Jack’s Debut

Jack’s school play was this past weekend. After hours and hours and weeks of rehearsals, he performed Friday night and Saturday afternoon and evening. He was triumphant and delightful and hilarious and wonderful and totally Jack.

It’s not easy to cram all of that into a small role that mostly involves standing in one spot and not speaking, but he totally did it.

However, the experience as a whole wasn’t perfect. In fact, I just wrote and deleted seven long paragraphs about the issues I have with the way everything went down for Jack. What it boils down to is that often inclusion isn’t what we want it to be, especially in after-school activities. But then I decided that I didn’t want this post to be about all of that. I want it to be about my awesome kid.

It would be easy to look at his struggles and feel as if he was less than successful, but instead I choose to look at how tremendously kickass my kid is.

Without even telling me, he created a monologue and auditioned for a play. He didn’t know anyone in the cast and he sat through hour after hour of rehearsal where he was required to mostly sit on a gym floor and watch other people rehearse. He was brave enough to get up on a stage to perform in front of a crowd. He was willing to do all of this for a very small role. He did all of this while autistic. Any way you look at it, Jack did a great job.

He is so brave. I don’t think he is even aware of how brave he is. I tried to let him know that by buying a “shout out” in the play program.

Photo of an advertisement in the play program that says, "Congratulations, Jack! You are braver than you know. Team [Stimey] loves you!"

I hope he really understands this as truth.

Every performance that I watched—and I watched all three of them—left me grinning from ear to ear. I love my kid so much. And I am so damn proud of him.

Whenever I asked him if he’d enjoyed being in the play, he said he did. Honestly, that’s all that matters to me.

Photo of four kids dressed as security guards with linked, raised arms taking their bow on stage.

You deserved your applause, Jack. Every bit of it.

 

8 thoughts on “Jack’s Debut

  1. Ok, Jack is totally awesome and so is his mom! It takes a lot to focus on the positive, especially when we feel our munchkins have been treated badly.

  2. Congrats to Jack!
    As you said, He was triumphant and delightful and hilarious and wonderful and totally Jack. It sounds like he enjoyed his role in the after school activity.
    Everything you wrote is positive, and yet, something annoyed you?
    What, exactly?
    “However, the experience as a whole wasn’t perfect.”
    Life isn’t perfect. My life sucks. My mother is dying, I will never work again, I can’t pay the rent. My father probably has dementia.
    You have a beautiful family, and I’m sure you enjoy them.
    Just don’t expect perfection.

  3. Congrats to Jack!
    As you said, He was triumphant and delightful and hilarious and wonderful and totally Jack. It sounds like he enjoyed his role in the after school activity.
    Everything you wrote is positive, and yet, something annoyed you?
    What, exactly?
    “However, the experience as a whole wasn’t perfect.”
    Life isn’t perfect. My life sucks. My mother is dying, I will never work again, I can’t pay the rent. My father probably has dementia.
    You have a beautiful family, and I hope you enjoy them.
    Just don’t expect perfection.

    • I hear you. And I’m very sorry to hear about your parents. That’s really difficult.

      I’m not striving for perfection in my kid’s experience–in fact, it was his imperfections that were so utterly delightful. The thing that annoyed me–angered me really–was what I saw as part of a systemic barrier to participation by disabled kids in after school activities. I see it over and over again and it manifests in many different ways, but it seems like it is always there.

  4. Jean, that sounds awesome. Kudos to Jack for being on stage.*
    Haven’t kept up with the very few blogs that I used to read. I volunteered at the BCC Y Turkey Chase. Not much news here.

    *I was the shy kid who played in three musical ensembles, and shook like a leaf at every performance. I was in marching band for a year. Didn’t like the uniforms. :)

    Happy holidays!

  5. i get every single syllable of this. that which is said and that which wasn’t. truly. every syllable.

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