So even though I didn't post any pictures of Walmart, I did go. In fact, one day my Mom took Grace to play minature golf and dropped me off at Walmart, and I walked down every single aisle. If someone from marketing had seen me, they would have wanted to use my awestruck face in a commercial, certainly.
I did, however, take a picture of this:
Because Olive Garden's breadsticks and salad deserve to be immortalized.
It was a wonderful two weeks. Or rather, 12 days. Plus 4 days for traveling. Grace and I soaked up all the hugs and memories and fun that we could possibly squeeze into those 12 days. And that amazing man of mine, who genuinely enjoys being Mr. Mom, took Lily and Josiah to the pool, kept up their routines, declared a Star Wars day, and even re-organized various sections of the house while we were gone. Of course, they did also eat a ridiculous amount of bacon. Thankfully there were no heart attacks as a result.
But it was still hard in a lot of ways. All the happiness with our families just serves as a painful reminder of what we have given up. All the memories we create just seem to prick me in the heart of all the memories we could be having.
And every time we go back, I feel more distant from American life. Every time we go back, it seems to get harder. And this time was especially hard because my daughter gets it now too. We said good-bye to my Mom at the airport, walked through security, and she burst into tears. I pulled her aside and put her head in my lap while she wept. Why do we have to live so far away from them? she said. Why do we live in Tanzania when all the rest of our family lives in America? Why couldn't I give Babu one last hug?
And how can I explain it to a six-year-old? Because Tanzania is where God wants us to be, my Sweetheart. Because we love it there. Because we fix our eyes on things above, on That Day when there will be no more good-byes.
But my words sound hollow, even to myself, because I know my heart is breaking as much as hers is.
This is our last year at HOPAC. Next summer, we will return to the States for a whole year before returning to Tanzania in a different ministry. So Next Year was a big topic of conversation with everyone we talked to. Next Year we'll have time to get together. Next Year we'll be able to go to that place. Next Year I'll be able to do more than just hug you in the church foyer.
And I am simultaneously excited and terrified. Excited for obvious reasons, and terrified because I just don't how much more of this my heart can handle; this living in two worlds.