On Friday, the middle schoolers at The Oaks Academy, where my kids attend school, put on an amazing performance of the Twelfth Night. Yes, the whole sha-bang. It was quite impressive to see how these 12-14 year olds handled Shakespeare. The entire school body sat through the 2+ hours of theatrical antics. The school doesn’t have an auditorium. The stage is in the gym and we sat on aluminum chairs for the entire play. Kudos to the lower school kids for siting still that long and not getting too antsy to move around.

The performance by the middle schoolers inspired my boys to write their own plays. Yesterday my second-born son wrote a play called, “The Evil King.” I’m not exactly sure what the plot was but each of my four boys had lines they memorized and costumes (including several changes), props and sword fights.

Today, first-born son wrote another play called, “Sir Jaden.” Again, I’m not exactly sure about the plot but it was loaded with lots of sword fighting, falling to the ground, gathering strength and fighting all over again. When I asked why they were fighting, they told me the audience couldn’t ask questions. Where are my manners? Have I forgotten all rules of the theater? Then my son added “It’s a play about sword fighting, duh!”

As I watched them act out the various scenes and struggle to remember their lines or entrances, I felt myself tear up. Here were four little creatures that worked together – all day, I might add – to create something that they were proud of, something that they did without the help of an adult, something that was all their own. So many times I miss these moments and simply endure the “interruption” in my day to listen or watch them do something. But today, I was fully engaged and awed by their creativity and teamwork. What happened on that “stage” today seemed to melt away all the attitude and rudeness earlier in the day.

There on that “stage” each boy had their part. None was more important than the other. If one boy didn’t do his part the whole play would not have worked. I loved the metaphor that unfolded right in front of me. Their lives are all connected and they all have their roles. Sometimes one character is the central person, while other times it shifts and another boy delivers the punch. Yet, they were all written into the play. I’m so fortunate to be their mother and so thankful that I can take part in seeing how their minds and hearts are revealed. I hope that I can always be as present in these moments because I know they will not last forever…. and I don’t want to miss one second of their sword-fighting, defeating the evil-guy, feast- at-the-castle, fight again moments.

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