CLEBURNE, Texas — Part of what makes a Christmas gift special is the wait to open it, but few have waited quite like this.
"Five, ten, fifteen, 20 years, they have not seen each other," said Fernando Rodriguez.
Just off South Main Street across from the courthouse, 17 families gathered Monday night waiting for their loved ones.
"My grandma is coming here tonight," said Monse Morales.
It has been 18 years since Morales last saw her grandmother. She cared for her when she was just a baby, before Morales moved to Cleburne with her mom. "I've always called, talked to her on the phone, seen her through video chats," said Morales.
The event was organized through Cleburne's sister cities program with Guanajuato, Mexico. Families raised the money and a sister cities ambassador helped with the logistics to bring the relatives from Mexico for the 30 days.
"Christmas is about giving, it's about loving, it's about sharing," said Rodriguez, a Cleburne business owner who hosted the reunion event in his building downtown. "It's about family, and this is it."
The relatives came straight from DFW airport to Cleburne, where families were counting down the minutes. After a prayer, they rushed to each others' arms.
Morales struggled to find the words as she embraced her grandmother. "Just really happy to have her," said Morales.