My mom recently came to visit me for a little over a week, and suddenly I started to see Germany in color. Even though it was freezing most of the time she was here, the snowfall was gentle and we saw the sun more days than not. We traveled to other cities, saw more Christmas markets than anyone needs to see, and had enough German food to last us all through 2013. There’s something great about traveling with a family member. Any bit of a family team, even if it’s only two members strong, has a shield around them when traveling. A family, unlike me by myself, evokes respect and compassion from strangers. I was proud to travel around with my mom. I’m proud to be her daughter. I even introduced her to the waiter at my favorite Indian eatery joyfully, “This is my mother!” As if I thought that now there appeared a missing puzzle piece for him, a glimpse into the person who I really am. Now that she’s gone, things feel lonely and cold again, and I realize what a wonderful sense of purpose being part of a family provides.