It's been a little while. I may have no readers left at this point, having been so wretchedly inconsistent in my writing over the past year. 😀
Life has been, is, full. Except for today. Today, Friday, is a blessed day of rest after a very, very busy last number of weeks.
Over the past three days, our homeschool Learning Centre (LC) has been busy putting on four performances of Shakespeare's Henry IV. Twenty-five kids, 8 moms...all working unbelievably hard over the past number of weeks/months to get ready for this week. And it was great! We sold just enough tickets to pay for our theatre rental (no small feat there...sooo expensive...thousands of dollars for three days' rental), costumes, staging, etc etc etc etc. Yesterday's final performance was a sold out crowd - in a theatre that holds 151 people, we sold 156 tickets for yesterday's show and used overflow chairs to accommodate the extra (and had to turn a few away at the door).
It was pretty impressive, to be honest. The kids did amazingly well. Truly. There were no 'dud' performances, no performances with low energy, no performances with noticeable mistakes. This is not Shakespeare dumbed down. Shakespearean language was used, there were impressively-choreographed (by one of our own LC graduates) sword fights and battle scenes, the costumes were period pieces (created by two of our own LC moms), and it was well staged, well directed, well blocked, and well performed. Real, well done, Shakespeare.
I'm so proud of all of our kids. My own three had small roles (though all had lines this year), but were on stage often. They were as engrossed as anyone else in the process; they learned incredible discipline and teamwork showing up for every single rehearsal and participating in every warm up and every activity; had to create back stories for their characters in order to help them enter into their roles, even when their characters were on stage without speaking; learned much about language and the evolution of it and how to understand it; were as much a part of the team as any other kid.
The kids (my own and all of the LC kids) are so fortunate, even though they don't know it, to be part of such a truly unique community of people. At the cast-and-crew after-party last night, after stuffing ourselves with burritos and lemonade and ice cream, the whole group of us spent a lot of time thinking and talking about our highlights of the past several weeks/months and giving 'shout-outs' to various people; and I looked around that room of about 40 people (the dads joined us as well) and thought 'wow, what a blessing this community is to all of us.'
While we were talking, I looked across the room at Lizzie. She was sitting between two of the older boys (16 and 18)...lovely boys, both of them. Both boys had an arm around her, one on either side, and she had an arm flung around the knee of each boy. They were, all three, utterly natural and comfortable with each other and leaning on each other. Every once in a while, Lizzie would look up and chat with one of them or one of the boys would initiate a conversation with her. They looked each other in the eye and talked intently, and those boys completely engaged her as a person...not just a little kid. Later in the evening, a couple of the younger kids (including Seth) and a few of the bigger kids went out to the park to play games and run, and burn off energy. They were gone for over an hour and Seth came back 'filled up' and content and my boy of few words was going on and on about what a good time he'd had. Seth learns from the older kids how to have fun and be competitive without making games about the winning and the losing of them; he watches the older boys treating their younger siblings well and caring for them and learns how to treat his own sister; and he gets to use all of that energy of his to chase and tackle and wrestle all of those careful, wise, older boys, and learns a little more how to use his own, sensory-challenged body.
These kids all truly love each other and respect each other and treat each other as equals, regardless of age or interest differences. We are a unique community of people, doing parts of our lives together - working alongside one another, working through conflict, engrossing ourselves in common goals for our children and for families, and practically living together for a number of weeks as we annually gear up for Shakesepeare. This dynamic is not something one sees every day out in our society, and it's frankly hard to explain...it's perhaps one of those things you have to see to believe.
But for now, the 'day after,' we are enjoying a well-deserved day of doing absolutely nothing. Weeks ago, I even wrote "NOTHING" on my calendar for today so that I would absolutely not book us for anything. It is past midday and we four are all still in our PJs. The kids have free reign on the television today (which shocked and delighted them), and I am about to crawl back into bed with a cup of tea and a book. Later we may go out for dinner with our parents, or we may stay in our PJs and make pizza together...don't know. Yawn. Heading back to bed.