WE’D SPENT THE WEEKEND AT our house upstate, my teenage son, Nick, and me. My wife, Deborah Roberts, is a senior correspondent for ABC News. Nick’s sister Leila is at college, and his oldest sister, Courtney, is grown. Sometimes it’s good for just the two of us guys to get away. That drive up and back is some of the best time we have a one-on-one. You know, when you have your teenager in a car with you, it’s a good chance to connect—if Nick doesn’t spend too much time distracted by his iPad or phone. Focus and conversation can be a problem for my son, more so than most kids, as he is a kid with special needs.
It was a Sunday and we had gotten up early—not my usual 3:45 a.m. wake-up for the Today show but still pretty early. We were driving back to Manhattan and hoped to make it in time for the morning worship service because back home, at St. James Episcopal Church, Nick is a crucial part of the worship team and he takes his responsibilities very seriously.
It’s not something Deborah or I would have expected. To see Nick process down the center aisle at the beginning of the service, carrying the cross, his eyes on the altar, our pastor and the other ministers following behind, the organist pulling out all the stops, the choir and congregation singing their hearts out, the other acolytes following his lead as the principal cross bearer. Nick is focused, dignified, reverent, the brass cross shimmering in th