One of the sacrifices of committing to life overseas, is being away from family and good friends back at 'home'. When you talk to the grandparents ... the sacrifice goes both ways ... as we have the only two grandchildren on both sides of the family, that we've 'taken' with us! There have also been times when we've missed having the opportunity to send the girls to the grandparents for the day or the weekend so that we can get some things done too.
We've been lucky enough that a lot of our family have been out to visit us, more than once and that with MAF we get to go home every year, whether it be to renew visas or catch up with supporters and churches. Last year when we were in the UK for a few weeks our timetable was pretty hectic, seeing people, saying goodbye and then seeing some more people before saying goodbye again. About halfway though our trip our eldest daughter (then 2) stopped liking the goodbye bit ... and ever since has always avoided goodbyes when possible.
With all the visitors coming and staying with us, each for a few weeks at a time, there are inevitable goodbyes on a regular basis, from people that have invested lots of time into the girls while they've been here. Until recently Abigail didn't seem to put two-and-two together ... that they were going going, not to return to our house with us ... but the last two trips to the airport (just this week to say goodbye to my mum, above) have been a lot more sad for her as now she's nearly 3, she really gets it.
While saying goodbye for myself and my husband isn't always easy either, we can appreciate that it's just until we see them again ... but trying to explain that to 'little people' isn't as straight forward. It's the norm for us now ... so one way or another the girls will get used to it over time. Thankfully with the wonderful invention of Skype ... we can be in touch a lot more in a tangible way for all of us while we live so far apart ... but we do find ourselves wondering from time-to-time if it's in the best interests of us all to be doing what we're doing (even though a split second later we know it is!)
We're back in the UK again in November ... we'll see how the constant goodbye's go this time round ... for all of us!