I just want my son to be okay after I die. 

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. This week’s sentence is “Marty McFly and Doc Brown’s DeLorean are giving me a ride and we’re traveling to the date…”

If you’re young, or under a rock, or haven’t seen Back to the Future, feel free to use something like “If I could travel in time…”

Me, as always Kristi from

And this week’s sentence thinker-upper (and bringer of the the unicorn graphics), Michelle Grewe of

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  • Emily - Please know that what I’m about to say in know way diminishes the beautiful honesty of this post, but my favorite part was the picture of you as Grandma wearing a Metallica t-shirt, because it’s just hilarious and I know you WILL in fact be that Grandma. My mom was pretty darn close to that, wearing ripped jeans, Uggs and old t-shirts until the day she passed away so maybe that’s why I also love that cartoon drawing of you so much. And just for the record (bc I did not participate in tonight’s prompt), I think I too would travel forward into the future to make sure my kids and their kids are doing okay…March 24, 2016 – 10:31 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOL that’s my favorite part too Emily! And I so hope we’ll get to see that our kids and their kids are doing okay… xoMarch 25, 2016 – 8:47 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - You hit my sentimental spot!

    I think if you’re wearing that t-shirt you’re going to be around to see that he is fine. I miss your drawings! Takes me back to when I first met you blog to blog.

    I try not to think how old I’ll be if Christopher doesn’t have children until his mid 30s like I did. If I’m super old I’m going to choose one of those young grandma names like Gigi or something.March 24, 2016 – 10:41 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - YAY for hitting your sentimental spot! And thanks thinking that I’ll be around and for saying you miss my drawings. I think I need to get back to doing them again because I miss them too. And you can be Gigi even if you’re young (here’s hoping that he’s not too old and not too young when he becomes a father – for both of us!!!).March 25, 2016 – 8:49 pmReplyCancel

  • Angel the Alien - I love the picture of you as a Grandma in a Metallica T-shirt! On a more serious note, I can imagine how hard that is to think about, because I worry about whether i MYSELF will be okay when my parents die! I think it would be important to remember that there will most likely be lots and lots and lots of time before that actually happens. He will most likely not be a little boy when you die… he’ll be an adult, and you’ll have had so many years to help prepare him to live his life to the fullest. And he will have other people who love him, friends and family members. It is hard for me to imagine myself or anyone else ever really being “okay” after our parents die. But as far as practical matters, if you consider how much your little guy has grown already, and how he is clearly very clever and has a great imagination, I think he will definitely be okay.March 24, 2016 – 10:58 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks Angel, and you’re right. I’m old and STILL can’t imagine my parents not being around although I do know that I’ll be okay… and I very much hope that your parents (and mine) are super super SUPER old and healthy for a long time. I wish that for us, too. I appreciate you thinking he’ll be okay and saying so. Thank you.March 25, 2016 – 8:51 pmReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - Aw, trust me not a day that goes by where I don’t hope and pray that both my girls are also OK in the future. So like you my time machine would drop me off sometime in the future to make sure they are indeed fine at the very least.March 25, 2016 – 2:56 amReplyCancel

  • Leanne Russell - Actually when you think about it, when we were younger our parents didn’t run around playing games with us…not mine anyway. Mum did ‘stuff’ in the house…Dad worked on the car or in the garden and us kids ran around the neighbourhood entertaining ourselves. We shouldn’t feel bad. But we all as parent’s worry what will happen to our kids if we die. My theory is we are looked after by a true parent, God. So worrying about something we can’t control is fruitless. Trust in a higher power.
    A lovely story we can all relate to.March 25, 2016 – 5:07 amReplyCancel

  • Allie - I want the same thing, but I try not to think about it. Is that bad.? I just can’t go there – you know. I’m just confident that I will live forever – I WILL!!! And once again, please go easy on yourself, okay? You are human and do more that most moms I know. No one can be on “24-7.” You are allowed to not play.March 25, 2016 – 8:48 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - No that’s not bad… I don’t blame you for not wanting to go there. I’m weird and totally terrified of an early death but I think your way is much more “normal” ya know? And thanks, you! I will.March 25, 2016 – 9:10 pmReplyCancel

  • Alison - I think of this all the time and my son is 18! The part about you wondering if you do enough or what he will remember about you really hit home for me, because I wonder that too. Don’t beat yourself up over it. I have learned I can’t dwell on that thought because you and I as mom’s need “our time” so we’ll feel rejuvenated and focused so we can be there for our sons. By the way, I just loved the granny in the Metallica t-shirt!!March 25, 2016 – 9:43 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks Alison and honestly, 18 is still really young to lose a parent I think. And you’re so right – we moms really DO need our time to rejuvenate. Glad you like the Metallic shirt drawing – me too 🙂March 25, 2016 – 9:11 pmReplyCancel

  • Tamara - Aww.. I think I’d want to do the same.
    I used to think that when people’s parents died when they were “old” – like 60 or 70, it would hurt less. Somehow. That it hurts more the younger you are. Although my mom lost her mom at age 100, and it hurt terribly. Very terribly.
    But.. she’s ok.
    She knew she was loved and supported. Like Tucker!March 25, 2016 – 9:56 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Tamara,
      I think it’s hard no matter what but for SURE it’s better to lose somebody like a parent when you’re not a young child… *sob* and xoxo to you, SW.March 25, 2016 – 9:13 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ Golden Spoons - Aw! I think we all need our moms always because, well, they are our moms. However, My bet is that Tucker will be just fine when you die because you are giving him the foundation he needs, but it is very scary to think about.March 25, 2016 – 5:04 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Thanks Lisa. I hope he’s okay when I die in a REALLY REALLY long time!!March 25, 2016 – 9:13 pmReplyCancel

  • Lizzi Lewis - I might have to get you to agree to the same thing as Dyanne has, and make sure you live to 106.

    With you parenting him, I have no doubt he will be fine, and that he’ll know all of the things and feel free to make his decisions about which ones matter in the moment, and change his mind, and know that both things are okay because they’re right for him.

    I’m glad you’re changing the world. And you ARE raising him brilliantly and beautifully. I’m glad you played and I’m glad you took time for yourself. Both things were right, in their context.

    Nicely done. To all of it.March 25, 2016 – 6:50 pmReplyCancel

  • April Grant - I think I’m scared to see my children as adults, because what if they’re not, and what if I did it, and what if I couldn’t stop it or what if I didn’t do it and I couldn’t stop it. I do hope they will be ok though.March 25, 2016 – 7:09 pmReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - Good point by Leanne. So true and I turned out alright. I clearly remember both of my parents going back to bed after I had opened all my Christmas presents. It might be something about boys though because I had to entertain my brother.March 25, 2016 – 7:16 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOL about “something about boys!” I think it’s about the times too. Back then, we just ran around like puppies flitting from neighbor’s to neighbor’s…March 25, 2016 – 9:15 pmReplyCancel

  • Echo - First off, I love that old you is still rocking the Metallica shirt. Secondly, this is something I worry about everyday. What would happen if I wasn’t here? Would he be ok? Will he be ok? Will anyone love him as fiercely as I do? Whether he stays with us forever or goes out into the world and gets married, I just want him to be ok and to be happy.March 25, 2016 – 9:21 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - METALLICA! 😀
      And yeah, I worry about it every day too… which sucks because it’s not like worrying really does anything. Or, maybe, worrying helps us to know that we need to help them be confident now? I don’t know… but I hear you on just wanting them to be ok and happy!March 26, 2016 – 5:43 pmReplyCancel

  • Katia Bishofs - This is you at your best. I wish I could take a picture of my face while I was reading this so you could see how your words make me feel. I can relate to every word here. I always feel like our games are too long and not long enough, awesome and boring. I also wonder whether they’ll remember all those times I said no. I love you and your soul and your beautifully beautiful writing.March 26, 2016 – 1:17 amReplyCancel

  • Kerry - Another sweet and lovely post about you and your son Kristi.
    It hit home, in particular, because I know my parents worry too.
    It hasn’t been easy on them to have not one visually impaired child, but two. They are always worrying, along with their other two kids, even though we are all grown now.
    I know I am lucky and so are they. I may have been born with a pretty major disability, physically, but I am able to do most everyday tasks for myself. I live independently.
    My mother not only raised us, she then went out and got a job where she takes care of people with more severe disabilities, both physical and developmental, than anything I’ve ever had to deal with. She does all this with compassion and gentleness.
    But I know, I can’t deny, my parents help my brother and myself out much more than my two sighted siblings. I don’t always like to depend on them as much as I do and I hate to imagine when they will be gone, but more even for them because I know they fear leaving us here without them one day.
    I tell myself it will be okay, I will be okay, but reading it from the parent’s point-of-view is difficult.
    I thought about writing more about wanting to go forward in time, just so I can make sure I will find my way, but I think I am also too afraid I’d see something I didn’t want to discover, that I will end up alone, won’t be okay without the support and help of my parents.
    That wouldn’t be a pleasant thing for any of us to know ahead of time, or would it?
    Hmmmmm.March 26, 2016 – 8:44 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Wow Kerry, we need to talk more. I didn’t realize that you also have a visually impaired sibling. Not that that really matters but it gives me more insight to your parents’ worries, I guess.
      I know my son is only six but he already doesn’t want to depend on us, so I think that’s pretty universal – disabilities or not really.. and maybe universal that parents just want to help no matter what their kids are like because ALL kids can really do anything…
      I know you’ll be okay. I know (mostly) that my son will be too… but dang if I don’t worry…
      And yes, it would be so great if we could know ahead of time. If you figure that out, will you please share???March 26, 2016 – 10:55 pmReplyCancel

  • JT Walters - If I could travel in time I’d travel twenty years from now in a time when all are children are not only healed but they are embraced by society. They work not just load groceries or at Home Depot but are captains of industry because our country discovered their unique insight into solving problems solve so many of the world’s problems. I have never met an autistic child who discriminated against anyone but was looking for love and willing to give it. That is what I’d expect to see in the future and my son would have rainbow colored grandchildren from every walk of life for me to love.March 27, 2016 – 1:18 amReplyCancel

  • Kelly McKenzie - I’m guessing he’ll look back and remember that his mom played games with him. Especially the games that he invented. He won’t remember that your mind drifted mid-game, or that you bunched together several pages of Cat In The Hat as you read it to him for the 99th time (Wait. What? Ooops – that was me.) Or that you rushed the brushing of the teeth more than a dozen times because you just needed him to be in bed. Nope. He’ll remember that you cared enough to sit down and listen. And play. And if he forgets once or twice, he can always come back and check out the gem of Finding Ninee.March 27, 2016 – 1:55 amReplyCancel

  • Christine Carter - I am suffering from that mom guilt this week, as I get packed and scury around preparing to leave the kids to travel without them. I’m choosing my priorities and they are not the ones I am choosing- which breaks me. I’m torn between responsibilities and them- I suppose all us moms are.

    I love dreaming of Tucker being married and having kids and him helping his wife in the kitchen. That makes my heart swell. Can you imagine? And time will fly so fast, it will be here. Our kids will be grown. Sigh…

    I can’t even think about my kids, if I should die. Every time I do, I freeze up and things go blurry.March 28, 2016 – 8:33 pmReplyCancel

  • Marcia @Menopausalmom - This is so sweet, Kristi You made me teary-eyed. XOMarch 28, 2016 – 10:51 pmReplyCancel

  • Mo Lux - I love that you are wearing a Metallica t-shirt in the cartoon. I vividly remember those days of mommy guilt and feeling that no one (even their dad) understood my kids better than me. Let me say two things. Looking back at my kids’ childhood I now truly understand that when parents do the best they can, the kids know it and feel it. Also, from what I can see, like JT said, you are not only loving, supporting, and guiding your kids, by your example and through your words, you are also providing support, guidance and kindness to other parentsMarch 28, 2016 – 11:41 pmReplyCancel

  • tanya - I have these thoughts sometimes. Wondering how my son will be when he grows up. You are doing a great job as a parent 🙂March 29, 2016 – 2:38 pmReplyCancel

  • Crumpets and Bollocks - I wonder that more about my nephew than I do my own kids. I’ll be honest because I can be with my own page. I believe I’m raising all my children, including my special needs child, to be healthy, independent children. They don’t have any other issues besides the ones they were born with. My nephew, he’s special needs, and his mother was a painful woman to grow up with (for both him as her son and me as her sister), and it’s not just her. The entire environment damaged this kid on top of his special needs, and that’s what has me worried. Will he ever forgive this family? Will he ever get over those bullies at school? Will he ever get over the entire school system failing him as a source of education? Will he ever get over not knowing who his father is, and worse, knowing that whoever he is, he doesn’t care about him? It’s not his autism that keeps him from avoiding public places because he doesn’t like people, or interfering with his ability to take care of himself at all, but all that other crap that is. I’m just saying, your son is in a positive environment. You take great care of him, better than most moms put forth into their children, and you have a stable household. All of his cognitive needs are being met with psychological theory. He’ll be fine. His only issues will most likely be the ones he was born with, and he is learning how to cope with them.March 30, 2016 – 2:21 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily Nichols Grossi - This is so beautiful and moving, Kristi! The push and pull, the worry and the need to tend to yourself. You are doing such a good job!April 1, 2016 – 1:29 amReplyCancel

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