Things I'd like to do before I go

Father and son

Father-son talks

I remember as a young boy listening to my dad talk about his life and all that he experienced through the years. I always enjoyed the stories he would tell me of his youth and how he always loved to read about adventures and live them out in his dreams. One book that seemed to have a profound affect on him was Rudyard Kipling's Captain's Courageous. He developed a love of schooners and an interest in learning more about life on the high seas after reading the book. The story is one that has been read for many generations and my dad passed the book down to me as his gift to help me understand about life, confronting challenges and growing up.

My dad knew one day he would live out his dream of experiencing life at sea and he realized this when he eventually served in the navy as a young man of 17 years old. It was a childhood desire to serve his country having grown up during wartime.

Another childhood memory he spoke to me about was when he and his family gathered by the radio to listen to broadcasts of breaking news reports of our country at War during WWII. He remembered vividly hearing of the attack of Pearl Harbor by the Japanese when he was 6 years old and the infamous broadcasts by our president Franklin Delano Roosevelt. This was a major influence in his decision to serve in the military.

As my dad related these stories to me he also was very hopeful in his life that he would accomplish all the things he wished to from the time he envisioned them as a child. He was very proud of his mother and father and how they dealt with adversity during difficult times raising seven children. My dad was the second oldest growing up with 3 brothers and 3 sisters in a tight knit family in Brooklyn New York. He went to a parochial school and he said the nuns were tough and always seemed to enjoy inflicting fear in the children attending school. He said he was singled out several times by the nuns and he did not enjoy those days of his life. Interestingly enough my mother related similar stories of her experiences attending parochial school and the disciplinary actions the nuns enforced on the students.

My dad was a very hard working man who put his family first and he placed great importance on his job and providing for his family. He was a quiet and humble man who took great pride in what he did and when he wished to share his experiences or provide reassurance he would open up and talk about those things important to him. He would always take a sincere interest in how I felt and what was going on in my life. He may not always have talked openly but he was always there if I needed to talk. I too had a difficult time sharing and opening up and I kept a lot of things inside. I guess that is a common attribute of shyness.

I learned from my dad how important it was to have hopes and dreams and to list them out and never lose sight of them. He would always tell me that life was a chance for us to do something good and to never give up. We had a special gift from God and we did not want to waste that opportunity. My mother also reinforced my beliefs that I could do anything I wished to in life and that I should never be deterred.

We all guage our success by the goals we set and what we eventually accomplish. It seems that goal setting is what keeps us going and makes us realize that life is centered around what we learn and how we progress. We must have insight into what we wish to do in life and then we must work out a plan on how to achieve those plans and goals. Life is all the more interesting when we set goals and achieve them one by one.

I believe throughout our life we will have plans to achieve as many goals, hopes and dreams we envisioned and will have to reassess and re-prioritize some of them as we start to realize our capabilities. Life is about learning and developing and trying to bring out our very best so we can experience confidence and a feeling and sense of accomplishment.

I often wondered and hoped that when I were to see my life flash before my very eyes that I would have experienced most if not all the things I had wished and hoped for. We have one life to live and we certainly want to make the most of it. It seems as we are living life we do get bogged down with the mundane aspects that surround each of us as we try to break free to achieve greatness. We want a chance to truly shine and accomplish what we set out to.

If I were to present in a list the things I would love to do before my time is up the one thing that would be immediate and is certainly the most important thing to me is the bond I have with my wife and son. I would certainly wish to have the love of family and the most important role of my life would be that of fatherhood. To me life is centered around our family and we derive love, strength and respect from the bond we forge with our spouse and child.

I certainly would wish to have achieved success in my chosen career path. I would wish to always have the love I feel for my wife and son to always resonate in my heart and the images of them always be fresh in my mind. I would always wish to say and hear the words, "I love you". I would want to have peace of mind that my wife and son would be protected financially through my forethought in planning for their welfare. Certainly I want to be here with my wife to see our son graduate high school and go on to college. I would also want to have meaningful father-son talks and be very close to my son as he grows into adulthood. I would love to experience with my wife seeing our son's first date and his first girl friend. I would love to be present with my wife at our son's college graduation. I would love to see my son land his first job as a college graduate. I would love to experience financial freedom and set aside enough money for retirement and for our son's needs. I would love to have made a positive difference in my son's life and to see him achieve his own personal success. I would love to see my son dance with his mother on the day he weds a beautiful bride. I would love to see my wife cradle our son's and his future bride's baby.

Some things I would love to do before all of the real important stuff is to take my wife, son and mother-in-law on a Disney World vacation. I would love to travel to Europe and Asia with my family. I would love to drive cross country to California. I would love to write a book about life and love. I would love to raise awareness for special charities and to help lend a voice to hopefully make a positive difference. I would love to know that when it is my time that I would have truly made a difference and that my love for my family would never fade.

I would love to know that I lived my life and fulfilled all my hopes and dreams and lived with God in my life and by my side and that I did make a positive difference in my son's life as Ed and as Emily. I only wish that those who identify differently should not be treated any less of a person and is afforded all the same rights and privileges that everyone else is. We all should respect and embrace one another and accept those who struggle or are different. To me there is no such thing as normal or perfect but there should be tolerance, acceptance and unity.

I wish to have no regrets and to know only love of family and friends and that I made a positive difference in the lives of others. I wish to see my son live in a peaceful world filled with opportunity and his children live and prosper as well. I wish to know that I will stand by my wife's side and that our son will have a happy and fulfilling life and achieve all that he sets out to in his life and that it truly is a wonderful life.

Edward D. Iannielli III

Cats in the cradle - Harry Chapin

Hopes and Dreams - George Skaroulis

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