About Mateo, I say “He wakes up happy.” He’s always been that way, ever since we first met him as a baby in Guatemala City. If we each have an essence, Mateo’s is “joy.” He radiates positive energy and goodwill and exuberance. My friend Julia recently called him “merry.” The label fits. 

Why is that? What makes a person who he is? So far, I know very little about Mateo’s biological family. Does he inherit his temperament from his other mother? Is his biological father a humorous man? Does Mateo’s approach to life have anything to do with my behavior, or the influence of my husband and daughter? What makes Mateo, Mateo?

In a little while, I’ll go over to my son’s bottom bunk and whisper that it’s time to get up. He’ll stir and sigh, pull the covers over his head. “Five more minutes,” he’ll say. And five minutes later, he’ll get up, groggy but already thinking positive. “Is today show-and-tell? Is tomorrow the weekend?” 

“Show-and-tell is Monday,” I’ll say. “Tomorrow starts the weekend.” 

“Can we have pancakes?” He’ll clasp his hands together to show me he’s pleading. 

“We can.”

 He’ll jump out of bed and run around in a circle. “Pancakes! Pancakes!”

 And I’ll say, as I always do, “Mateo, may you always be this happy.”


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3 Responses to “Joy”

  1. yep. that’s the Mateo that I know!

  2. Sveta says:

    Yes, it is Mateo indeed!!! Jessica, what a sweet, touching and thoughtful piece. I love it, and it makes me want to go find Mateo and hug him – right now! I can’t speak about the unknown to me factors that might have contributed to his personality, but I do know for sure that you, and your whole family, is definitely integral in keeping Mateo so joyful, merry and happy. Miss you all!

  3. Jessica says:

    Thanks so much, to both of you! I feel so lucky to be Mateo’s mother.

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