To my Brody,

Today is August 30th, 2015 – next week, on September 6th, you will be SIX YEARS OLD! I can not believe that you are going to be six – but more astoundingly, I can not believe you are entering kindergarten… TOMORROW! Weren’t you just born? Didn’t you just learn to walk? Weren’t we just spending day in and day out playing with your Thomas the train collection and watching your favorite movie, Cars? Didn’t you just learn how to write your name, read a book, and draw a picture? And now, here you are, snuggling with your pokemon stuffed Squirtle toy Daddy and I bought for you as a “going to school gift”, and I can’t help but to still see my baby not this “big boy” kindergartner…

I remember the day you were born like it was yesterday! The relief it felt when you finally came out after over 24 hours of labor, the announcement of “IT’S A BOY” (even though I knew deep down you were!), the elation of holding you in my arms for the first time – the way you smelled, the way your little fingers grasped around my finger, the way you snorted when you were hungry or sleeping… We were overjoyed to finally be parents to such an adorable little boy. I thought I knew then what it meant to love you, but it was only the beginning.

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Our first year together was full of MANY ups and downs. Lets be honest, daddy and I had no idea what we were doing. I was fortunate to be able to stay home with you as a full time mommy that year, but boy, did I not have a clue what I was in for. From the long days (and even longer nights) of you nursing around the clock, the constant need to be awake and never sleep, the crying (oh so much crying) and the emotional roller coaster of learning how to be your mom. But, little boy, there are so many things we experienced together that first year that I will never forget – your first smile, your first belly laugh (and you still have the best belly laugh to this day), the first time you crawled to try to reach my cell phone, the first time you walked at only 9 months old, your first delightful taste of your favorite food – avocado, your bath time (which you absolutely loved), dancing to “our song” (I’m alive by Dave Matthews/Kenny Chesney), listening to the same song over and over to calm you down during car rides, playing with your favorite toy rolling drum (that thing was indestructible), watching you laugh at daddy when he would come home from work, going to your first swim lesson, playing at Little Gym, rocking/nursing you to sleep… the list goes on and on. That first year was the most life changing year of my life, and I thank you for introducing me to motherhood…

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Our second year found us BLESSED, again, to be together! I was able to stay home from teaching yet another year, and I can honestly say, that year number two was probably one of my favorite years together to date. You grew and you grew every single day, and you never ceased to amaze me! I loved our days spent doing crazy toddler crafts (remember the noodles in the bathtub!), playing with puzzles, reading books, and playing with toys – lots and lots of toys. You’ve always loved toys (you still do to this day!) I relished in your love of learning – how before you were even 12 months you were able to decipher every shape in your puzzle, even the trapezoid! I was amazed at how, by 15 months, you were able to recognize words in books, on flash cards etc… you impressed every one with your ability to read words at such a young age. Aside from being a baby genius (yes, I said it, but I’m your mom and I’m allowed to think this), you were just in incredibly HAPPPY and PLEASANT toddler! You were always busy, that’s for sure, but no matter what you were doing you were always happy! You seldom had a tantrum, in fact, I can’t even remember you having any other than during some of your swim lessons (you had a love/hate relationship with that class!) We did a lot together – just you and me kid (I would always say that to you!) From swim class, story time, music class, little gym, park trips, toddler crafts, pushing cars, going for walks, exploring the creek, driving in your cozy coupe… these were the days I loved and will cherish these memories forever…

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Our third year, sadly, I had to return to work, BUT you really loved going to school. I remember the first time I ever had to drop you off at daycare – I left the parking lot and cried so bad I had to pull over because I couldn’t drive through the tears. You were crying for me so badly that the teachers had to pry your little 2 year old death grip off of me just so I could leave. That was a bad time, but I knew I had to get you used to going to school…eventually, you did and boy did you GROW AND FLOURISH. I loved picking you up from school and having you run to me and give me a great big hug. You didn’t know it then, but knowing that you were going to do this at the end of my long day of teaching helped me get through every single day. I loved talking to your teachers and hearing them tell me that they were SHOCKED that you could read the days of the week or the weather during the morning circle time routine. I tried to explain to them that you could “read” words, but I know I sounded crazy saying that my 2 year old could actually read. I remember when they told me that you were ready to be potty trained at not even 2 and a half and the first day I took you to school in big boy undies I called from work every hour to check in on you. You never once had an accident… again, you never ceased to amaze me! When you were about 2.5 we found out we were going to have another baby and as excited as I was to welcome another little one into our family, part of me was sad that you wouldn’t be our only one anymore. I knew our time as just the 3 of us was coming to an end and daddy and I spent as much time with just you as we could until….SADIE CAME!

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Our 4th year together began with me being VERY VERY PREGNANT! I did have to return to work, which meant you had to go to daycare full time for a few weeks until I was able to go on maternity leave. I was excited (and exhausted) but I loved having you home with me before Sadie was born – those two weeks of just you and me time before she arrived were amazing. We would spend HOURS reading piles of books, crafting, and playing in the bath (your favorite thing to do!). It was hard, but I managed to go for walks with you on your orange balance bike- thank you for not going as fast as you could so I could keep up with you! The day I went to the hospital to get induced with Sadie, I knew it was the end of an era, sort of like how I feel tonight, but I was excited to see how you would step up to your new role as big brother. I will never forget the first time you met Sadie – coming to the hospital sporting your “BIG BROTHER” shirt proudly! You couldn’t wait to see your sister and you were even more excited to see the gift she “bought” you (your bash, dash and ferdinand Thomas the Train toys). Watching you hold your sister for the first time was simply magical – there  you were, my 3 year old baby boy, now a big brother to a little sister. What an amazing moment that was. Bringing Sadie home and suddenly having a toddler and a newborn definitely was a lot of work, but you were such a good little boy and never had a hard time adjusting. You played next to me nicely while I nursed your sister, you played with stickers while I got her changed, you would bring her a binky when she was crying, and the only way she would stop crying in the car was if you sang her “You are my sunshine”. You were a natural big brother! I loved when Sadie would nap and we would get our one on one time. We both needed that time – we would have dance parties, draw, play the “Hi” game with your cars, and watch a movie or TV show together. I will admit, we didn’t get to spend as much one on one time together anymore, and as much as that pained me, seeing you with your little sister made it all worth it!

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Our fifth year together brought a move to a new home, your sister becoming a crazy toddler, some health scares for mommy, and a new sense of love and appreciation for the word “FAMILY”. You loved our new house…and you would do performances for us saying “FOR THE FIRST TIME IN THE NEW HOUSE…” You loved playing outside in our new backyard, but especially loved ninja turtles this year – they were your thing for sure! You also started to ride a bike with training wheels well enough to go on bike rides together, and you really loved just running around and being outside. You switched from one pre school to another right around the corner from our new house, and your flourished! I was worried that it would be a scary transition for you since you were in your old school for over 2 years, but again, you never ceased to amaze me and happily entered your first day at your new preschool like you had gone there for years! You really loved your new school and your new friends, particularly your “bro” Ethan. I noticed a huge change in your knowledge this year and also your behavior. You were listening so much more and you were starting to leave those “toddler” antics behind. I loved going on our mommy/Brody dates – it was and continues to be something I look forward to often. I also enjoyed watching your relationship grow with daddy – your best buddy. Sadie definitely started to push your buttons this year…knocking down your lego creations, stealing your ninja turtles, or screaming for your iPad, but all in all – you coped well with her constant need to be in your “things.” You were such  big boy through all of the health issues I endured that year…and you and your sister were the MAIN reason I was able to push through everything – all I wanted to do was see you guys and be here for you through every milestone…

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Our sixth year was interesting to say the least…You were FIVE already and most 5 year olds are already in kindergarten, but since you missed the cut off by just 5 days, you had a whole year left of preschool. I will admit at first I really wanted you to go to school, but looking back at how much you have grown and changed over this past year, I am certain that keeping you in preschool that extra year was the right decision. I can’t even list all the ways you have changed in just one year – from learning to ride your bike without training wheels shortly after your 5th birthday, learning to write effortlessly, coloring and drawing full pictures, reading entire books, learning to play a few video games, playing soccer, baseball, and football, learning to tell time, count to hundreds, build amazing lego creations, and overall becoming much more independent. Sometimes it’s hard for me to let you do things – even just letting you take a shower by yourself or set up your movie time alone are things I used to do FOR you and now, you insist on doing them by yourself. You are growing up every single day and it’s sad, exciting, and scary all at the same time. I love the little boy you have grown up to be thus far and I know you will do great things in your next year (and life!)…

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There is so much I’m going to miss about not having you here with me day in and day out… I will miss our lazy mornings of having battles, building legos, coloring, and snuggling. I will miss long talks at breakfast because we had nowhere to go. I will miss playing the mornings away outside whether it meant jumping in the trampoline, playing on your scooter, drawing with chalk, swinging, sliding, racing or riding! I will miss rainy days where it was ok to watch just a little too much TV together. I will miss having you here to help entertain Sadie while I prepared breakfast or lunch. I will miss picking you up from pre school and having you excitedly run into my arms and jabber on and on about your day. I will miss our “Panera Fridays” that we have done from the past two years…we all look forward to that! I will miss the 30 minutes I had with JUST YOU after Sadie would go down for her nap and right before you would go down for yours – that 30 minutes was often the highlight of my day. I will miss you asking me to give you a massage at any random time of the day. I will miss hearing you laugh, giggle, yell, act goofy and sing. I will miss our morning dance parties in the kitchen listening to “FIRST QUEEN!” I will, ultimately, miss you…

So goodnight sweet newborn, goodnight active toddler, goodnight funny preschooler, goodnight adventurous little boy – for tomorrow you will embark on a new, exciting journey — one where I will not be there to wipe your boogies, tie your shoe, or open your cheese stick — one where I hope you use your manners I’ve instilled in your day in and day out– one where I pray you make new friends and continue to be the sweet boy I know you are — one where I know you will thrive academically and am excited to see where your academic career leads you — one where you will no longer be just my little boy, but my big kindergartner! I look forward to walking you to the bus stop tomorrow and watching you wave good -bye to me as you finally get on the school bus you have watched stop below our driveway for the past two years! Now it’s your turn my boy-  it’s your turn to learn, to grow, to spread those wings and fly, but please always know that you will forever be my little boy and the tears you are going to see me shed are not tears of sadness, but tears that come from the overwhelming joy you have brought to me over the past 6 years…

Good night my kindergartner- Mommy and Daddy love you!

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