As children we are influenced by our parents and our surroundings and we are very impressionable and have an innocence and we view our parents as special and very important in our life. As adults if we are blessed to marry and have a child we learn immediately upon our child’s birth how much we need to be responsible as our newborn baby is dependent on us in every way just like we were to our parents when we were born. I remember when Matthew was an infant I would take great joy seeing him sleep comfortably in his crib and I would watch how Maria cared for him and I knew our son was so precious and needed us as we needed him. I enjoyed knowing he felt comfortable and was sleeping so peacefully and I loved to see his tiny arm movements and his little yawns and hearing his cries and seeing him calm down as we came to satisfy his needs. Raising an infant is an ongoing learning experience that will challenge us, exhaust us, teach us and most of all will bring us together so we can provide our best and give our child all our love and devotion.
I remember when Matthew was a baby I would love to lay next to him on our bed and play lullaby music and just feel so in tune with him, not having a worry in the world for that brief moment in time as it was just my son and I and it was a truly incredible feeling. Once he had fallen asleep then Maria and I would gently place him in his crib next to our bed and we would settle in for the night. It seems that the time from infancy to toddler is a long time filled with many diaper changes, lots of crying, lots of spitting up, lots of fevers, lots of sleepless nights and lots of times running out to the store for formula and diapers. As I think back to that time I wouldn’t trade it in for anything as that was a wonderful time in our lives as we were learning what it is to be loving and caring parents. In thinking back to that time it seemed to last a while but in retrospect it flew by and is now a distant memory. Our son is now in middle school and he is maturing and growing and becoming a wonderful young boy with such a caring and kind way about him. He is very empathetic and feels it is his duty to come to the aid of a child when he sees them crying and he tries to calm them and comfort them. Matthew has such a youthful innocence about him and despite his autism he seems to enjoy reaching out to others and does display a side of him that is quite impressive as he does interact and conduct himself in a very mature way and is very respectful.
Matthew is 10 years old and he still believes in Santa Claus and gets all excited as he writes out his Christmas list. It is a nice time and it makes the holidays special when your child still believes which speaks for his innocence and his spirit. Our son is such a truly special kid and he just fills our heart with such joy. We just feel so happy to see Matthew grow and mature and have such innocent ways. He is so special to us and makes our role as parents a pleasure.
I like to think back to Matthew’s milestones like when he said his first word, or when he crawled for the first time, or when he said mama and dada for the first time, or when he started walking. These are wonderful times in a child’s life and they are even more wonderful as a parent witnessing it. I remember when Matthew learned to ride a bicycle for the first time and when he went sleigh riding in the snow for the first time down the hill at the park. These are wonderful memories that will last me through my lifetime and I will replay them in my mind as I get older and remember back to the time when our son was so young, innocent and so totally dependent on us.
The joys in raising a child is seeing them come into their own and developing their own distinctive personality. We as parents find it difficult seeing our children grow so fast and we wish we could enjoy the time with our kids when they are young and try to spend as much time with them as we can because you can never get that time back. I always think of that Harry Chapin song, The Cat’s in the Cradle and it makes you realize how important it is to spend time with your son when he is young because he won’t be that age always and we know that our son will be an adult one day with responsibilities. This is why I do not want to rush Matthew’s childhood. I prefer that he maintain that youthful innocence and enjoy his childhood because once you outgrow your childhood you lose that innocence and you are having to take on more and more responsibilities as you grow and take on the challenges of school, peer pressure and growing into young adulthood.
We are enjoying our son and we will always enjoy our son and seeing him grow. Life is so wonderful when you have a child. It gives you the best reason to wake up every day and do all you can for your child.
Edward D. Iannielli III