Stepping Up

We’re two weeks away from the play. That means I’m vacillating between What the hell was I thinking? & He always rises to the occasion.

He always rises goes like this – he knows when it’s time to step up. At Discover Dance he did, when the 4th graders danced onstage at McCaw Hall. His classmates, the setting, the music, lights all conveyed: it’s time to do what we practiced. Every summer he steps up when he shows his dog in front of the judges. Every March he steps it up at Public Presentation in front of another judge. Beneath his go-to No is him knowing it’s time.

And the performance is definitely time to stick with his group…of pirates! In some rehearsals, he’s gotten bored and wandered over to the main action. Evidently the Pirate Queen is enticing. Also, the lead pirates have swords. The day those came out was tricky in that a bunch of other kids wanted swords. Jack was not alone in that. But overall, he just needs to stick to his blocking.

We’re all a bit nervous about this. Me, the director, his teacher who wrote him two social stories which go like: I need to tell my part of the story and the main characters have to tell theirs. I have to stay in my blocking so I can tell my part of the story.

What the hell was I thinking? goes like this – he’s a special needs kid. He’s impulsive. What if he darts out center stage when the Pirate Queen sings her big song? What if he gets lost or trips in the dark, cluttered wings? The other kids could do this blindfolded. Did I overreach this time? Is this what it takes to find more inclusion for him at school? Why did I do it?

Did I overreach this time? Is this what it takes to find more inclusion for him at school? Why did I do it?

Because it’s necessary. Jack loves the stage. Plus I’m reacting to last year’s play seeing no kids with disabilities in it. Seems unfair. This is our school too, so why can’t we be in the play? Why aren’t we represented? So I stepped up.

Yeah, it’s a lonely road. But maybe in 10 years, the directors will know all the tricks necessary to direct a play of blended kids — they’ll even write new shows with this in mind. The principal will actively convey the message that all are welcome to audition. You know, actually walk the talk.

Until then, I bite the bullet until the last performance. Ask me about 10:00 on May 19 how I am. Ahhhhhhh.

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