Turning 50 and doing your best

Birthdays

Turning 50 and acceptance

Birthdays are a celebration of another year anniversary since the wonderful joyous day our parents welcomed us into the world as tiny little babies. When we were young we were all excited on our birthday when our parents made us feel special as they had a party especially for us with family, friends, birthday cake and lots of presents. These are the special moments we enjoy and as we become older we look back upon these days with great fondness and joy. I still have wonderful memories of mom, dad and my sisters sharing our special days together. I find as I get older and reminisce about those days I become a little bit emotional because I miss those days and I especially miss my mom and dad.

As we get older we don't get quite as excited in celebrating our birthday as we did when we were kids. For me it is now more of a quiet reflection upon my life, the wonderful times I have with my family, my friends and the wonderful memories I have of my mom and dad throughout the years. As a father I take great joy in celebrating our son's birthday with my wife now and I can see how that makes us truly happy for birthdays are to be celebrated for our kids. When we see our son smile on his special day and have him share it with his friends and see the excitement on his face when he opens his presents that is what makes us happy. The two best days of the year are Christmas and our birthday.

I have fond memories of the day our son was born and I remember it as if it was yesterday seeing him cradled in his mother's arms and sharing in the joy of his birth with our family and friends. I was 37 when I became a dad and it was the happiest time in my life and I made a promise from that day on that I would always be there for our precious little boy who was now the centerpiece of our lives.     

Today, January 18, 2011 is a milestone in my life as it marks the 50th year anniversary that my mom and dad welcomed me into the world. I have lived through 5 decades and experienced many happy times and am very grateful to them both for all they have given me. They are gone now and only my dad had the chance to see me marry and become a dad as we lost mom way too soon at the tender age of 50. As I turn 50 that does enter my mind and my biggest concern is that our son who is autistic will always be protected and provided for now and as he enters adulthood. My promise is to always stand by his side and be there for him no matter how difficult it becomes given his condition. I sometimes need to have a deep abiding faith when it seems like we are unsure and struggling to help him through his difficulties. Raising an autistic child with behavioral difficulties is one of life's most difficult challenges and every day seems to be filled with frustration, desperation and a hope that all the dreams and good wishes we have for our son will come true and that we will see our son mature and live up to the potential he surely is capable of.  

I am now more reflective in my life then I have ever been and I am also more spiritual as I look to God for answers and to help guide me and lift me up when I am feeling down. I must always look upon life as a precious gift and remember that it is our family that gives us the support and love that we all need and we must always remember that every day especially when we feel a bit down. So as I celebrate my special day today as a 50 year old I will reflect back on my birthday as a 5 year old when my mom and dad sang to me and made me smile and feel very special. I still feel like a kid after all these years and I think about my son and how I wish everything could be so perfect for him but realize that no matter how hard we try to make things perfect they will never be that way. I will still do all I can with the support of my wife to make things as best we can for our son and I will try to take good care of myself so I can see my son achieve his own milestones in his life.

For all of you celebrating 50 I now know what it feels like and I wish you all a very happy birthday with good health and happiness and lots of family and friends to celebrate with. It is a time for reflection and a time for appreciating all that we have in our life and also recognizing all that we have gained through precious memories that will be with us now and forever.

Edward D. Iannielli III

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