My earliest recollection of my childhood was the times my mom would sing songs to me at bedtime and this made me feel very special and loved. I also had fond memories of having baseball catches with my dad and this was our form of bonding as my dad was a quiet and unassuming man who had little to say so we communicated through these special moments. I also had special times with my sisters and when we got past the arguing we had special bonding times that only brother and sisters can have. I also remember being given special attention with my schooling as my kindergarten teacher took an interest in my reading and math skills and worked with my mom to help me get through the difficulties I experienced in school. They had a lot of patience and made me feel special in that they gave me the time I needed to learn and develop.
As a first grader experiencing a full day of school I took a while to adjust but once I started making friendships I started to enjoy school and learning. I remember noticing on occasion how I enjoyed the attention from the girls. It felt nice to talk to them and get noticed and be treated nicely as girls were always cuter, sweeter and nicer and more into talking and expressing their feelings. I made friends and enjoyed the bonding and finding things to talk about. I know how important it is to feel like you are accepted and fit in with your classmates.
I met many nice people in my life and if I had to get up in front of an audience to accept an award for making a difference I would have so many people to thank for their friendships, kindness and influences. The most important people in our lives who we get to know most are our parents and our siblings and we are very fortunate to learn from them and grow up and experience life together with them.
In meeting my wife I was very fortunate I sought out a psychologist because if it wasn’t for the psychologist, Michelle I would not have been lucky enough to meet Maria. When we finally did meet at Michelle’s suggestion I was delighted and was deeply touched by our first dating experience. We felt compatible together and looked forward to doing things together. I certainly am touched by both Michelle who introduced us and Maria for being there for me and for giving birth to our precious son, Matthew.
The one life that has touched me the most is that of our son Matthew as we are so privileged and lucky to have him in our life. Matthew was born in 1998 and for me that was the best thing ever to happen in our lives. From the moment I saw him first born to when I saw him placed in Maria’s arms for the first time at the hospital to when we first brought him home we have been given a precious gift of life that only new parents can understand the magnitude of and we are so much better off for this wonderful experience of having Matthew in our lives. Matthew makes our lives so much more worthwhile and gives our lives much more meaning and happiness.
We have been touched by Matthew in so many ways and we are also learning to provide him all the love, support and guidance he needs so he can grow, mature and develop in his own ways and find his way in the world and manage through his autism and epilepsy and live a full and happy life. We are so proud of our son and we will do all we can for him because our love for him is so great!
Edward D. Iannielli III