….Matteo is there.
Matteo is our Italian son. He came over as an exchange student in Aug 2014 and immediately became one of the family. My family fell in love with this wonderful young man and adopted him….as he did with them.
He arrived Thursday, Aug 28th, started school Tuesday, Sept 2nd, Nick’s mom passed away Monday,Sept 15th and Nick’s cancer journey started Monday,Oct 20th. I think it was a bit of a wild ride for him too. Coming to a new country and all this stuff happens with his host family. And he was there to support us every time.
Matteo took it all in stride. He was so concerned about Nick. He went with me to visit him in the hospital several times, caught a ride into town once, worried about him and was wanting to make sure he was doing OK. THAT amazed me. Matteo went to school every day, he did his homework, asked questions, told me things that were happening at school…just kept my mind off what was going on at the hospital when I wasn’t there and couldn’t do anything about it from home anyway. He was our son in every way but blood.
Matteo’s mom, Silvia, text me when he let her know what was going on and asked if Matteo should come home. I told her No please….leave him here; I NEED him. Having Matteo to come home to and care for took my mind off the hospital….even for a little while. It helped me regroup and stay sane. I know that without him with me, I wouldn’t make it.
I took that first week off…..without even putting in for it. I didn’t have a choice in the matter. I had taken Monday off for the first surgery. Tuesday morning, I called my boss and told him I was taking Nick into the ER and I had no idea when I’d be in. I finally came to work that Thursday, was told I looked like hell, and I broke down in the CEO’s office. The CEO had been thru cancer surgery years earlier so he knew what Nick was going thru and his wife knew what I was going thru. (They only charged me 3 days of vacation even tho I took 5 days off.)
I would go in to work for a few hours after 5pm after everyone had left that first week. I did paperwork when no one was around to bother me, got it done and went back to the hospital. I would call Matteo when I was at work and alone to see how he was. He was always like “Stay and do what you have to do. I’m OK.” I felt so guilty leaving him alone but we did spend quality time when I was home.
The second week Nick was in the hospital, I went to work all day and then straight to the hospital after I was done. I would stay till 10pm and drive home then. Matteo was always waiting up for me. I always got hugs. I got school updates. I got garbled phone messages till I told him to just give whomever my cell #.
Every night before he would go up to bed, he’d say “HUG TIME!” and I would always get the nicest hugs from him. He was a great hugger and I really miss those…..I will be forever grateful for him being in my life at one of the worst times….he made it bearable.
Matteo was a very popular young man and even now….a year later…people still ask me how he is. He and I talk a couple times a week and next summer, I’m hoping to go to Italy. Fingers crossed and God willing……
He is an amazing young man who I love to bits and back. He’ll always be my Italian son as I will always be his ” ‘Murican Mom. “