Tonight, You Saw a Boy

Tonight, you saw a boy who didn’t care to interact with others.

Tonight I saw a boy, who just yesterday, travelled 2 hours across the state, stayed up late, stayed in an unfamiliar hotel all night, swam in an unfamiliar pool this morning, played in a new room without any familiar comforts, endured an entirely new city with no set routine, and then endured another 2 hour return drive today, and a mere 45 minutes after returning all that distance…I saw that same boy go to church and behave like an angel for 2 hours in class. 

Tonight, you saw a boy fixated on flushing the toilet in the public restroom.

Tonight, I saw that same boy overcome his fear of hearing the toilet flush in a public restroom.

Tonight, you saw a boy eating Oreo’s for dinner.

Tonight, I saw a boy who didn’t have to be strapped into a highchair to eat food in public, while Daddy ate an entire meal.

Tonight, you saw a boy babbling incoherently. 

Tonight, I saw a boy who would rarely verbalize anything a few weeks ago tell his Daddy in quick succession “Shut door…Bye-bye, Dada.”

Tonight, you saw a boy waving his hands and flapping.

Tonight, I saw a boy also excitedly return a wave from a friend.

Tonight, you saw a boy running recklessly around church.

Tonight, I saw that same boy waiting for his Daddy to follow him before running around, and coming back to get him if he did not follow.

Tonight, you saw a boy laying down in the middle of a crowded hallway.

Tonight, I saw a boy, so weary from travel and fatigued by the stress of the day cope by shutting down instead of lashing out at others.

Tonight, you saw a boy crying and screaming and hitting his brother.

Tonight, I saw a boy start to finally lose it in the car at 9pm after being at church for nearly 4 hours, exhausted and drained. Tonight I saw that same boy regulate himself after 5 minutes of hyperventilating crying, stop HIMSELF from hitting without needing to be reminded, walk over to the fridge and say “I’m HUNGRY.” I saw a boy who was happy the rest of the night.

Tonight, you saw “autism.”

Tonight, I saw victory.

Jason Reynolds
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Jason Reynolds

Jason is a freelance photographer and graphic designer. He is also a parent of Jonny (8) and Jonah (3) who was diagnosed with Autism in December 2016.
Jason Reynolds
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