Song of Mateo
At the height of the ruckus caused by six-year-old Jan-Jan on Willling Willie, my friend Rose sent me a refreshing note on FB, reminding me of my song in Oh, Mateo! Book 11, “Crying Children.” The reminder came at a perfect time.
Music is not my strongest suit, so I wrote the lyrics with some vague, forgettable tune in my head, hoping someone would compose the song for me.
I asked a young friend to do it, but he was busy and was taking a mighty long time. So when I bumped into Rose, who eats notes for breakfast, I dared ask her to please compose it in time for the book launch.
But Rose was busy, too, and so at the book launch, I sang the vague, forgettable tune which was, fortunately, appreciated by my forgiving audience.
Weeks later, when I saw Rose again, she sang my song—from memory! Her melody, a lullaby, was so haunting my eyes pooled.
Meanwhile, my young friend also finished with his melody (more like a nursery rhyme), and so, suddenly, I had two songs! Grace sometimes comes in pairs.
Now, when I sing the song to myself, I inadvertently mix the two melodies—and also put in my own, in places where I forget both.
But I will always remember what Rose told me about the song when she sang it to me that very first time, “I sing it every night before going to bed; it is my prayer for my children.”
Well, the song is entitled, “Prayer for children” and it is a lullaby, sung by the book's hero, eight-year-old Mateo, to the crying children in a Day Care Center.
As the Willing Willie episode on six-year-old Jan-Jan leaves an ugly scar in our hearts, may I ask you to please sing the song with me—you may use your own tune—as our collective prayer for all the innocent little ones out there, pushed and bullied to beg in the streets and on national TV:
I pray for all the children, Lord;
Give them bigger smiles and happier dreams.
Teach them, O God, to always to talk to You,
And enjoy Your blessings all day through.
May they thank you for their mommy,
May they thank you for their daddy.
When children cry, let them look up the sky;
Beyond the clouds, angels are standing by.
Oh, how special children are!
They brighten our lives like a star.
I pray that they will always know,
Our Father in heaven loves them so.
In Jesus' name, amen.
(Illustrations of all Oh, Mateo! books  are by Beth Parrocha-Doctolero.)