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Today, after the longest time, I saw my nieces and nephews.

The moment I stepped into my grandmother’s house, my goddaughter was propped up on her yaya’s lap. I have been dying to see her for so long; for a moment there, when I saw her, I was terrified. I was so scared that she wouldn’t remember me, that she wouldn’t let me hold her, that she would just stare at me without any sort of response. And when I said hi to her after greeting my grandmother and my aunts and uncles, she stared at me for a little, put her hand on my face and gave me a half-smile — almost as if she remembered me. Her eyes seemed to say, “It’s you — you used to sing Mr. Sun to me.” I sang her “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” instead. She laughed, clapped her hands together and started bobbing up and down, her form of dancing. Happiness meter increased.

I normally don’t go to my grandmother’s house anymore; it’s been so long since I’ve been there for lunch. Happily enough, I was talking to my goddaughter’s older brother. He called me a wrestler. I called him a stuffed jalapeno with cheese. He said my face looked like a butt. I said his face looked like a foot with pimples, and it smelled bad. Although to you he seems like a rude little boy (which he most likely is), I enjoyed tossing names at him in the most childish way. The way that nephew of mine laughed at our playful banter helped me feel as if I never left, like all this time I was just at my grandmother’s house fast asleep. Happiness meter increased yet again.

My eldest cousin came with her brother’s children, our family’s little princess and prince. Normally, our little princess is subdued and demure (like any true princess) in comparison to her hyperactive younger brother. I’m glad that she even answered my questions when I talked to her, but what really pulled me out of my stump was her adorable little brother who went up to me and started babbling about Winnie the Pooh, dragged me to watch Rio, laughed and posed for my pictures, sang along to the theme of 20th Century Fox, called me by my name for the first time and locked his fingers around mine when he sat on my lap during mass. Happiness meter full.

They may seem like trivial things, but if there’s anything I treasure and value more than anything in the world, it’s my family. My family brings me up when everything else seems to pull me down. Although my family goes through its fair share of ups and downs, not only internally but externally as well, we manage to pull through strong and happy. When I can’t find myself, they find me. And really, that’s enough to keep me going for the long weeks ahead.