So, next week I head off to Edinburgh for the largest arts festival in the world with thousands of shows and productions and blah, blah, blah. Groundbreaking theatre, hilarious comedy, incredible dance troupes... yet there isn't one single bit of it that will be as good as The Boy's school play was on Wednesday.
It was a production featuring the whole school, right the way through from Reception to Secondary. They'd helped to write it, and even produced the scenery themselves. And true to form, it contained carnivorous plants, Darth Vadar, monsters, Michael Jackson and zombies. It was by far the best play that I've ever seen and I'm not biased in the slightest.
There were the children I've never heard speak before who bellowed their lines like Brian Blessed; there were show-songs sung with more gusto than opening night in the West End and there were so many infectious smiles that kept catching you off guard and making you pretend it was the sweat from your brow you were wiping away.
Then there were the forgotten lines. The long pauses. The unrehearsed outbursts. The bits of scenery that didn't behave themselves. But each of these just added to the whole thing... a little reminder of the gargantuan effort each of the cast were making, a reminder that none of this has come easily to any of them but they're trying so hard and who-gives-a-shit-about-mistakes-anyway because this will always be about so much more than just a play.
As for The Boy? He's never had a line in a school play before. This time he had three. And he'd been practicing his part for days in secret, muttering the words over and over. But the most important line he came out with that day wasn't said on the stage. It was said in the car on the way to school that morning.
"I'm scared about the play".
The first time he'd voiced his fears to me. He'd always hit out before, flew into a rage, thrown a tantrum, screamed like his life depended on it. But here he was at the age of eleven for the first time in his life telling me he was afraid of something. We talked about it. About how it hurt your stomach and made you want to run away and be on your own. We talked about how lots of things are scary, but if you talk about them they don't seem quite so scary anymore. And this boy who at times can be so eloquent over the insignificant had finally found a way to use the words when it mattered.
So that afternoon in the play he peeked through the curtain before to check where I was sitting. And then he walked on stage and he delivered his three lines perfectly, just as he'd rehearsed. And alright, you couldn't hear them in the audience, but that didn't matter. The words were heard where it counted, as every single one of them reverberated through his body and chipped away a little tiny fragment of the fear that has resided there all his life.
Take a bow, sunshine. You will never be anything less than incredible.
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.