In case you missed it, the 2016 school year has officially finished in South Africa and parents all over the show are bursting. PC and I are absolutely no exception, R did so very well this year and it is a big deal!
At the beginning of this year, we were one of the countless families who were scrambling to find a school for our son. You see, we moved from one province to the next and thought we’d have everything sorted out for our son – until we didn’t. We lucked out and managed to get our son into an incredible school. Long story short, it almost gave me a heart attack.
We decided to keep hold Riley back a year, to repeat grade 3 and I couldn’t be happier that we did. I’ll admit it, I was really concerned that he would struggle with the age difference, being so terribly tall and the fact that he had already done grade 3. I just didn’t think he was ready for senior school, not after the whirlwind year he had survived though with us. He took moving from a tiny coastal village along the Garden Route, to treking back to the Big Smoke with his parents again in his stride. I still look at him with such awe and pride, for a 10-year old dude, he is wise beyond his years.
If I look at the report that R brought home to us this week, I know that we made the right decision for him. He has settled into his school like a champion, has made so many friends and has totally found himself. He has a flair for drama and really wants to start playing chess in the new year. He celebrated his 10th birthday surrounded by his friends at a fabulous Rock Star birthday party that he had the best time at. He also has a girlfriend, how is that for a kick in the “you’re getting old, yo” face.
Even as I type this out, he is lying next to me on the bed while I have The West Side Story playing in the background. With his freshly dyed purple hair and Star Wars everything, he already meets me at my shoulders. He is tall, strapping and so very wonderful – I am so proud of him.
Okay, this post isn’t solely about how wonderful my child is, or how I have managed to raise a kid who doesn’t conform to social norms (his favourite colour is purple, and he’s watching musicals with me).
This is meant to be an introduction to regular posts about raising a pre-teen boy in Jozi. This is the first post of a parenting segment that I’ve been wrestling with sharing for ages. It is me, a mother, talking about her son and the challenges that come with raising kids today. Plus, it’s getting increasingly difficult for me not to want to talk about parenting – I mean, I’m a parent.
I am glad that we kept him back this year, and I am excited to see how he does when he goes to Grade 4 next year, I think he’s ready now. He faces any challenge head on, and I don’t see 2017 being any different for this guy. See, being kept back a year wasn’t a disappointment for him – of for us – it was an adventure, the opportunity to try something new. I don’t think any parent should consider repeating a year as a failure, or as a disappointment. Even though Riley repeated his year voluntarily, he still faced the challenges that came with being the oldest, tallest kid in his class. He still had to face the concerns that he might be teased because of it, but he didn’t seem to mind. He kept telling people that he was repeating the year like it was nothing.
I know that Riley did an amazing job this year, but I also know that it could have been different (and possibly was for a lot of other kids). It isn’t over yet though, but I do know that we’ll face every challenge with flair, purple hair over school holidays and a sense of humour to go with it. You’re welcome to join the journey, I plan on blogging about family a whole lot more.
Until next time.
All photography courtesy of Bronwyn Stewart of Heart & Soul Photography.