Spectrum of Love

– There's Zach and Adam.

Just resting.

I love you, boys.

(gentle music) A lot of times, people thinkthings should be a certain way, and the reality is, they aren't.

– People with autism, they can't control all of their emotions all the time, so we're juggling rubber and glass balls.

Let's drop the rubber ones, let's not drop the glass ones.

(laughing) (cheering) – Family is family, and family's important.

It doesn't matter what family is doing, or if somebody in thefamily kinda goes wayward, it doesn't matter.

They're still family.

– I've learned to love them differently than I love Charlie.

I've learned to love Adam differently because he doesn't tellme that he loves me.

But I know that he lovesme because he smiles, or he hugs me, or he touches me.

Zach tells me that he loves me.

All three of them showit to me differently than I would have ever imagined, and Dave and I show our love differently, so there's like fourdifferent forms of love.

And that's great for me; I'll take that.

That's wonderful for me.

– Three! (splashing) (music continues) (somber music) – Everybody wants their kids to be normal.

Not happening here.

(laughing) – Back when I was five, and six, and seven, I was like, “What's going on here?” People back then like, “What? “Your brother's retarded? “What?” Things like that.

– The first was, “Why Adam? “What happened? “What caused this?” That was, I think, thefamily's first reaction, was, “My gosh, how didthis happen to our family?” (crying) Hey, Adam! – [Grandmother] Adamwas the most difficult.

He was hard for her.

– [Dave] What are you guys cooking up? – But I saw a video of himyesterday on the second birthday, and I'd kinda forgotten, andhe played like other kids, but not with other kids.

He just kind of walked aroundand laughed and did things, but he never played with kids.

I remember a birthday party we went to, and he was laying down on the floor.

Everybody else was screamingand carrying on around him, and he just slept.

It was kind of like he wasliving in a different world.

And I think he was.

– [Dave] Wake up Charlieand have Christmas.

Adam! Let's turn that off; it's over.

(paper rustling) Adam, you want to go outside and play? – [Dana] I remember tryingto ask people about Adam, and they would be like, “No, he's fine, he's justa late learner, he's slow, “he's this or that.

” He understands everything that we ask him.

(somber music continues) – Zach, like I say, he loves people, and if he can be aroundpeople and talk to people, (laughing) it doesn't always make sense, but if you know him well enough, you know what he's saying.

(mumbling and laughing) – He's the most uniquehuman in where he remembers everybody's name, he remembers handshakes, he remembers all of myfriends, their girlfriends; he remembers everything! And all he wants to do isjust go through his routine, and just be happy, and everyonce in awhile have a cigar.

And have a beer in the hottub, that's all he wants to do.

– We saw the girls at7-Eleven, me and my mom.

We saw Abby, Michelle, Jessica, Cath, and Kelly; we saw them all.

Me and Charlie smokes the cigars.

Indeed, exactly.

I drink a beer for the hottub, take my medicine at 5:00.

Story of my life.

(Dana laughing) – [Papa] With autistic kids, they need same thingshappen day after day.

They like routine.

– The unknown is really agonizing for 'em.

Knowing that we're gonna go for a ride, knowing that we're gonna go to Taco Tree, knowing that we can go inthe pool and the hot tub, it puts their mind atease so they can live more in the moment, rather than worrying about what's gonna happen next.

It wasn't about, “How canwe change our child?”, it was was about, “This is whoAdam is, and let's make the “most of how Adam is, ratherthan try and shape him “to what we think he can be.

” – You kinda feel a littlelonely in the autism world, I guess.

You don't have a pity partyabout it, but it's like, “How am I gonna do thiswithout being depressed or sad “that I've had to stay home?” – I know that her life hasn't been easy.

I've wished many, many timesfor her life be different.

But it's not; it's the way it is.

I think sometimes it's hardfor her to accept that.

She kind of keeps things inside of her, and tries to act as if “Everything's fine, “everything's normal, everything's okay.

“I'm gonna have all these people over, “and I'm gonna entertain, and I'm gonna cook for them.

” And I know she's gottabe tired and stressed.

But she did that stuff anyway, and I think that helped her.

(music continues) – There were remindersof how easy it could be, and don't make it so hard all the time.

(sniffing) Yeah.

– I mean, yeah, I thinkthroughout life we've all had to step in in differentcases, whether it's Adam having a seizure in thehot tub, Zach had a seizure up there in the living room, Zach had a seizure in the pool, at Papa's house.

I had to push him out ofthe pool so he could have it on the side.

Thank goodness! And then tantrums and things, we've all dealt with it, in trying to calm himdown any way that we can.

It's frustrating, but yeah, we've all had to work together.

– He went through a stagewhere he pinched, or he hits, or he kicks.

You try to cover for him, in a sense, cover for the behavior.

But you don't know why.

Trying to make it better, but you can't.

So it's awkward.

It's just awkward.

Like one day, why would he put his hand through the windshield? I don't know.

– I was worried sometimesthat he might hurt her, but he never did.

He just always was, something about her, and their relationship, was really, really special.

– (sighing) I'm blessed to have him, but he was a lot of work.

(sniffing) So, I don't know anything; I don't know.

– My wife and I have brokendown and cried over times.

He's reached out, we've been in the car, and we've had some physical altercation where something was really bugging him, andhe popped me pretty good, and I can't fake it, and I'mcrying, and he'll reach over and wipe the tear off of me.

I know he's saying he'ssorry, and I know he's saying, “Sorry about that, Dad.

“I couldn't do it, but Ilost control for a second.

“I love you.

” Part of our faith is thatwe act a certain way, and we sacrifice a certainway that when our lives here on Earth are over, wehope that all the good deeds that we've done will carryus into the afterworld.

He gave us his son, Jesus, andhe lived a life of sacrifice, and gave the ultimatesacrifice in his life to forgive our sins.

So the fact that I've gotta give up sleep, take Adam for a ride, maybeendure some physical abuse.

– I'm not a religious person, but I've been pretty good, and it's kind of broughtus, David, and Zach, and I, the three of us go to church.

– I never went to church.

I stayed home with Adam.

So I don't know all that stuff like David knows about church.

I kinda did the SerenityPrayer, “You can't change”.

That's about what I do.

– I don't know.

There's something abouttheir relationship, hers and David's, that madeeverything work out okay.

– When I hear the stories about autism, when we first got it, of how 80% of the people file for bankruptcy, and 80%of the people have divorces because of the magnitude of the situation.

I'm like, that's not theside of the statistic that I wanted myself or my family to be.

– I can't imagine Dave and Itrying to do this divorced.

That would just be a nightmare.

Yeah, I wouldn't be ableto do the kids by myself.

And I don't know that Iwould be able to function.

It would take me a really long time.

I don't want to know what that's like.

(sniffing) – I had a big health scare last June.

This'll be almost a year.

Wasn't feeling good for a couple days, had some shortness of breath.

All of a sudden, I was sweating, and I had been sweating the whole time, and I justhad this really weird feeling, and I go over to look atDana over on the side, and I was out.

– I had nightmares whenDavid had his heart attack.

Because it happened sofast, and I didn't know that it was gonna happen, and for me to lose him, I would not be here right now.

I don't know what Iwould do if I lost him.

And I've never thought that, at 52.

So I had had nightmareslike we were never married, he never loved me, hehad a new girlfriend.

I would just wake up like, “What?” I'd just look over at himand he's laying there, and I'd get mad at him.

(laughing) He's like, “What's wrong with you?” – After seeing people andhearing stories about people losing loved ones that say, “I never really got a chance “to tell them that I loved them.

“I really never got achance to express how much “that person meant to me.

” I just didn't want that tobe part of my life's story.

Love you, big guy.

We're gonna have a good day, Adam? Absolutely.

The fact that Adam can't talk, after all of our development, I think I feel that I'mempowered to say it.

How about on the head? Let me kiss on the head? Give me kiss.

Thanks.

– David's been bruised a fewtimes and he's still just loves his son so much.

I'm not a demonstrative person, and when David startedsaying, “Dad, I love you, ” I felt embarrassed because Inever said that to my kids.

I wish I had've when they werelittle, that I loved them.

I never did that.

Never.

Because my parents neversaid they loved me.

And it's when Davidstarted using the word love that I started using it.

And why he started, that'ssomething you'll have to ask him.

I don't know.

But I like it.

– Yeah, I just remember growingup, seeing different things on TV, or talking to different people, and hearing people say thatthey really regretted the fact that they never really saidthat they loved their mother, their father, their friend, and something tragic happened, and they lost them.

And I didn't want that to everhappen to me or my family.

So I made a habit out oftelling my family members every day in the morning, and every day at night, or my wife when I wouldleave to go to work, that I love them.

– I think David's teaching all of us, his family, this patience and love.

It's spread to his brothers and sister.

– [Charlie] Your family's your family.

You don't get to pickyour parents, your name, or your family.

Good, bad, ugly, we're a family, and we're gonna love each other.

– [Grandmother] I'm so proud of her.

To see this young daughter ofmine grow into this beautiful, beautiful woman.

– When I can get apicture of all five of us, I am so excited.

That's like my favorite thing.

I would love to try to take a picture of all five of us tomorrow.

Yeah.

Mm-hm.

(upbeat music) – [Dave] Go get 'em! (music continues) (music fading).

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