A Sweet Reunion.

As many of our readers know, my parents returned to Memphis this past weekend. I thought of writing on how difficult “see you laters” are. If you didn’t already know, they are miserably hard. However, God is helping me cherish the seven weeks we had with my mom (ten days with my dad), rather than focusing on the fact that they are on the other side of the world again. So instead of writing on the goodbye, I want to tell you some of my favorite memories of the last seven weeks.

When my mom landed in Malawi, Josh picked her up and brought her to our house. She and I shared a long overdue hug before she settled into her room. When the girls woke up from their nap she was the first to walk into their room. Since her arrival was a surprise to the girls, none of us knew how they would react. Clara gave us her light up a room smile. Ella Jane, on the other hand, silently laid face down in the bed refusing to look up and kicking her legs. It took us a minute to figure out what her reaction meant, but we soon realized it was complete shock. Her sweet little heart was so overwhelmed with joy and disbelief, that she wouldn’t look at my mom out of fear it was a dream. Ella Jane doesn’t even remember that moment now. She snapped out of it pretty quickly and was so thrilled to show Winnie (my mom’s grandmother name) our home and get right to “work” playing with her.

After that afternoon we had a week and half to show my mom our favorite hangouts in our new city as well as prep for Jack’s arrival. We got right down to nesting. My mom brought all of Jack’s clothes with her, so our mission was to sort and put them away. There were also several honey-do items I had for Josh. In the midst of all the nesting, we were able to visit our most frequent hangouts, as well as attend doctor’s appointments and visits with my doula. My mom also got to meet Ken and Avisha Mpemba, our friends who are the directors of MCM, and Andrea Taylor, the friend we lived with our first two months in Malawi. One of the highlights of those first ten days was when Josh took my mom to Malawi Children’s Mission. Since the kids were in school she didn’t get to interact much with the students, but she got to sit in on a class, see the facilities and learn more about the ministry. We are so thankful she experienced the place God has given us to serve.

For me, my mom and the girls, the following month was all about adjusting to a new baby. Sweet baby Jack is such an incredible blessing and I couldn’t be more thankful that my momma was here to experience him with me. My mom and Josh know me better than anyone in the world, so having her encouragement as I walked through life with a new baby was invaluable. The memories we made will be cherished forever. Many days we were cooped up in the house as the cyclones hit Malawi. During those days, we painted, played playdough, baked, and laughed at the girls’ shenanigans. When we could get out we visited playgrounds where the girls could get their energy out. The girls soaked in every minute with their Winnie just as their daddy and I did. They think she hung the moon and every minute with her made their faces light up. It was such a joy to watch their bond grow even deeper.

The last ten days of my mom’s visit were extra special because my Dad joined our crazy crew. Again, from the moment he stepped on our property every second was cherished by all five Crooms. Doc got to meet his first grandson, which was a precious moment. The girls adore their Doc. Clara loves on him more than she does anyone and they share an extra special bond. I was thrilled to hug my daddy and just be with him. Josh got to spend lots of time with him and is thankful for every moment. Two of the days my Dad was here, he and Josh went to MCM. While there they went on village visits to meet a few families whose homes were destroyed by the flooding. Talking with theses families, seeing how they live and the devastation of the flood impacted both my dad and Josh. They also talked with MCM’s education director, Henock, to figure out how Bellevue’s July mission team could be most effective. Henock gave them some great ideas of how Bellevue can best serve the students and parents of MCM. We are thrilled to partner with Bellevue and MCM to glorify Christ. Please consider coming on this trip! I promise you will never be the same. Plus, we’d love to see you!

As my parents’ time drew to a close, we began trying to explain to the girls that Doc and Winnie have to go back to Memphis. They still don’t understand and ask often where Doc and Winnie are, but they are beginning to grasp it. I know it will be a lengthy and often difficult transition for all of us. Regardless, every single moment of our time with my parents was treasured. I don’t really believe that the old saying “absence makes the heart grow stronger” is true, but absence does make you appreciate every moment together.