Alek and Zak – The “Bad-To-The-Bone” Older Brothers

Most of my posts are about Erik and Ricky – my 2 sons affected by autism. But in this article I feel it necessary to focus on Alek  (16) and Zak (15) – two of the finest young men you will ever meet. This isn’t about bragging – although it may seem that way to some – this is about gratitude. Gratitude for all the love, the joy, the fun, and the absolute honor they bring to themselves through their actions.

I am grateful for Alek and Zak: Frequently – twice this week alone – I have been approached by people I barely know that took the time to stop me, compliment Alek and Zak, and then go on to explain how impressed they are with their character. When an adult does THAT – without provocation – it means a lot. And you know what? I am impressed as well – I see it too. I watch them everyday go about their business with class, dignity and humility. These two guys are top notch. They are kind, caring, respectful, humble, devout and TOUGH. These boys are the kind of young men that parents want their daughters to marry. (Seriously, I’ve actually been told that by parents of daughters.)

I am grateful for Alek and Zak: These boys have come to us prepared to be patient, understanding, and loving towards their family – and especially towards Erik and Ricky. Erik and Ricky can test your patience and require much attention and Alek and Zak are always there to give it to them. They will spend hours playing – that’s right, PLAYING – I know… they’re teenagers – CRAZY, HUH? – playing with their little brothers. Whether it’s bionicles, or kung-fu panda, or Mega-mind, or fake Rock Band, or soccer (some wacky form of it, obviously) in the backyard, or anything those two little rascals want to do, Alek and Zak let them know they matter. Erik and Ricky absolutely LOVE Alek and Zak – Alek and Zak make Erik and Ricky feel loved.

I am grateful for Alek and Zak: I worry sometimes that because Erik and Ricky require – okay, more than their fair share of attention – that Alek and Zak may do things (I’m talking… maybe not-so-good things) in an attempt to get the attention they desire and deserve. They do not. They get our attention with service, kindness and flat-out-good kid-ness. Obviously, they are not perfect, but they sure try hard, and who can ask for anything more than that?

I am grateful for Alek and Zak: Because we have these special kids we cannot allow just anyone to watch them – to give my wife, Shelly, and I a few hours away. Alek and Zak can control any situations that arise while we are away and are better at taking care of Erik and Ricky that 99.9% of all adults. They are responsible – they can be trusted – and they can handle any situation that arises properly and patiently. I know my wife is especially grateful for this as she is at home with all the kids all the time and REALLY NEEDS a few moments away now and then.

Shelly and I would like to take credit for these boys but realize THEY are the reason they are so exceptional. We are truly grateful – you can only imagine – for Alek and Zak and feel honored to be an integral part of their lives.

Again, this isn’t bragging – this is heartfelt gratitude for my boys. Thank you, Alek and Zak. We love you two SUCKERS more than you can know.

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