First Day of School Minus One

First day of school 2021 drop off is in the books. Luckily I still woke up early every day to make Roberts breakfast while Codi was on break, so I was up & at it early this morning making him a chorizo breakfast burrito. He came downstairs with his hair done so nice, in white shorts and a rad tie dye shirt. I immediately made him take off his shirt and put on a spare then covered his shorts with a towel when I realized his burrito was full of red chorizo (I may be the laundry stain removing queen but I was not about to mess up the outfit he so carefully chose three days ago and laid out on his chair for today). He laughed but said, “good call.” As he changed shirts I saw the cross necklace filled with Brandons ashes around his neck like always, and smiled knowing his brother would be with him all day. On the way out the door I got sad, Brandon should be taking Codi to school today not me, and Brandon should be in our annual first day of school photo. Then I looked up and saw the most red sun ever and knew Brandon was taking Codi to school after all. My heart hurt more and less all at once.

Brandon would be taking Codi to school after all. (Brandon’s favorite color was red)

I asked Codi to take photos with me and he cheerfully said, “okay!” I was stunned, here I was ready to beg for photos and he didn’t even roll his eyes at all. Even when I asked for just two more, and then re-took one more he still smiled. In the car I asked if he had on deodorant and he did. I blinked, who is this child with his hair done, deodorant on, who showers every night without even being asked, fresh brush teeth that I didn’t remind him about, and a smile. Oh right 13.5 the age when boys begin to turn into kick ass humans. When Brandon passed midway through age 14 I have to say he was the coolest Brandon I had ever known. Somewhere between 13.5 & 14 it starts to make sense for boys and they truly become the coolest people to know. I smiled knowing Codi and I had reached that milestone.

Codi age 13.5 first day of 8th grade

One thing Codi and I have in common is that we both really hate being late anywhere. However Codi often forgets I’ve been driving this town for more years that I care to admit and I often know a faster route than him. This is a common argument (playful) on the way to baseball. Rock Blvd & Mill area is shit around 5pm on weekdays. Somehow I get him there on time every practice. He makes sure to tell me his way would have been two minutes faster though.

Throwing up his brothers signature peace sign.

I digress, for the first few months last year I took Veterans to South Meadows and then Wilbur May. One day Codi declared that taking Veterans & turning left of Carat was “so much faster moooom.” So we’ve done it his way since. This morning when we turned onto Wilbur May from Carat, the street in front of his school, there was approximately 900 cars in line. See the thing is, Codi’s school has a drop off line in front of the school, and while I don’t want to share my secret I will say that every day I laugh as all the moms wait in the worlds longest line to drop off their kid while I drive down the circle to the left of them, over the speed bump and down to the gym where there is always a white Tundra parked right in front, and I am always the second car. If it’s cold Codi waits, if it’s nice out he jumps out and is on his way. This morning I laughed because I knew that not only was this line due to the original moms trying to get in the silly drop off line, but it was also a whole class of the 6th grade moms doing the same thing. I looked at Codi and said, “Bruh, we so should have taken my way.” He was silent for a minute then said, “Just send it mom.” I was confused and said, “Send what?” He told me to go my way. I thought he was pranking me. I told him we were already in this line (.6 miles from school, but going 0-3 mph could have taken over 15 minutes) knowing he wouldn’t want me to do anything too “Shannon” to get him to school. He looks to the right where the first turn of three before the school was and said, “make a U-turn mom, just send it.” SO WE DID! As we sailed past the line that was now backed up all the way to Carat, and down Carat to Veterans Codi said, “these people have no idea what they are getting into,” and laughed. We hit every green light and Codi laughed more. As Wilbur May came into view it was clear there wasn’t a single car in our way. He looked over at me and said, “well for once mom you were right about the faster way,” and we high fived. We pulled into the farthest part of the parking lot because I knew I wouldn’t end up stuck in the school zone, and we could sail straight down to the front of the school. Wouldn’t know you know we pulled up early, he got a front of the school drop off, thanked me, hopped out ran across the parking lot, and turned around flashing me a smile & a Peace sign. As I turned around and headed home I laughed to see that the line now backed up all the way down Veterans to even turn onto Carat and the bell had rung five minutes ago.

Post high five, we made it and left all those suckers waiting in line.

This morning, missing one kid, having already sprayed deodorant directly onto my shirt instead of my body and then dropping my toothpaste on my shirt and having to change my own shirt while my 13 year old remained clean, I some how still won the first day of school.

That red sun was now in my rear view but it was still there, a ray of sun was shining directly down on me, and I knew Brandon had helped me get that win this morning and was guiding me home to decompress.

Brandons ashes are in the guitar around my neck. The red key is a Giving Key that says “strength” I wanted to bring him along on the first day of school, but it turns out he wanted to guide us instead.

He found a way to still take his brother to school, and I just know had Brandon been driving this morning he would have made that same U-turn and hit the same curb I did in his smaller version of my big truck, and those two would have laughed their head off. These moments are the hardest, the ones where I’m acutely aware I’m missing one child, where I’m missing a whole set of photos, where I know a milestone such as taking his brother to school will never happen. I am grateful this day happened when Codi was at the age he is now to just smile and high five me. He runs downstairs every night to hug his dad and I, and say goodnight, we don’t have to ask anymore. When I get home now, just like his brother did Codi runs down the stairs to say hi and give me a hug. When I clean his room he always runs downstairs after seeing it to say, “Thank you for doing that.” When I tidy up his drawers or closet he thanks me for that too. He cleans his bathroom weekly now without being asked, and does things like say, “mom can you put toilet cleaner on the list for my bathroom.” He smiles more, and tells me how BUSSIN BUSSIN my food is, while doing funny dances in the kitchen after taking that first bite (I’m not allowed to post those videos, and I respect that wish of his).

Blank space where Brandon should be standing for his first day of Junior Year, however that red sun is right there in his spot.

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