1) Don’t freak out over costumes. Assemble it all from the women’s section of your local bargain-basement shop. Don’t fret over navy blue sweatpants as opposed to black sweatpants, and please – PLEASE – don’t make him cry when you find he’s got toothpaste on his ONE GREY SHIRT. Send him to opening night in your own black shirt. No one will know.
2) Don’t tell your son he’s wearing women’s clothing onstage.
3) Leave early and drive carefully. Now is not the time to flex your Chicago-bred city-driving skillz.
4) Don’t forget bathroom breaks before leaving, once arriving and during intermission. Take your remaining children at the same time even if they say they don’t have to go. They do. They always do.
5) Don’t bring your camera phone. Bring an actual camera. Your camera phone will flake out on you, capturing nothing but blurs and the back of strangers’ heads. Don’t try to video his one long line, as your camera phone will not turn on and you’ll miss the whole thing while trying to view it through a black screen of nothingness. You’ll still hear it, but you won’t have reveled, shed a tear at it, heart bursting with joy during it. You’ll just be annoyed, and a bit heartbroken.
6) Don’t tell your child you missed his one big line. Tell him he was amazing and you are so, so proud. Tell him he looks awesome and smart and that his big scene was your favourite part of the whole thing.
7) Bring a toy or some other distracting device for your younger children. Allow them some freedom to stand in the aisles or crawl under your chair. Don’t allow them to play with candle lanterns or dance in front of the spotlight. Do bribe them with snacks at intermission.
8) Go with friends. They’ll assist you with the other children, cheer on your wolf-child (and dwarve-husband), and beam over the perfectly executed lines and physical comedy.
9) Clap when necessary, sing along if required, put the camera down and remember to enjoy it. Your child will want to hear all about your favourite bits, even the ones he is not in. Take meticulous mental notes so you can discuss it with him all the way home.
10) Celebrate. Your child has successfully completed his first acting gig. Don’t stress yet about headshots and agents. He’ll be coming down off the curtain-call-high any minute now, but that’s how you’ll know drama geekdom is in his blood. Celebrate not only his play, but his bravery, his confidence, his discovery of a new gift. This, more than all the rest, is priceless.