I like to plan and to know how things will work out. Sometimes it's just not possible and the natural twists and turns of life write a much superior script to mine.
I have always thought of my eldest son as an introvert, typically quiet and not always forthcoming. He is at his happiest with a book or a pencil, indoors, often alone. He loves to write and has ambitions to be a published author and has never really been a "joiner-in-er". Last Autumn I came across a Shakespeare workshop being held at half-term. He has never shown any interest in acting, but I thought he might enjoy a week working with Shakespeare. The tutor was very encouraging, helping him to see the connections between excellent screen-writing and thorough understanding the acting process and so, nervously, he signed up. He had a great week and most of all loved the chance to stand up and act. He didn't have a big part but he loved what he did.
When we moved north, he was the one I was worried about finding friends. The other two had natural niches to slot into but not my eldest. Given the success of the Shakespeare workshop, we thought we'd try drama and eventually tracked down a Youth Drama group at the Georgian Theatre in Richmond. This is now the highlight of his week and a place where he has found like-minded young people by whom he feels welcomed, valued and accepted in all his individuality and quirkiness.
So it has come as a surprise to find myself rehearsing lines with my younger two children. They are taking part in a play being put on in June as part of the Swaledale Festival. We know the author and producer quite well and the parts of two other-worldly children who act as one and link the whole play together were just right for them. My eldest is just too... well... old; and too young for any of the adult parts. He has struggled with understandable feelings of jealousy but is looking forward to his own week in the summer with his drama group and the play to be put on at the end of that.
He is also busy revising for two IGCSEs in Biology and Maths and my partner and I are spending a lot of time working with him at the moment and so he is recieving a lot of one-to-one attention. Which means that it is all balancing out rather well: he gets our focus academically and the others don't miss out because we are spending time rehearsing lines with them and they all have a goal in the coming months. I wouldn't have planned it like this, but it seems they all have just what they need.