Athena’s First Day of School

Athena's first day of kindergarten
Athena is officially a kindergarten student. She started school this week and I keep shaking my head at the fact that I have a child in school. When I started Bucket List Publications, she wasn’t even born and now she’s enrolled in a French Immersion school in Montreal. Where did the time go? How am I the mother of a child in school when I still feel like a kid myself? And with Athena off to school during the days now, I need more of a purpose. What should I do with my time? A job? Volunteer? Exercise? Write a book? Pick up a hobby like day drinking? (Just seeing if you’re paying attention.) I feel lost. Is this how all mothers feel when their kids go to school?She was so excited about going to school that she was up picking out her clothes at 6 am even though she had planned her outfit the night before. After breakfast and getting washed, I asked her how she wanted her hair for her big day. She chose a waterfall braid and I took my time to make it exactly how she likes it.
Getting ready for the first day of school
She stood outside our house for pictures before we walked to her school. I thought I was totally fine with her going to school. We’d traveled separately and together so much in her life that we’re not new to being apart or trying something different. But when she stood on the front porch looking like a mini me, I had to fight back my tears.

We walked together and talked about what excited her about school. She said she was excited about meeting new friends and her teacher, playing in the playground, and learning. She’s always loved reading books, doing crafts, and playing school so it didn’t come as a surprise that she included learning, but I was still proud of her.

Athena's new school
I asked her for one more picture before we went into the school and she posed in front of the main entrance.
First day of school
There were four groups of kindergarten classes when we went inside. We waited for her name to be called. At first, she was patient but she started to worry. She asked me if they forgot her or if she was at the right school. I told her that eventually her name would be called and she had nothing to worry about.

She was the very last student called and I could see the relief on her face when the teacher said her name.
First day of school
I walked her to her classroom but that’s where I had to leave her.

As I walked down the steps, I felt a huge sense of panic and not for her but for me. She was my entire focus for the last five years. Every aspect of my day was planned around her. What was I going to do? Not only had we spent most days together, but many of those days were traveling to different countries, exploring parks, or discovering something new. Just like that, my entire life has changed again.

We’re happily settling into life in Montreal but it is a little overwhelming right now. I’m sure, slowly, day-by-day, I will find my new groove. Until then, I will celebrate this beautiful next step in our lives and take it one day at a time.

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43 thoughts on “Athena’s First Day of School

  1. Congratulations to your daughter in starting kindergarten. This will be a wonderful adventure for both of you. I don’t supposed I am the first or will be the last to tell you that all parents go through this stage of life. Its indeed emotional. I have a neighbor/friend who just sent her youngest daughter off to college and now she is finding herself with more time on her hands. She still has her household stuff and her job (for now) but she will find something to do. I do recommend that if you are looking for something community service in Montreal is the way to go. Woman’s clubs, environmental any thing.

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    • I struggle with community service in Montreal because I don’t speak a word of French. Even volunteer work is difficult here without speaking their first language.

      I’m determined to find something that gives me purpose like community service when we return from our trip to Greenland next week. I’m excited about this time to give back.

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  2. It’s 40 years since I first experienced this and then three more time with the other three kids. You have brought those feelings straight back into my heart. Every new Mum of a child starting school must feel this. It is a huge step for you both and the beginning of new experiences for you both, I send you love in facing these new challenges. You will find you path. With love, Sally xx

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    • She’s so mature and so full of joy that I will miss her adorable face during the day but it will all fall into place.

      On Tuesday, we leave for Iceland and then head to Greenland from there. We’re both super excited. I’ll share photos as soon as I return. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  3. It was nice to see your blog pop up in my WordPress Reader again. I hope you’re doing well. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Wow, it doesn’t seem long since you were posting about baby Athena, and I’ve been following your blog since before she was born. Doesn’t time fly?!

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    • We are doing well. We’re happily settling into our new home and life in Montreal. Even as I type with my cold fingers, I’m reminder of just how different things are here.

      How are you? I’d love to hear something new in your life. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • Yes I can imagine it must be quite a change from California, especially the winter. But I remember you saying you’re from Canada, so I guess you’re used to the snow!

        I’m well. ๐Ÿ™‚ Currently working on setting up my own business as a freelance proofreader, which is new and exciting.

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  4. Congratulations to her – and to you. What a sweet kid. Maybe leave the day drinking for a year or two. Near a beach? Be a monitor for shorebirds, get involved in protection schemes, banding and so forth. Hate birds? Well, back to plan A – but probably best choose wine. Good luck!. RH

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  5. Congratulations. My grand daughter starts next week. I am sure my daughter is going through similar thoughts. But she has a son two years younger. So she has something else to keep her occupied. Enjoy this time in your life. Soon there will be a different phase.

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    • I think all moms have similar thoughts even if they have other kids. It’s a big change but exciting for all of us. ๐Ÿ™‚ Good luck to your daughter and granddaughter next week. I’m sure it will be a lot of awesomeness with a little bit of sadness on the side.

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  6. What to do? Well, I think thereโ€™s a book in this amazing and unique blog journey youโ€™ve been on the last 8 (?) or so years. Not just the places youโ€™ve seen, but how that all came about, how you got your travel gigs, perhaps the business end of it. Iโ€™ve been following you since before your marriage and before the baby was born. We communicated when I won ballet tickets (California) because you couldnโ€™t use them โ€” since Athena was just about to be born. I took my granddaughter. I, too, love to see your blog pop up. Now Iโ€™d like to see your book pop up!

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    • I’ve always considered a book and I love writing. I just miss interacting and socializing with adults. I guess I miss working in a social environment. It makes me wonder if I just want what I don’t have. This has always been my dream life.

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  7. Wow! Montreal is my home town and I miss it, always. I am glad you are settled and anticipating more travels. I always wish you well, as you inspire me. My brother went to Willingdon, so I feel a connection here.

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    • It really is lovely here. I love the smells and the trees! I love the people and the culture.

      We are heading to Iceland and Greenland this week so we’re not exactly hanging up our travel shoes but it will be a lot less. I’m not sure if I know how to stay in one place.

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  8. Hi Lesley, so much has changed for you in such a short time ๐Ÿ˜‰
    It’s interesting this parenting malarky isn’t it! I remember the first day my kids when to school. What will I do with all this time? The uncertainty can bring about anxiety.
    Mine have left home and I’m living and working in Thailand at the moment. So all change!!
    I loved the thought of you writing a book – what tales you’d have to tell interwoven with the experiences of the heart.
    You’ll find your way and our thoughts and best wishes are with you.

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  9. So nice to have you back, in Canada and to blogging. May I suggest that as Athena learns French you could do the same. It is the one thing that I regret not doing. All my children went through the French Immersion program and I even taught in dual track French Immersion schools for 28 years but on the English side. I tried to convince myself that I would learn French through osmosis but that didn’t happen. I’m sure that there are French classes for adults in Montreal.

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    • Well… we do have a trip to Iceland and Greenland planned for next week and another trip to Quebec City planned for Winter Carnival in a few months. I’m thinking about a trip during the Christmas holidays as well so there’s still plenty to come. It’s just a little more spread apart.

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  10. I know your feeling of being lost. When my children were young the first week of school was my hardest week of the year. I remember wondering around in my house and my yard, not knowing what to do. But then after a few days the empty feeling would leave. Walking her to school and home again is a great time for just the two of you. A time to discuss the day, homework, teachers, projects, problems, friends, etc. I wish you the very best in this new season of your life.

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    • Thank you ๐Ÿ™‚

      She has a full day on Tuesday but we leave for Iceland and Greenland Tuesday night. We get back on the 13th so that will be the most difficult time. I’m already thinking about blog posts and other “work” to keep me busy.

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  11. Exciting times… but also one of transitions… I hope you take some time and are easy to yourself as you maneuver this life change! Welcome back to Canada… looking forward to hearing of your new adventures!

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    • We’re heading to Iceland on Tuesday and then to Greenland for a festival. I’d hoped to visit the Blue Lagoon on Tuesday but I didn’t book tickets early enough. We’ll make it there on the way back for sure. Lots of pics to follow.

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  12. Every mother I’ve known feels this way when the kid(s) first go to school. Give yourself a couple of days to grieve (you are losing your constant companion, after all), and then find your new focus. Or let it find you.

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    • That’s the hardest part – I’ve had a companion at my side every day. Nothing ever feels lonely when she’s with me. It’s like I’m stronger when she’s around because I know that I need to be ready for anything for the two of us.

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