Last night all the worries and traumas of the last couple of weeks melted away. Last night... Doctor Who returned.
Given it was the 50th anniversary, it was being shown simultaneously at the cinema, and I'd taken a gamble a few weeks ago and booked seats. 3-D. Near the back. The Boy hates 3-D. And sitting near the back. But this was the Doctor. Normal rules don't apply...
Trips out so rarely cause The Boy excitement. He will enjoy himself while he's there, but often the change in routine and anxiety means it can be a battle to get him out of the house in the first place. The neighbours must think I'm dragging him off to the orphanage by the noises and protests he makes, rather than the family trip swimming or to the park.
But yesterday from the minute he woke up he asked, "how much longer?". At 5pm he had his shoes on. By 5.30pm he'd even brushed his teeth. We left the house with him leading the way, rather than dragging his feet at the back. This was a trip like no other.
In the car on the way there, I was allowed the stereo on. And even the heater. The adrenaline and excitement surging through his body meant that he was suddenly able to cope with things that he couldn't normally. He even told me that he doesn't like going in a car at night because it's dark where your feet are but tonight it doesn't matter as he's going to see Doctor Who...
We arrived at the cinema fashionably early. We'd had to park quite far away, I suggested we use the wheelchair. He gave me a look as if to say, 'How do you expect me to save Gallifrey in a bloody wheelchair?'. So we walked instead. Well, I walked. He practically skipped.
We collected our tickets. I asked him if he wanted popcorn. Once again, I got the look... There would be no food or drink. How can you eat and drink and concentrate at the same time? Fine by me. Cheap date...
Then I saw the queue. My heart sank. It had all gone so well up to this point. I warned The Boy it could be a long wait. "Doesn't matter", he said. For twenty minutes he queued. At one point we were stood next to a poster advertising the film itself. He turned to me, his face about to explode. "I can't stand near that", he said, "I just want to touch it. It's too exciting!!!".
Finally they let us through. I went to walk towards the lifts as we always do but The Boy dragged me back. "Let's go with everyone else", he said.
"Are you sure?". He nodded, beaming away. So last night, in amongst a sea of bow-ties, fezzes and Doctor Who scarves, a boy and his dad rode the escalator.
We took our seats, The Boy on the aisle with no-one next to him. His 3-D glasses that he hates wearing were on ten minutes early. The theme music started and he began singing away. "Woooh-ooooh", he wailed. "Shush!!!!", I said, laughing. "I just can't help it!!", he replied.
I'm not sure what happened for the rest of the film. The Boy was lost in it all. And sitting next to him, behind the dark glasses, Dad was doing some time-travelling of his own. Stifling silent tears. The last ninety minutes, that would have seemed so insignificant to so many, had been the closest we'd ever come to discovering just what life might have been if only...
The film ended. Exhausted, The Boy slumped back in his chair, silent.
"Come on kiddo", I said, helping him on with his coat, "time to go home... Let's go and get the lift."
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.