Yesterday afternoon, we dropped my mum at the airport after a couple of weeks of fun and silliness together. VBS, trips to the pool, visiting Amish country, meals out, playing in the back garden/yard and so much more.
As we drove away, waving from the airport, just as the window closed and mum went out of sight, Abigail piped up 'I miss Nana'. A couple of hours later, on the journey home a little voice called out once again 'I miss my Nana'. It was one of those bittersweet moments of being a missionary. So gorgeous that she feels that way and had lots of fun with Nana but so sad that because of our choice to work overseas our children and parents only get a few weeks concentrated time together each year, rather than the year round regular visits they would have enjoyed, if we lived back in the UK.
I know both sets of parents have to spend the first few days of their visits readjusting to the stage that each girl is at, what they're into, the routines in the family and other things like that which would have been second nature if they saw them more often. It can be a little frustrating for everyone. This visit, my mum commented on how much both girls had changed since she last got to spend time with them. Naomi is no longer a baby and Abigail is now more of a young lady than a little girl.
It highlights to both me and Mark, just how much of the girls childhoods our parents are missing out on and I'm sure to our parents too. It is heartbreaking to know that we are the cause of that but at the same time, we're so lucky that our parents are supportive of what we're doing and are both happy and able to travel to see us and the girls so regularly.
It is definitely one of the sacrifices of the missionary lifestyle. We know many others who have also chosen to move overseas from their home countries for different reasons and are making the same sacrifices. Everyone has their own ways of working it out but it doesn't always make it any easier.