Reflections on a First Day

The first for everything we experience in life is special. Sometimes it’s sensational or thrilling. And sometimes it can be scary or downright terrifying. Or maybe all of the above. The first day of spring brings with it the joy of warmth and growth. A child’s first word or first steps bring delight about the anticipation of a developing little human being. The first day of school comes with a mix of trepidation and excitement every year. The first day of a new job can be stressful, exhilarating and petrifying all at the same moment.

We experienced a few firsts this week in our family, and for sure there has been quite a mix of emotions.

Tuesday was the first day of school for many children across Canada. For my oldest two children it was the first day at the same school they have always known, but of course in the next grade. With every new school year there are changes and growth with elevated expectations for the child. There’s a new teacher, sometimes a new classroom and a few new students to meet. The child is nervous and jittery, and taking that step into the school hallway and into the classroom can be tough. My son ran away and barely waved good bye. My daughter got a bit teary-eyed as we walked away from her grade 3 classroom.

For my youngest, my baby, Nessa, it was literally her first day of school. She’s only going to preschool, but this is a huge step for such a tiny person. She has always been home with me or a caregiver, and this week represented the first time this little two-year-old went out into the world. Okay, she wasn’t walking the floor of the Stock Exchange or selling lottery tickets from a kiosk, but it was her first day out of the house, in a brand-new environment. That’s a big step for anyone, and she made it through like a champion. There were a few tears, but she perked up when she saw the baby dolls, plastic food, and so I’m told, lunch.

When Nessa’s tears began to flow at drop-off I swiftly gave her a kiss on her forehead and was out the door. She’s my third child, and I know how it goes. I remember the first time I dropped off my son at daycare when he was only 11 months old. He was my first child. I don’t know if he cried, but I did! I sobbed outside, on the steps of his daycare, feeling guilty that I had abandoned my child. By number three I sure didn’t feel this way and easily waved good bye and ran.

But I didn’t run home because on Tuesday I also experienced my first day. I didn’t go back to school but I started a new, full-time job. As I have written a number of times here in my blog, I have been on a journey the last two years to find the next steps on my career path. I established my own small business doing consulting and contract work in communications, and of course this blog. I wanted to figure out what’s best for me professionally, where I could bring value and contribute to an organization in a meaningful way.

It took me a while to figure it out and I definitely have hit some speed bumps over the last year. A few months ago I was offered a full-time position at a company where I was doing contract work, and it was the right fit. After a lot of planning, both logistically and mentally, Tuesday was my first day back at work full-time. It was an overwhelming day with more information thrown my way than I could ever absorb. But the first day turned into a second day on Wednesday. And it was much less overwhelming and much more productive and fulfilling.

So the first day is exciting and terrifying. The second day is a bit calmer and less scary. When we  get to the third, fourth, fifth day and beyond we get comfortable and confident. We will all experience many more firsts in life, and I hope they are as successful as the ones my family and I had this week.

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