'They Are in What Grade?!?': The Annual Back to School Post

It was an Earth-shaking deal in 2015 when little still-just-3-year-old Everett was adventuring off to school after staying home for his entire life with me. It could be debated who it was a bigger deal for, as I almost sprinted to the school to pick him up after his first day. To commemorate what was a huge deal for our family, we took a picture of our brave young man who was entering a new phase of his life. He may have been very young and definitely not used to being away from his parents, but academically he was very ready and it was time to challenge and expand his horizons.

Of course, it became just as a big deal when my little warrior princess finally raced off into the world of schooling. Both moments needed to be preserved for the annals of Spicer's history.

Little did I know, taking a picture of my kids on the first day of school would then become an annual tradition. It worked wonderfully as a time capsule showing how they looked before they leaped into the transformation and growth that would confront them throughout the coming year.

Here I am thinking about that first-ever photo session with Everett and today being hit with the reality he is going into Grade 7. When did this suddenly sneak up on me?!? He is hovering frighteningly close to the realms of teenager and high schooler yet my wonderful little Junior Kindergartener sometimes doesn't feel that distant.

Danika is now plunging into Grade 3 and I have to come to terms with her becoming a young woman. An outgoing, creative, strong-willed, thoughtful, precocious, smart girl who has made me aware is only one year away from playing in "the big kids' play area." Time is not my companion when it comes to holding on to my life as a parent of two young kids, and I didn't even mention Danika already has several suitors that rush towards her when she comes to school every morning. It is no mystery why the hair that remains is going grey. 

I am so proud and overjoyed with who my kids have grown to be. It is going to be another incredible year that will continue to shape the amazing adults who they are destined to become. On top of school, both are back in musical theatre programs, continuing with their cello lessons, and showing interest in various other hobbies and activities that will immerse themselves over the next 12 months and beyond. I am excited to be there alongside them as support, but also to witness them shine in multiple avenues and take on the various challenges that will confront them.

There have been a plethora of challenges on this now 10-year voyage through school with my kids. I have learned more than I had imagined while my kids are students. There was a year when I was educated on handling how to react to one of my kids being bullied, and I realized that sometimes the best approach is taking some distance. School showcased their differences with one holding everything in and another telling us all of it even if half was imagined. We navigated the challenges of one kid excelling academically while struggling socially while the other drew friends with ease while facing many challenges with learning that were exacerbated through COVID-19.

Through everything, I've seen both my kids mature and excel in their own ways. Everett has become more independent and is taking the initiative in framing his school experience. Danika has constantly been a source of encouragement and strength for other kids while also growing in her confidence. I love that both of them are willing to try anything at school and want to be actively involved. 

As always, my kids continue to be an inspiration and motivation for me. I aim for this to be a great year for growth and success when obstacles and challenges arise. This will be the year where I can strive to be the best husband, father, friend, and writer, and push myself to be a shining example and model for Everett and Danika.

Wishing the best for everyone during what will be another exciting school year.

How was the first day of school for your family?