The Boy was up in the middle of the night again last week. It hasn't happened for quite a while, and part of me has missed it.
Don't get me wrong, there's nothing pleasant in the initial sensation of being woken with the subtlety of an air-raid siren, but afterwards, once the bad dream or accident or whatever else caused him to wake, once that's dealt with, there's a calmness that descends. That's the bit I miss.
If The Boy lies on my bed with me, he'll let me turn the light off. As long as I lie on the bit of the bed nearest the door. And in that darkness, in the stillness and the silence of the night, we'll talk. He'll open up more than he is capable of doing in the daytime. Lying in the dark, no distractions, no facial expressions to try and make sense of, no background noises. Nothingness. At 2am, in the dead of night, a Dad and his son shoot the breeze.
I'll ask him about his day at school, and the questions that were greeted with blank stares or sighs hours earlier are now answered freely, offering up new details about what's happening the next day. We'll talk about things that went wrong at school, and what he could do differently next time. It's extraordinary, when all the external noises and pressures are taken away, just how much he's able to put into words.
So the other night, we started talking about the future again. He said that when I'm an old man he'll come and visit me. Too kind. And I asked him again what he wanted to be when he is older. It seems he's had a change of heart, and the plans for the computer shop are on hold for the time being. Instead, he has decided that when he is older he would like to be "an Internet Sensation".
Being unfamiliar with the job title, I asked him what that was. He said he didn't really know, but it meant you make Minecraft videos on YouTube, and it's definitely what he wants to be.
And as he drifted back off to sleep I smiled to myself thinking that he might not realise it fully just yet, but in a tiny, tiny corner of the world wide web, there's a little website. And people come to it every day because all they want to hear are stories about him. Just him. Amongst a very select group, he's already our internet sensation.
This blog is about bringing up The Boy. He's 12 years old and autistic. It's written by The Dad. It's my words, my view. Other people will think differently and have different opinions. Good.