The year-end holidays were made special because the youngest of our brood, my brother, dropped by from California to surprise the family based here in the Philippines. Personally, I would've loved it if he had spent as much time with his relatives as with his friends, but he had his own plans for his holidays and we didn't figure so much in it. Nevertheless, his presence, during the hours that he did stay with them, lit up the faces of my aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandmas who haven't seen him for two years... their smiles were all so precious.
Lola Estay, unfortunately, has a very short memory span nowadays. She was confused when he arrived, not recognising him at all; when he was saying good bye to her, she refused to believe that he's flying off.
On the other hand, he made Lola Bats extra happy over Christmas; watching him say good bye to her was nothing short of difficult. At first she was light-hearted and smiling, but when the time had come for me to bring him to the airport, she was crying.
My brother's visit is only the beginning. Many relatives will be flying in, and out, in 2011. A lot of tears will be shed this year in my family.
Saying good bye never gets easy.