We finally got Braedan’s teacher’s name in the mail (Mrs. Murphy) and his assigned first day (Thursday, Sept 3 — the kindergarteners are split into thirds for the first three days for a calmer transition) making this all so real.  My little guy, suddenly a big boy about to go off to real school. Wow.

It’s funny, as a child growing up and then as a young adult living in Boston or Los Angeles or San Francisco, every year on my birthday, when I’d talk to my dad on the phone, he’d always always say, “Oh, I remember the day you were born.” And I don’t think I quite believed him or at least I didn’t understand just how vivid those memories can remain, how they are totally seared into your brain, until I had kids of my own.

But of course, I remember the day Braedan was born like it was yesterday. I will spare you all the gory details (and oh my, were there gory details), but that moment when he finally let out a big cry and then the doctors held his little face up for me to see before whisking him off to the NICU (I wasn’t kidding about the gory details), that moment when I first beheld him, all bruised and scrunched up but already beautiful . . . This was my child, my son, my baby.

when I first saw his face

when I first saw his face

 And then the years went by and he was so sweet and so loving and made us laugh at the silliest times. I remember when he was about eightteen months old and he woke up in the night and called out to us, but we were still in that god-awful crying-it-out stage, so we lay in our bed carefully ignoring him, hoping he would just fall back to sleep on his own. But he kept crying and calling for us and eventually, out of a combination of frustration and clever problem solving, he shouted, “Moooooommmmmmeeeeeeee, Daaaaaaddddddddeeeeee, ANYBODY!” We both sat up and laughed so hard and then decided he had finally earned our presence and went in to get him.

"Mommy, Daddy, ANYBODY!"

"Mommy, Daddy, ANYBODY!"

And I remember once right after Austin was born, I was sitting in the rocker nursing him and reading Braedan Barnyard Dance while he acted out all the movements (“Twirl with the pig if you know how”). But there’s a line that says, “Bow to the horse, bow to the cow,” and because Braedan didn’t know what the word bow, he instead called out, “Bow wow, Horse! Bow wow, Cow!!”

Not quite sure what to think of that little brother....

Not quite sure what to think of that little brother....

And this has gone on for years, memory after memory, cute little saying after cute little saying, some written down, some lost forever. New skills attempted and new skills mastered. And then suddenly this past Saturday, he announced he was hungry for lunch, and I suggested a peanut butter (actually, sunbutter made from sunflower seeds for my allergic children) and jelly sandwich and started to move towards the kitchen to make it for him. But he placed his hand on my back and said, “It’s okay. I’ve got it, Mom,” and proceeded to make his very own and almost perfect sandwich.

Ready for anything

Ready for anything

So now, the countdown begins. We are a mere ten days away from kindergarten. Use the comments section to share your family’s back-to-school traditions, the best trying-something-new-but-scary-and-exciting books, your funny memories so we can all be better prepared.  And by “all,” I mean both Braedan and me.

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