This collage surely does not depict the mood around our household, as we are preparing for my mother’s departure tomorrow. She’s been here since before Thanksgiving, and we are all, as usual, finding it hard to say goodbye. My mother usually starts feeling sad a week or two before her flight, sneaking in a cry here and there. Otis has also been feeling anxious, asking every morning and night whether Lao Lao will still be here after his “night sleep.” We have been trying to place her departure in the context of other happenings in his life. “After one night sleep, it’s a school day; after two night sleeps, Lao Lao leaves; after four night sleeps, Baba comes home (he’s away on business); after five night sleeps, Wu Yi Lao Lao comes back from Taiwan…” Hopefully this has been somewhat reassuring to him. I hate goodbyes. They are such torture.