Spending time with Matty

Given the demands of a busy work schedule and the pressures of work I generally only have the weekends to spend with my son and I try to plan a day where we can have an active and fun day and spend quality time together because we never get back that precious time. I am always haunted by the Harry Chapin song Cats in the Cradle which is very poignant and sad. I do wish Matthew would have planned activities with kids his age on the weekends also and we have tried to provide him with such opportunities but he either fights going or just complains of boredom and he has no desire to participate in any type of sports programs. Therefore we have to arrange for activities for him and I try to give him flexibility but I still feel it will be necessary to eventually get him involved in organized activities. The main problem with organized activities is that they do come with a heavy price tag and the camp program we send him to in the summertime is very beneficial for him but we have to save for that and it leaves us little money for anything else.

Our school district has not been all that helpful in providing activities for our son for the summertime and Matthew really does enjoy his camp program. After school activities are also difficult because at Summit Lane they were not equipped to accomodate him due to his special needs. When I complete my errands on the weekend I usually take Matthew out for a ride and we go out to lunch and take a walk at the park. On a nice summer day we will spend a couple of hours at the pool and then go see a movie.

One of Matthew’s favorite foods is pizza so sometimes we’ll take a ride out to Mama’s Pizza in Oakdale where he likes to go as he really enjoys the ride and the pizza. Since we have driven such a distance we usually ride to Robert Moses Beach and walk along the shore and if we’re there early enough we go swimming if we planned bringing our bathing suits and towels.

Matthew also likes to ride his bicycle at the park and he can spend a full hour before getting tired. He has a lot of energy and he feels good after a long bike ride. Usually he gets all excited when he sees the ice cream man and always asks me to get him his favorite ice cream snack. I remember as a kid growing up in Brooklyn, NY when the good humor ice cream man, Uncle Lee would stop by and how excited we were to get our favorite ice cream bar. It seems like only yesterday.

I also try to have Matthew invite his cousin Kathryn to join us for the day as they get along very well together and she is like a big sister to him. There will come a time when she will be into her own things but for now she does enjoy spending the day with us and she is a very sweet young lady and they enjoy each others company. We recently went to a concert at Jones Beach where we saw some really cool bands. The main attraction was Blink 182 and the other bands performing were Fallout boy, Panic at the Disco and Chester French. It was a fun night out and we all enjoyed it. Since my wife was working and I had an extra ticket I invited my coworker and friend, Lisa Gode and I introduced her to my son and niece and she had a good time as she is a big Blink 182 fan.

Sometimes we do repetitive things on the weekends but I feel it is important that we spend time together and I allow him to have a day out and try to involve him in things he likes. I still have to work on getting him more involved in group activities so he can make friends and grow and have positive experiences as that was what my childhood was like. I was involved in sports and made friends and this is my hope for my son.

Edward D. Iannielli III
(with help from Matty Iannielli)

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