Proud papa! Al Roker opened up about raising his 17-year-old son with special needs and the many reasons he and his wife, Deborah Roberts, admire him.
“Nick is a hard worker; he’s got a great sense of humor; he’s outgoing and a good swimmer; he’s developing a pretty good top-of-the-key basketball shot,” the Today anchorman, 64, wrote for Guideposts magazine’s May cover story. “He takes chess lessons a couple times a week, and he does OK. He’s also very affectionate — like his grandfather — and full of love to share.”
While his son is “somewhere on the spectrum and maybe obsessive-compulsive” and the NBC personality gets “frustrated with” Nick sometimes, Roker added: “I remember my dad, how understanding he was. And Deborah reminds me that I have to show my son not only that I love him but that I like him as well. More than that, I admire him.”
When Nick was born in 2002, “we knew right from the beginning that he would be up against a whole different set of challenges,” the Ruthless Tide author recalled. “He wasn’t developing as fast as he should have, not holding our fingers as tightly, not always meeting our gaze, not as quick to crawl. At three, he hardly talked and could barely walk.”
Now the teenager not only has a wide range of hobbies, but loves serving on the worship team at a church and carrying the cross at the start of each service.
“Last year, he went on a mission trip to Haiti with teens from church, helping out at an orphanage, reading to the kids, playing games with them, doing chores,” Roker recalled. “When we picked him up at the airport, the first thing he said in the car was ‘I can’t wait to go back.’”
The meteorologist gushed about how “proud” he is of his son, going on to say, “Nick blossomed, far more than Deborah or I could have ever expected, given his original iffy prognosis. … I can’t begin to take credit for who Nick is and who he might become. All sorts of specialists can tell you about limitations for this and that. Nick never got that message.”
The weather anchor and his wife, 58, also share daughter Leila, 20. Al has another daughter Courtney, who was adopted during a previous marriage.