Well, since Diane wasn't there, the subject of conversation naturally turned to her.
Them: Oh, you must miss her!
Me: Yes, terribly
Them: Ahhhhh! ... what do you like most about her?
Me: Oh, that she's sweet and dainty!
Them, puzzled: Yes, quite.
They must not get my sense of humor, because Diane is very sweet, pixie-like, one might say, but dainty? ... no. So, after a polite pause (yes, Diane's cousins are very polite, I already said they're Philippinas, right?), the conversation resumed.
Them: Well, she may be dainty, but she has her own mind ... you wouldn't want to mess with her.
I agreed: Oh, you could mess with her, but only if you wanted to lose.
This assent brought on much laughter and kibitzing (they call it tsizmis), and soon after eating some delicious cake, I excused myself to trade places with Diane to watch over the sickly child.
Me: Elenas, I'll be going home now, and Mama will be coming here; you may stay and play with your cousin Trisha.
EM, playing with her cousin, Trisha, not giving me a backward glance: Okay
I then thanked all 40 hosts and hostesses, and on my way out, I was confronted by little Trish: Why aren't you gone yet?
Well, I guess I don't need to worry about separation anxiety ...