So, after the show on Wednesday I caught the train to Glasgow and met The Boy for dinner. It's very hard writing dinner, because I'm a common Northerner, and it will always be 'tea'. You have dinner at lunchtime. But The Boy tells me off when I call it 'tea'. Dinner is Dinner. Lunch is Lunch. Yet another reminder that my son is posher than I will ever be.
Anyway, whatever it was called, it was the best meal I've had in a long, long time...
After the trip to his cousins, The Boy is now staying just outside Glasgow with The Mum, and his grandparents, Manga and Ah-Boo. Their names have stuck from when he was little - Manga was always his pronunciation of Grandma... and Ah-Boo is because Grandad used to always play 'boo!' with him. So, that was what The Boy christened him.
When The Boy got out of the car he looked like he'd grown about three feet since I'd last seen him. Standing tall... And spontaneously, he hugged me. And maybe I'm over-romanticising things a bit (Me? Never!), but it felt like a proper, full-on hug...
The Boy will often give hugs, but so often it can feel like they're devoid of anything, like he's going through the motions. Like it's just an action he's learnt, but there's no emotion behind it. A hug is just something you do if you want a Wagon Wheel. He leans with all his body weight on you bearing his head down on your chest. That's his normal hug. And maybe it was just because I hadn't seen him for over a week, but this felt like being wrapped up in him. "Fat tummy", he said. That's my boy...
We went for dinner. To an Italian restaurant. The Boy wanted burger and chips. Apparently I had to have the same. And so we sat in an Italian restaurant eating burger and chips. He spent most of the meal watching YouTube clips with his headphones in, every now and then pausing to poke me in the side or shove his hands into my face, but he was happy.
Afterwards we had napkin folding competitions (that sounds far more technical and creative than it was... it was pretty much seeing who could scrunch up a napkin the quickest). And although it would have been lovely to stay longer, he'd done brilliantly, and it was time to leave.
It's not a long goodbye this time... The Boy is coming to Edinburgh next week. I have a day off, he's coming to stay in the flat with us overnight. I can't wait. I've booked a couple of shows, the Netflix account is on standby and I've warned the kebab shop downstairs that they might have some stiff competition on the noise front...
So he got in the car to say goodbye on Wednesday evening and as he did he gave me another hug. I felt the weight bearing down on my chest as he leant with his entire body pushed on me as usual. But then he must have squeezed tighter than he ever has before. He must have squeezed so tightly, it made Dad's eyes well-up.
"Fat tummy", he said.
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.