25 March 2009

sometimes I wonder...

Here is a prime example of why Avery struggles so here in South Africa.

Now, there are plenty of little girls her age in Johannesburg, even girls that come from families with similar backgrounds as ours. But since she and Harrison have chosen not to go to traditional school here yet and instead spend their days with me... I take them places most middle class white kids don't usually go... and this kind of moment - the kind here in this picture- it happens often around Avery.
Yesterday, all she was doing was building a little mound out of dirt while I was doing some photojournalism at a primary school in an informal settlement on the other side of Johannesburg. The kids were in an assembly and then breaking up for the day and I was documenting the various moments and faces.. totally in my element, enjoying myself deep in my core. As the kids thinned out, I turned to find where Avery and Harrison had landed, and caught her once again the center of a circle of gawking children. None of them are daring to talk to her, they just gather to stare and wonder and laugh. Some of them are hurt that she doesn't talk to them. Some of them are just curious at what she is doing, at who she is. All of them together make her feel like a bit of a sore thumb. She's not sure how to engage them - when we first arrived, she'd try, but the kids would often laugh and mimic her words. Not necessarily being mean, just working through their own social issues. That's enough to intimidate me from trying again... let alone in the center of the crowds she draws.
She used to talk to me about how it made her feel. We used to brainstorm ideas of how to single out one or two friendly faces and draw them in to her games.
Now she just shuts it all out. Ignores them. Ignores her own feelings about what it is to be in a moment like this... again.
.She is kind of a dreamy kid anyway... not fully aware of her surroundings because she is lost in her own imagination and design. I love that about her. But she is also spontaneous and giggly and wildly social and compassionate. I am seeing that side of her less and less when she is out with other kids.
Sometimes people tell us what a great thing we've done for our kids, bringing them out here. How their lives will be so much richer, so much deeper, so much ... more... because of all they have experienced.

Sometimes people tell us what a great thing we are doing by homeschooling for these couple of years. Bonding as a family and letting the kids build up inner strength till they feel they are ready to tackle school in South Africa.

Sometimes I wonder.
I'm not trying to be all weird or anything...
I'm just saying that sometimes I wonder what this experience is really doing for them.
and how I can be doing it better with them.


  1. I think there is something that is just compelling about being a DiCocco....Something in each of your hearts and spirits that draws people to you. and those eyes......I wish that it wouldn't take half our lifetimes to get comfortable in our own skin. I will be praying specifically for God to reveal the reason for this unmistakable draw to her - her beautiful heart? Her beautiful face? her beautiful gentleness? his beautiful plan surely involves growing her closer to him during this time - may she find the courage and strength to be the beautiful princess that God created her to be - wherever she is. - Marie

  2. sending my love your way dear friend. i can only imagine all you're wrestling with.
    please tell Avery that we're looking forward to pizza with you all again :)
    xo c

  3. Wow, I never even thought about how that would be for a child to experience. I vividly remember going to visit a preschool in the township. The children immediately surrounded each of us and affectionately stroked our arms and said, "Mama". So many feelings come over you in an experience like that...
    I will pray for Avery.

  4. This makes me cry, literally. I think because it makes me proud of you (all).

    I'm certain that nothing happens in God's world by mistake - and each thing we worry is a mistake is just simply getting us one step closer. And that makes it Good.

    I'm glad for the preschoolers that you tell about days later. But I'm glad that Avery could figure out what it was about those preschoolers that she liked so well. I doubt she would have noticed if it hadn't been for her experiences like these.


  5. This post, these pictures, pulls me, my heart, my emotions, my thoughts. It's heart-breaking, it's strong, it's hurtful, it's a mother, it's a daughter, all in one. Reading it makes me pray for protection of you and also for the Body of Christ to be present in your life. How that looks, I am unsure. But I know that in reading this post, I can feel your heart and see your wondering, concerned face. Thank you for being willing and volunerable and sharing it. But know I also feel the words and your voice in them.
    - Christina Wever


Leave a comment, start a conversation::

Related Posts with Thumbnails