I was so happy to find a nice costume for my son this year that was original and something he likes. For the past few years he has dressed as Sponge Bob, his favorite tv show character but was getting tired of it so I knew it was time for a change. This year he is dressed as one of the pit crew members of a racing team and he looks great and he loves it! My wife is dressed in her pink Yankee team shirt and pink warm up pants and looks pretty in pink. I love seeing my son enjoy this time and we encourage him to be creative with his ideas of costumes for Halloween. We allow him to decide what he would like to be for the occasion and help him achieve his dream. If he is uncertain than I have to use some imagination or just run over to Wal Mart and find one of those costume sets which are fun and make it easier for the parents.
I enjoy just going out and spending time with Matty walking around the neighborhood and seeing all the neighborhood kids looking so cute in their costumes. The little girls are so cute dressed as princesses, fairies, Dorothy of the wizard of oz and Cinderella. I love to see their smiles and find that this age is such a wonderful time and we enjoy also giving out the candy to all the wonderful boys and girls. Matty also enjoys giving out candy to the kids and is very nice with them and also very generous. The kids are so polite and their parents while looking on with a protective eye always reminds them to say thank you.
Halloween is a great time of the year because it is the start to the holiday season which is always a fun time filled with excitement and family get togethers. I always enjoyed Halloween both as a kid and now as a parent. I love to see my son get excited and seeing his smile makes it all the more fun.
We all enjoy trick or treating and as we get older it is a bit sad when we no longer dress up in our costumes and go through the neighborhood in search of candy and good treats. That is why when we become parents we get to relive that time and I find it more special now with my son and seeing his excitement as we go out to trick or treat. It is a nice part of our youth and provides wonderful memories and special bonding with our children.
As a special night out I am taking my son, niece and mother-in-law to see Michael Jackson’s This is It! I purchased tickets a few weeks ago and when I told my son he was very excited. He has been looking forward to going and he will get to see a truly remarkable performer who truly touched so many people through his talents, his music and his compassion.
Well what can I say of the experience of seeing Michael Jackson in his rehearsal for This is It with my son, niece and mother-in-law. I wish Maria was able to have gone as she missed a truly special performance that served as a tribute. I was very impressed and amazed at the performance and thought Michael was tremendous. I just view him as someone who was so talented and was a true performer for the stage. He had such a love for his music, his fans and for the world we live in. I thought all the dancers and background musicians and production staff just were in awe of Michael and also very professional and tremendous in their own ways. I was touched by the This is It production and thought if it was to be it would have been a truly special swan song concert of shows for Michael and all who worked to put it together. They had such beautiful ideas and concepts and Michael sounded amazing and sang a lot of his old material that sounds just as wonderful now then it did then. I could not help but feel sadness as I watched Michael perform knowing what pain he must have been going through but you could not tell as he was so incredible to watch. I thought he looked tremendous but certainly seemed very thin.
I enjoyed glancing over at my son and seeing him captivated by the show and just caught up in the magic of Michael. In the show Michael sang so many wonderful songs that we remember from years ago and that really touched so many. I enjoyed his performance of Billie Jean and the big budget productions of Thriller, Man in the Mirror, Black or White, Smooth criminal and the song sang in tribute to saving our environment. It was all so breathtaking and it was like having front stage passes at a truly special event.
I was quite impressed with the director, Kenny Ortega’s work on the production and filming and the guitarist Orianthi Panagaris who landed the dream of a lifetime showcasing her talents as lead guitarist working aside Michael Jackson. It was a cinematic success and raised awareness of all the creative input and energies Michael puts into his work and how he works with so many to accomplish his vision and do it so wonderfully. In the opening you can see the excitement and eagerness expressed by the dancers selected to work on the major production and how Michael influenced them and inspired them. I really can not say enough of how I really enjoyed this and as we watched it unfold we just felt so happy and got to experience what Michael meant to us and realized how his music and performances were truly a gift that we were privileged to experience. I certainly was happy to experience it with my son who has become a big Michael Jackson fan and says to me in his own way that Michael really is special because he cares and shows it through his music and his vision and those who are lucky enough to see that will get it and realize how much we miss him but we are fortunate to play his music anytime and listen to someone who really enjoyed what he did and truly loved all his fans and wanted to reach so many with his message of hope. Michael Jackson is and will always continue to be someone I admired and thought was so very talented as a member of his family band the Jackson 5 and as a solo artist who was an inspiration and had a wonderful message of hope.
As we watched the entire show we were touched by Michael and realized how loved he was and how much he set the bar as an artist and how humble and truly caring a person he was and how much an inspiration he was to all the musicians and dancers of the world who all seemed to be touched by the artist and the man that is Michael Jackson!
The mind is powerful and it is the basis for how we perceive everything and it is what enables us to think, act, make decisions and survive. There is so much mystery, uncertainty and repetition in our lives and sometimes we live on the edge and other times we play it safe. It is the mind that directs us in everything we do. The human mind is as complex as it is wondrous and to tap into its potential is virtually limitless and enables us to do great things in our lives to truly make a difference. I believe if we tapped into our mind’s full potential we would do some amazing things but the reality is we only tap into a very small percentage of our mind’s capability and by doing that we still accomplish notable things in life which is incredible.
To me it seems that there are so many ideas, thoughts, visions, dreams and challenges that enter our mind on a continuous basis and it all has to be disseminated and filtered so we can make choices based on many factors that affect not only our mind but also affect our senses and how we feel which affects our emotion. To try to understand it all would take many years of intense studying and a tremendous amount of dedication. It is just part of the gifts we are born with that allows us to tap into our mind’s potential. Some decisions that we make are on impulse and require very little thought. Some decisions are based on threat and we act instantly for self preservation with our reaction to the stimulus.
In understanding how we react to things it is our ability to filter out all the stimuli affecting us and how we perceive it which then elicits our response once we have processed it all. This literally happens instantaneously between the stimulus and the reaction. The mind of an autistic child is harder to understand because it seems that autistic children have a much more difficult time filtering out all the stimuli and they can be overwhelmed by it all and decide they can only do one thing and that is to shut down emotionally and that is when they go into protective mode and put up their guards and experience meltdowns and have all sorts of difficulties relating to their situation. It is a very stressful time for them and it can take quite a while to get them to calm down and back to where they were before they were set off. It really can be an alarming experience for the people around the individual going through an autistic fit, tantrum or episode. Usually it requires a great deal of patience, caring and understanding to help an autistic child get through these difficult moments. For an autistic child it seems they can not make sense of the experiences they are going through and they then react in an unstructured and alarming way which has to be addressed by psychological evaluation and most likely medical intervention.
The best thing you can do for your child if they are having a difficult time is to talk to them as calmly as you can which may not be so easy given the circumstances. The worst thing to do is to succumb to frustration and scream at your child because this will only worsen the situation and make your child more likely to intensify their undesired response. It can be very frustrating in dealing with melt downs and tantrums but if you have experienced a number of them you will eventually learn how to react to your child’s needs and hopefully get them calmed down and relaxed in a reasonable time. Another strategy to hopefully alleviate the potential of a meltdown is to have your child allowed to bring something with them that provides comfort to them or promotes enjoyment. Our son likes to listen to music so it would be a good idea to have him bring his ipod to listen to his favorite songs and hopefully this will provide him with the comfort he needs to prevent such an episode from happening.
The workings of the mind truly makes interesting reading and understanding how we store and process information and how we react to situations is all part of our mind working and triggering our responses. We certainly can see how truly powerful our mind is and it all seems so amazing the tremendous influences our mind has on our daily lives that it takes a considerable effort in trying to make sense of it all as it seems so complex and so simple all at the same time.
I believe I am now considered middle age and I am approaching the half century mark which seems to be hard to grasp as I still feel youthful and have the same feelings I had as a young kid. I would always wonder as a kid what it was like being my parents age and now I know. It is special knowing as I get older that I have a son who will follow the tradition of carrying our family name as my grandfather did, as my dad did and as I did. I do not have all the answers about the meaning of life but I know that we are here by God’s will and we have been given an opportunity to do all we can and we are responsible for our happiness and well being once we come of age and no longer rely on our parents. In living life we do seek to establish fulfilling and meaningful relationships and we all seek to be acknowledged, to be respected and most of all to be loved. For when we feel loved we feel there is nothing we can not do. We are empowered and we try to impress. I remember as a young boy how I enjoyed being in the presence of girls as I always felt girls were special and they looked so beautiful and they dressed so pretty. I remember having crushes on some of the girls I went to school with as early as kindergarten. I just felt happy when I could talk with a girl and felt they were more sincere and more sensitive to feelings and I liked that.
As I continued on in school I felt I was shy and focused on my studies and still had a deep appreciation for the girls but felt it was harder to talk with them as they matured and grew and seemingly became more beautiful. I felt I became more shy around them and when a girl would talk with me it made my day. As a kid growing up I had my insecurities but I seemed to be able to make friends and participate in sports and develop confidence and learn things about myself and how to interact with others and enjoy life as a child growing up. Sure I went through the changes kids go through when they develop and mature and I went through all the emotions that boys go through when they start appreciating the girls and want to establish relationships. It all seems so complicated but if you just let things happen naturally you won’t feel as overwhelmed.
As a parent I know that we have a tremendous responsibility in helping our children develop good habits and learning confidence and self respect. We always reinforce good behavior and building self esteem with our son and we have learned that having patience and understanding is essential. We are learning all the time and we have experienced a lot of ups and downs along the way but the love we hold for our son is so strong and so genuine that we are able to ride those ups and downs with the expectations that we will see better days ahead for our son and will enjoy seeing the progress he makes as he matures and grows. We learn the values we teach our children from our parents and we try to instill in them the importance of learning to listen and to show respect and to always strive to do their best as that makes life more meaningful and opens up so many more opportunities.
The one thing we most certainly learn in life is that we will encounter disappointments and failures and we must learn how to benefit from those painful experiences for we must understand that not everything will go our way. The sooner we learn this the better off we will be. It will help us learn to strive to do our best in life and to learn from those early disappointments. As we learn from our failures we gain insight and we can eventually build those failures into successes and this is what builds character and teaches us valuable life lessons that help us and gives us our appreciation of our hard work and effort that enables us to succeed.
For when we succeed we learn to appreciate life and we get to share our successes with the ones we love and this is what gives us joy and makes our lives more meaningful and truly worthwhile. In life we are always seeking to be the best we can at whatever we do and we try to apply this to all aspects of our lives so we can live an independent life and also share our life and our success with those special to us.
I always talk to my son about being positive and never giving up and to have faith in his abilities and courage in his convictions and to always do his best. I try to talk to him in simple terms but introduce mature concepts and also have him interact and understand. He is very bright and has a wonderful way about him and a deep love for life and we are so blessed to have him in our lives and we are able to appreciate our lives more because of our son.
Today is a special day as it commemorates my father’s birthday. He was born October 27th, 1935 and he was the 2nd oldest of seven children. He was a great son, a great brother, a great husband, a great father, a great iron worker, a great friend, a wonderful grandfather to all his grand children and a great man! He was so special to all he met in his life and he was truly courageous and had a life full of wonderful moments and sad moments. He weathered well throughout his life and he always maintained a happy disposition and always gave his best effort in everything he did. I have so many happy memories of my dad through the years and I always looked up to him and was always so proud of him and I admired his courage, his strength, his dedication and most of all his loyalty and his sense of responsibility and his sense of family values. Dad was a quiet and humble man who always was there for mom and my 2 sisters and I. He made us feel protected and safe and he and mom instilled in us great values that we hold on to today and throughout our lives.
I did a lot of reflecting today about life and what it is like without my dad and I felt very sad and just tried to think of how special dad was and how he was always there for us with mom when we were young and how he was there for us when mom passed and how he was always there for our children. He was very special and he always thought of us and our children and would do anything he could to help us all out. He really made a big difference in all our lives and the void we feel now without him is a very noticeable and a very painful one. We know that we have to move on as that is the natural progression of life but when you lose someone so important in your life it never is easy and no matter how much time passes the pain of missing them is always there as I still feel that pain for my mom who is gone now almost 20 years.
In my Dad’s honor I will lead a life of honesty, strength, dedication, and I will provide my wife and son the love and hope I learned from both my mom and dad since I was a little boy growing up. I will try to be the very best I can and I will be true to myself, my family, my friends and my employer and career. I learned a lot from my mom and dad and have used everything they taught me in my life and feel it is what they taught me that helps me to be a kind, caring and compassionate person. I have exhibited patience with my son and his struggles and am fortunate to have Maria and Matthew in my life and was so glad Dad got to meet both Maria and Matthew. Life is ever changing and we try to always hold on to the precious memories that make us happy and feel good. When I think of my Dad and all he meant to me I can’t help but smile and realize I was truly very lucky to have such loving and caring parents who raised us and taught us well.
I had to explain to my son who asked me to buy a cake for Pop’s birthday that I did not feel it was how we should celebrate his life. I told him we usually have a cake to share with the person who’s birthday it is who can be with us. It was very difficult for Matthew to understand and he ran upstairs crying and told me I’m not being respectful to my dad. I felt bad as Matthew still believes Pop is here and I do not know how to explain to him that he is not with us anymore. Life’s lessons sometimes seem so sad and difficult to explain to children and I really feel for my son knowing that he blocks things like this out and can not accept it. His reaction also brought a tear to my eye making me realize that my dad is really gone and all I know is that my dad was wonderful to mom and to us and our families and he always gave his all in everything and that is what I will remember mostly about my dad today and every year we celebrate his birthday. I will try to help Matthew through these difficult realities as best I can and only hope that as time passes it becomes a little easier.
To me dad will always be here with us as we see all he had done to help us. When I walk into our house I can’t help but think of my dad as he was responsible for helping me in buying the house. When I drive my car, again my dad was responsible. So all the things I have is mainly because of my dad. He even helped me with our wedding and with my education. Dad was very instrumental in my success and I will never forget this.
Thank you Dad! I know you are in a better place and are happy being reunited with Mom and I wish to tell you that I love and miss you both and wanted to wish you a very happy birthday.
Edward D. Iannielli III Maria J. Iannielli Matthew Edward Iannielli
Photographs are special and they are our family treasures that become more meaningful to us as the years go by. I was all excited when I saw my son’s recent middle school portrait photographs and was amazed how much he has grown. As I admire his photographs I realize he’s not the little baby boy I used to bounce on my knee when he would scream in such pain because of his colic. He is growing and it seems the 10 years has passed by in the blink of an eye.
My wife left the school photographs by my computer desk where I write and it was a pleasant surprise. My wife and son were already asleep for the night. As I studied my son’s photographs I could not help but notice how handsome he looks in his button down white shirt and colorful tie in red, dark blue and light blue. He has such a wonderful smile and a very neat haircut and he looks so boyish and happy. I just wish he would make progress in his new school which seems to be increasingly difficult for him as he hates going to bed before 9:00 pm and waking up at 6:00 am. I hope he can find himself and start to feel comfortable in school and start to appreciate the learning process and get used to the schedule he needs to be on for middle school.
I remember when I was in school I learned quickly how I should behave and I knew I had to be responsible and mature and not act inappropriately. With Matthew it seems he just has such a difficult time making the connection and realizing how important it is to listen and behave. It seems he has both good days and bad days and we are concerned for him. I wish the smile on his face was indicative of how he feels at school but it does not seem that way and I am concerned about it since he will be 11 years old in December and at that age he should know what is expected of him.
I know Matthew has a different way of looking at things and he sometimes has difficulty in communicating and expressing himself but he has to learn that as he gets older his judgement and reasoning has to mature and he has to learn to behave and get along with the teachers and his classmates. I try to explain this to him and it seems he understand but when I read his teacher reports I get frustrated sometimes because he still is not able to fully integrate and he still has difficulty with his behaviors. I can not just let this continue but I sometimes don’t know what I should do differently. I am trying to discipline my son and talk to him about his difficulties and I explain to him how he should behave and what school was like for me. I do admit it does seem hard to talk and reason with an autistic child because sometimes they seem to have a mind of their own and Matthew definitely falls into this pattern of being extremely difficult to control and contain when he is set off by something.
At times I feel I need to just detach myself from everything and just go into my own little place to escape so I can eventually help him. I need to know that I am doing ok before I can help my son. I also find going to church and praying to be helpful and know that being spiritual and having faith is so important to have in your life.
As I look at my son’s precious pictures and knowing his difficulties as an autistic child I know how important it is to listen and comfort him and explain to him what is expected of him in school and as he grows and matures. I try to relate my childhood and my experiences to him and I also let him talk his feelings and explain what he is experiencing in school. I know I can’t be with Matthew at school but I want him to know that I am always thinking of him and I am counting on him to have good days and to focus on his school work and listen to his teachers. I know he understands and in my heart I know he will manage and will be ok. I have faith and confidence in him and I want him to be happy like the little young lad he is in the photograph with the precious smile. My little buddy is growing up and Maria and I are always in his corner and will always be there to get him through the tough times because we love him.
To experience and feel emotion and pain is what makes us human and shapes us. We are affected by so much in life that it is natural to have a wide range of emotion and to feel and express what we see and experience. As a child growing up I have learned from an early age that we are gradually taught by our parents, our teachers and all who come into our life. We are learning to be responsible, to mature and to deal with our feelings and emotions so we can grow up to learn to take care of ourselves when it is our time to leave the care of our parents and learn to care for ourselves. It is a learning process and it takes many years and a great deal of schooling. I feel we are affected by our surroundings, our experiences, our family life, our schooling and our friendships. Our way of dealing with living and making decisions is based on how we view ourselves and what we are trying to accomplish. I always felt that I had an inner strength that made me able to handle life’s circumstances and challenges and gave me insight. My upbringing and what I learned from my family and all my experiences helped to make me have a caring way and to have feelings and to feel sensitive to my needs and the needs of others. I had learned early on that I should always respect others and to treat them the same way I would like to be treated. This is nothing special as we all wish to be treated nice and with respect.
It is very important to learn responsibility, respect, compassion, caring, understanding, commitment, empathy, pleasure, pain, human suffering, dedication, confidence, intuitiveness, trustworthiness and a will to succeed and never give up. These are all great attributes to have and are very common with someone who displays traits of sensitivity. I feel that I have lived my life to consider not only my needs but the needs of others as well and I never wanted to ever hurt anyone as I feel we are all touched by our actions and our words. I try to always think before I act and to always maintain calmness and a diplomatic approach to dealing with situations. We want to make good and lasting impressions in our life and it is better to reach out, help and extend friendship and offer positive reinforcement as opposed to negative because we should always be positive in our lives and have a good disposition.
I am a firm believer that if we live a life with good morals, integrity, religious belief and a positive outlook we will find that it will take us further and will enable us to make lasting friendships and earn us respect. I have grown to realize that having a sensitive side is a good trait to have and is not something we have to change. Sure it is important to have a tough exterior sometimes and to be able to let things bounce off us but to have a sense of caring and reaching out to others is much more important and is a character trait that people like and appreciate.
In writing this I was touched by the photographs I incorporated into this piece and wanted to write a little about what I thought of them in the context of my writing. When I saw the soldier protecting the little girl in the middle of all the confusion of war and seeing him comforting her and sitting and positioning her in a way where he is shielding her from harm and protecting her is such a touching moment and I can not help but feel for them both and think for that moment in time they are connected to each and the bond that soldier has for that child is so strong and so full of love and concern it just warms my heart and makes me realize that there is human compassion in a war zone and you hope that the child will be able to live a full and rich life and the soldier and the girl will have a friendship that develops through the years. I was also touched by the girl clenching a heart shaped ornament and holding it out in front of her and felt that was a wonderful picture to include. I also thought the picture of the boy in a thinking position side by side with the dog is a cute picture that illustrates the bond that a child has with a dog. All the pictures resonated with me and I felt they were perfect for this writing.
Having a son with special needs I have grown to learn his ways and what helps him and sometimes I may find I am still learning and trying to separate my feelings and distance myself from the difficult moments so I can teach discipline and how to speak in an authoritative way so my son can understand. I also do inject my sensitivity to his needs by also trying to understand what he is going through to cause him to react out and by trying to have empathy for him. I find I can be a truly better parent to him by understanding and helping him through the difficult times. I also find my son to have the same qualities I have learned and he is special in how he reaches out to help and I am quite impressed with this part of his personality and find this is a mature aspect of his development and we as parents, my wife and I are pleased. We want Matthew to develop a tough exterior also because he does tend to reflect his feelings and emotions at times and easily cries and I don’t like to see him get easily hurt.
He will learn from us, his teachers, his friends and all who come into his life and he will develop as a person and I believe he will have similar traits that I have and it will benefit him because he is a kind and caring child with a heart of gold and I am a very proud father and am always sensitive to his needs and will provide him my love and support along with Maria’s and also teach him to have a sense of purpose in his life and a positive attitude. He is a wonderful child and he has so much potential and he truly cares and has a side to him that warms our heart and makes us feel proud to be his parents.
Edward D. Iannielli III
Hi, my name is Emily and I am a male to female trangender with an autistic son and am married