The First Day of School Conjures 8 Observations

It must be an evil wizard's spell that it has already been eight years since Everett went off to school for the first time, and four years ago that Danika followed along. As a nostalgic and emotional fellow, it is inevitable that I get stricken with a few feelings and thoughts on this day. It has been tradition that I not only post the classic 'first day of school' photo, but I also provide a few quick thoughts on the big day.

As I wished my kids a fantastic first day of school there were eight thoughts that overwhelmed me that I've decided to share.

1. First day of school is a mixed emotion day for every Spicer. Everett and Danika revealed they were both excited and nervous about the first day of school. They were thrilled to see their friends and had anticipation over meeting their new teacher, but they were sad to say good-bye to summer and slightly anxious about the challenges ahead. Emily, who teaches high school, revealed to them that she shares all those feelings as well. And even though I am not going anywhere different than the same home office I've been working away at all summer, I also was filled with mixed emotions.

I am thrilled that I have a guaranteed five hours of uninterrupted work where no one will be screaming if I am done writing yet after only twenty minutes or needing to stop one of my kids from trying out a dryer as a fun Canada's Wonderland ride alternative. But as much as I love having more time to get important client work done, I really miss having my kids around. Working from home meant I could look after my kids when they were young, so we never did day care. This has meant I had the blessing of creating a special bond with both of them. Those many kid-free hours just never quite feel right even after all these years. 

2. My kids refuse to stop growing up. How is Everett going into Grade 6? How is Danika now a Grade 2 student? None of this seems right. It feels like it was only a few weeks ago that I was getting Everett ready for his first ever day of school.

A lot has changed over the years. They have both shed their adorable 'baby-fat; and Everett is now becoming a handsome young man and Danika -- despite all my protestations -- is starting to reveal the young women she will be. It isn't just about looks. My kids are becoming more independent and needing me much less. They are showing their own interests and their own distinct skills. They are their own individuals. As much as I will miss my young kids, I am proud of the older version my smart, witty, imaginative, and independent children have become.

3. This is the first 'normal' kick-off to school since 2019. Danika's first ever school year kicked off in September of 2019. Little did we know how that year would end, and the crazy ride it would be for the next three years. But this year there are no official Covid protocols and I didn't see a mask in site on the playground (though, they are still optional). For the first time in three years, I was allowed to go on the property and take my kids to their teachers. It is very unlikely that there will be another school shutdown, unless the virus really gets out of the hand again. I still don't really know what 'normal' means after what has happened, but this morning was the closest to feeling like a traditional 'first day of school.' 

I am optimistic that it will be a great school year, and that my kids will be able to experience a full school year in-person. I won't have to get ready for everyone being on computers at home, and needing to address constant screaming for the whereabouts of scissors or that the other kids isn't in their online class. The more important things is that my kids will get field trips, assemblies, parties, sports, and all the things that make school more than just traditional learning. There was something special being part of the chaos of a first day where all the kids were able to run around the property while parents caught up with each other on their summer.

4. The first day is a fresh start. The previous years are done. Students have their achievements and their missteps, but a new grade means a new beginning. It is a new chance to excel, to learn new things, and to take on new challenges. Last year, Everett was thrilled that he could finally try out for the sports teams, and he signed up for everything. He ended up making the cross- country team and track teams, and as a boy blessed with his father's athletic ability (when it comes to sports, I am really good at writing about them), I was proud with what he accomplished. Danika is nervous of this year because she knows she will be expected to read even harder books, but she is also excited about the chance to become a strong reader like her brother. 

A new beginning doesn't just mean school. Both my kids are enrolled in musical theatre programs, and Everett is in an ambitious one where he will be performing a professional style production of Newsies for an audience on several days in January. Both my kids are in cello and will also have many opportunities to perform for an audience. It will be a big year for learning and trying out many new things, and pushing themselves to be their very best. I am excited to how many times they will amaze and inspire me.

I also decided to see this as a new beginning for me. This is my chance to grow this site to have more readers and increase its reach to where it can become a major part of my career. It is a year where I can push myself to expand my media presence with more podcasts and start creating videos. This is the year I can send out a manuscript to an agent, and get even closer to being a published author. This will be the biggest year for my career, and as my kids push themselves, I will be following their lead.

5. Sandwiches is not the only lunch option. Everett declared this morning that he refuses to eat sandwiches every day this year. I reminded him that he didn't eat sandwiches every day last year. But he responded that it was more than he felt was acceptable. In my effort to push myself, I will need to be more creative in making lunches. Or inform Everett he is now old enough to make his own lunch.

6. The first day means things can be different. My kids will have a different classroom and a different teacher. This was a big deal for Danika, because she had the same teacher for the last three years in the same classroom. We encouraged her that different is exciting and good. My very social Danika started getting excited that not only will she have a new teacher, but she could get some new friends too. Everett was a little nervous that this will be the first year he has a male teacher, but we reminded him that change can be fun and rewarding. 

The new classrooms, teachers and students show that life is always changing and that we don' need to get stuck in a routine or rut. It is a reminder for me to push myself to try new things in my career and branch out to different forms of writing and media. I am excited to see what new challenges and events will come the way of the Spicers as a family and as individuals. Change is good, which is something our society needs to be reminded too.

7. Every years only has one 'first day of school'. As I get older, I realize how important it is to live in the moment. I can't get stuck in how the past 'first day of schools' went or think about what the future 'first day of schools' will be like. I just need to appreciate this one. Then I need throw myself into each day, and keep appreciating all the joys and gifts that every moment will bring us. I have no idea what this school year will bring for my kids or where my career will go over the next 12 months. The best thing is to enjoy this day, and make it the best possible one that I can, then do that every day after too.

8.We are on pace to be on time for school every day this year. My kids' punctuality record is not amazing. We either bike or walk to school, and walking with kids who get distracted takes about 20 minutes. There have been many days where we have had to run back into the house for the fifth time because someone suddenly remembered this was the last day to bring empty cereal boxes to school or they decided to start walking to school without shoes. Some days my kids become two erupting volcanoes and the spewing chaos means the forward motion towards school is non-existent. So, they have some glaring lates on their record through the years.

But not this year. We were 10 minutes early to school. This means our attendance is spotless. It can only get better from here. 

How was your kick-off to the school year?


  1. Anonymous8:40 am

    We had a bit of a rough go yesterday (Audrey as well) but today is much smoother


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