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A reflection on my father and on being a father

Updated on December 8, 2015

Happy Father's Day

Fathers and the love we hold for our children

I have many fond memories of my dad and as I think back to my younger days I realize how he helped me in becoming a better person. I also must acknowledge my mom for she too played a major role in my life. My dad was a hardworking iron worker and very devoted husband and father. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York with 2 sisters who I have much love and respect for. We all have very busy lives but when we talk about our parents we all feel the same way. We all have a connection to them and know we have gained so much from their love and their commitment in raising us.

A father and son bond is a very special one and I always felt loved by my dad even though he could never say it. He spoke it with his actions. He was a very supportive father and encouraged me in every aspect of my life. I will always cherish the times he would drive me to my baseball games. It was just me and my dad and I remember those times as if they were yesterday. I loved playing baseball and my dad knew how much it meant to me so he always made sure he gave me good advice and always reinforced that it was a game and I should have fun and not burden myself with the pressures we sometimes feel in having to prove our-self. He guided me with his wisdom and he was always there cheering me on and celebrating with me when I made a great catch or got a clean base hit. These are the lasting memories that remind us of how truly special it is to have a dad or someone in our life that we can look up to.

During our childhood years it seems like the time will last forever and we will always have our mom and dad with us every step of the way and if we are lucky enough we will up through our young adulthood. In the back of our minds though we will have to face the prospects of having to say goodbye and live our own lives. We will have learned a great deal through the years and if we are so blessed we will live with our parents memories in our hearts always.

My recollections of my dad are what bring comfort and feelings of happiness to my life and I try to follow in his footsteps in being a loving and caring father towards my son. He has provided me a moral compass that I have lived with in my daily life and has taught me to always listen, obey and respect. I have tried to live within the boundaries that we set in being a decent person, showing respect and compassion for others and being responsible in all aspects of our life. I have learned this since I was a child and I have adopted it into my life. My only wish in life though is that I wish I had not felt so painfully shy which has held me back at times and limited me to some degree. My dad taught me to always trust in myself and my mother always taught me to believe in myself and in the miracles of having faith in God, our true inspiration.

Sometimes when life seems hard I wish i could go back to my childhood to a time and a place when I felt safe and protected. Now I am the protector and I have to be strong in my mind and my actions as I have a responsibility to my son. To me fatherhood is the best gift I have ever been given and I owe special thanks to my wife, to our son and to God for making it all possible. I have been blessed and I realize this each and every day. I am not a perfect father but I know in my heart I am trying to be as loving and caring to my son as I possibly can. From the day our son was born and I peeked in on him as the nurse was cleaning his tiny little feet and hands I was a changed man and I knew from that day on I would love my son and nurture and provide for him until my dying day. I was very emotional when I saw him for the very first time and saw him cradled in my wife's arms soon after she gave birth. I cried tears of joy and I was deeply moved by the miracle of birth. It is something you will never forget and you wish those very special feelings will last forever.

The road in life we take is hopefully long and very satisfying. There will be winding and bumpy parts but with love and trust we will manage and get to a grand place. We are special in that we have the capacity to express ourselves and each tell a story. Our story in life will revolve around our children and our loved ones and those who provided and cared for us as we provide and care for ours. It will give us a renewed sense of who we are and why we are here. We have been given a tremendous gift many times over as we were lucky enough to come into the world and lucky enough to experience the beauty and miracle of precious life that will make us appreciate what our life is all about.

As a father I have come to understand what love truly means and what is required of a parent. We all have to have patience and understanding and the ability to deal with all that comes our way. Our child is our precious gift and we must do all we can in raising them to be confident, happy and healthy young adults. I have learned that all children are special and love will always find a way know matter how difficult the challenges that lie ahead. Raising a son with autism has taught me many things and it is constant learning each and every day and I must realize that even at the lowest points we must be strong for our child needs us and they also need to feel loved and heard. Even if they can't speak with their voice we must show them the way so they can express themselves and tell us what is going on in their life. I have realized this when I created my blog "A Father's Love, My Son and Autism". This is what my story is about. It is about my family and our son who is our priority and our main focus and we must provide him our very best as he navigates life with challenges we never had to deal with.

As I try to provide insight, encouragement and help my son in believing in himself I am struck by his innocence and his courage and I truly believe that he will make strides in his life and achieve great things. I love my son and I try to tell him this every day even when he pushes me away.

The funniest thing I remember in growing up is how my father shied away from discussing matters of the heart. He did say however that there was a girl out there for me and I don't know her yet but one day I will and we will both celebrate our lives together. He would always have me talk to my mother about girls and I remember how my mom would be so sweet in hearing me out about the many girls I had crushes on from the first grade on. It was so innocent but to me it was everything. Now as my son becomes a teenager I have to be mindful and respectful and learn to listen as he grows and experiences frustrations, pressures, school placement and matters of the heart involving girls. We all go through this and would think that we would be better at giving advice then actually going through it because we already have. I am very proud to be a father and I think back to the days I sought advice from my dad and I try to instill in my son the same moral values I learned. I remember that childhood poem that my parents had hanging in our kitchen about what a child learns and I have grown to memorize it and learn from it in teaching my son. He is our greatest joy and he is the center of our life which makes everything come into focus.

Thank you for allowing me this precious gift of fatherhood. I will accept this role with love, understanding, patience, joy, compassion, commitment, sincerity, hope, wisdom and heartfelt emotion and with the hope that my wife and I will see our son achieve all he wishes in his life. We look forward to watching him graduate high school, seeing him off to college, living through his experiencing his first loves, his successes, his triumphs, his joys, his heartbreaks and one day seeing him dance with his future bride. This is every parent's hope. May we live to see our son achieve all these wonderful things and spend many happy times together as a family. God Bless you Matthew!

Love, Dad

Edward D. Iannielli III

Harry Chapin - Cat's in the cradle

In the living years - Mike and the Mechanics

A child learns to live


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