19 January 2011

boys and trucks-

It is time, once again, for school to start here in South Africa. Last week began the great immigration to a new year. Classrooms opened up, programs geared at children started running again, and for at least the DiCocco family, new routines and rhythms are beginning to be laid down.

I’ll tell you the truth. This first week of school has been difficult. The day before everyone else started, Harrison had a “welcome to high school” initiation day. What we were completely unprepared for was that initiation day here in a South African school is more akin to a college fraternity hazing than it is to a every-body wins team building- - feel good kind of day. In all the looking forward to a new school and new friends and the grandiose change away from homeschool – we never once talked about “what if they degrade us and I feel isolated and alone because I know no one and the older kids are making us do embarrassing things – like wear a diaper to school for the first week and suck on a pacifier so I not only feel alone, I feel humiliated?” I know the initiation was all done in good humor – and if we were prepared for it, and if he would have already felt comfortable with those kids, it probably would have been a different story all together. But it was a hard first couple of days and Harrison needed lots of walks around the neighborhood to sort things out. We agreed though that all we have seen of the school has been fabulous. And that we truly believe that God did some fancy footwork to make it possible for us to enroll – so there has to be good waiting in there.
A friend of mine just said to me “A mom is only as happy as her saddest child”
I think that’s kind of where I was on Wednesday morning as I dropped my kids off to this new school. None of them were looking forward to the day, after hearing about Harrison’s experiences the day before. And I just knew I was sending them in to something that was either going to be the best thing ever – or it would really be bad.

I came home on Wednesday and just prayed – read – ate M&Ms – and when I picked them up that afternoon…my heart sighed a deep cleansing breath. Avery chattered for half an hour without a breath about her class, her friends, her teacher. All are fabulous. She was smitten from the first moment. Madyline walked around from the very first day like she wasn’t at a new school at all – totally comfortable. She’s already working in the tuck shop on her breaks (which is good for Madi, she’s always needed a job to keep her busy in a new situation). And Harrison had made a friend, so it wasn’t so horrible as going it alone. And he found out the older kids really do like the younger ones – and that he likes them too.

This week has been one of trying to sort out a rhythm. Kids are gone all day and come home exhausted, but with piles of homework. I’m trying to fit in time to myself/ time to focus on my photography assignments and ministries/ and time to be a mom and create a safe and comfortable home. And still have space to play trucks with boys like these… I’m here for all of those things… and I love them all.


  1. I would love to put a huge smiley face here. You ALL deserve it.

  2. Thanks. Seems to get easier each day. Now if we could just figure out how to get a good evening rhythm down - homework, housework, dinner, family, meetings. That's a lot to pack in to a few hours after a long day.
    I really don't know how people do it.

  3. I'm a friend of Sarah Weeda and found your blog through her. Our family is moving to the Pretoria area in June and staying for however long God calls us. I've really enjoyed reading your blog and getting glimpses into life in South Africa. Reading about different school environment and experiences is tough because I know my own kids will be going through that in the near future. I hope things continue to get less difficult for your kids!

  4. Well hi! Good to know you. And perhaps soon we'll be able to know you for real - we live really close to Pretoria and we love company and friends.
    You know, as far as school goes, it's more the cultural differences that catch you off guard sometimes.... everywhere we go. We think things are so similar to America (we do live in a big westernized city), or that we've assimilated ourselves nicely... and then something throws us an unexpected curveball and we realize we are still learning - which is a good thing. The kids are singing the praises of their new school now after just one week. I think that after homeschooling through our entire African experience so far, the structure & schedule of a school classroom was bound to shake us up for a while till we found a rhythm.
    But I totally get all the little (and big) worries you might have for your upcoming move. it's a big deal to move across the world. And as a parent, protecting and providing physical and emotional safety is our job to be concerned about.
    I'll be praying for your family as you are wrapping things up in the states and looking forward to this new adventure.
    I'd love to connect more.

  5. Thanks Trace. I am sure I will be in touch more soon. Right now we are getting ready to move close on our house and move to an apartment this weekend so most South Africa related stuff has slipped off my radar for now : )


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