Becoming Grandparents

It’s a moment that many people spend their life waiting for.  Of course we were looking forward to it, in the future when the time was right.  It was a bit of a surprise during the middle of last year when we got the phone call – “I’ve got some news, it’s exciting but kind of scary”.  Of course we were immediately delighted and excited even though we hadn’t had it on our radar just yet, while we are reaching a peak during our time serving in Bangladesh.

Our first grandchild.  What a momentous occasion.  When is the due date?  Oh lovely, a month after we return to Dhaka following an almost 3 month home assignment!  Still that wasn’t going to stop the excitement from all of the family.

We were so blessed that we were able to take some annual leave, book some flights and arrive back in Cumbria a week after Rosie Elizabeth made her way into the world.  She didn’t make an easy entrance, leaving us on edge for 3 days (and long nights!) as we awaited the news of her arrival, knowing that contractions had started.  Her poor Mum took quite a battering too, and had to remain in hospital for several days while she recovered, including having a blood transfusion.  She was allowed home late on day 4, and was visited by her midwife on day 5.  At which point both Nikki and Rosie Elizabeth were readmitted to hospital as Rosie’s weight had dropped below the allowable 10%.  After several hours of controlled feeding and top ups, the weight gain was significant enough to again be allowed home the next day.

It was highly frustrating not being able to be there, while the whole time reassuring ourselves that even if we were there, there was very little we could actually do.  So by the time we did arrive, the new little family were beginning to adjust to being home as a three.  We were so thankful to be there to help out, readjusting to a baby is difficult at any time, but after a difficult birth it is a lot harder, not to mention renovating a house to move into at the same time!  Hands on Grandma and Grandad were able to help out is different ways, Grandma in cooking, dealing with washing, nappy changing, baby cuddling and Mummy encouraging while Grandad used his practical skills to move the renovations forwards, even painting the nursery ready for Rosie.

It has been such a special time, bonding with Rosie, Nikki as a new Mum and Mitchell as a new Dad and house renovator!  We had many precious moments with them all, but all too soon it was over.

We are now back in Dhaka and carrying on with our lives and work here, spending many moments wondering how Rosie is doing, has Nikki managed to have any sleep, will the house be ready to move into on Tuesday etc and feeling helpless that we can’t be a part of that.  It has really highlighted the distance between all of us, and not only how hard it is for us being away, but how hard it must be for our children – and how amazing they all are in their support of us.  Would we see them very regularly if we had stayed in Dumfries?  Probably not, they all have their own lives in different places around England and Scotland, and we would be busy working all week.  However it feels as if it would be easier to physically support them in times of need, more than just the emotional support we give them from Dhaka.  We are where we should be, doing what we should be doing, God has told us that.  We tried hard to bring our children up to be independent and strong, and are so grateful that they have turned out like that.  We are also thankful that in many ways us being so far away has made our relationships stronger, as we all make more effort to connect regularly than we would if we were still in Dumfries.  Technology is amazing for this and the regular sharing of messages and photos keeps us all connected together, and when we do go back the cuddles and shared moments are even more precious.

Is it easy knowing that our grandaughter is growing and changing so fast that she will be so different next time we see her?  Of course it isn’t, it is very difficult as we can’t communicate with her in the same way we can with our adult children.  But this is our life now, one day we will return, but now is not the time.  Please pray for us, and all of our grandparent friends in the same situation, as we serve God in distant places with our hearts torn between two lives.  We love our work, we love our family and we love our God.