I have two gorgeous sons. That’s not why I’m proud, though I am proud.
They are kind and generous and hard-working. That’s one reason I’m proud. Or three, to be accurate.
I have a post coming up about Tory Boy; today I’m going to tell you about Spud.
From the age of four, Spud wanted to be an actor. He played the lead in many a school production, including The Very Hungry Caterpillar – his Munch munch, munch munch was Oscar-worthy, in my opinion – and Jonah and the Whale. I must try to upload the video of his singing I Need A Boat. Adorable.
The Hub and I were convinced he was going to make a career in acting. We were anxious but accepting, because he is a natural. Then he went to high school and discovered rugby. Rugby practise clashed with drama club and drama club lost. Our flab had never been so ghasted.
Rugby was abandoned after three years – too many wet and freezing early Saturday mornings and not enough aggression on his part to be a serious player. He was enthusiastic but nice – not a winning combination in rugby. I was relieved when he gave it up, especially after the time he was knocked senseless for a minute. I couldn’t watch him play; it hurt me too much. I have plenty of photos of his scrapes and bruises if I feel nostalgic.
He never went back to drama, however. We couldn’t convince him. He has a full week with long school days, hours of homework each night and weekend, and his Manchester City season ticket, so we didn’t push it. He said he wanted to concentrate on his GCSEs, knowing that no parent is going to argue with a child who claims he wants to work hard to pass his exams. Did I mention he was clever? And a little manipulative?
In September of this year he entered Sixth Form. For my non-UK readers, that means two years of tough exams which must be passed to enter university at eighteen. However, universities require more than good exam results; they want to see evidence of extra-curricular activity. Spud became a mentor for new pupils starting high school; joined the climbing club; volunteered to help at school open events (we have always had to press-gang him into this; we insisted on it, because of how much the school is spending on him. He just wanted to stay home and do homework. Yeah, right; we believe you, Spud); and – wait for it – auditioned for the school’s Classics play.
Considering it has been five years since he’s done any acting to speak of, he did well to get the part of The Messenger, the third-biggest role.
It wasn’t enough for him. A sign went up in school:
Shakespeare’s ‘The Tempest’ - auditions.
The auditions took the form of workshops, then call-backs for the bigger parts, then more call-backs (this school takes its drama productions seriously). Spud read parts of the text, had me drill him in the story, and watched clips on You Tube. He couldn’t find a complete version on the internet, or he’d have watched that as well.
Spud desperately wanted to win the leading role of Prospero.
Spud won the leading role of Prospero.
That’s not why I’m proud, though I am thrilled. I am proud because of something that happened in one of his auditions. The teacher had the students read different parts together. Spud and his partner finished reading and the teacher said to him, ‘Thank you. You were excellent.’
Spud was pleased to be complimented, of course, but mortified for his partner. He immediately made a point of telling the teacher that if he was any good, it was thanks to his partner working with him.
I’m proud because he made sure to give credit to his friend, and because he was embarrassed to be singled out at the expense of someone else.
I don’t want my children to boast about themselves. That’s my job.