There is set of five framed photos from trips that my brother and I have taken outside of my mom’s bedroom. Between the photos is this quote:

Two of the greatest things we can give our children are roots and wings. -Hodding Carter

It’s a quote that I’ve considered very often in my decision to continue traveling during this period of my life, and I’m (now) confident that my roots are deep, and my wings can expand.

Blah blah blah sentimental sappy.

So I’m going to Mexico. My cousin and his wife, Nathan and Erin McDade, have been there for five years, working with this ministry. They tell me that the hardest thing about being away from home is missing family. I can only imagine. They have carefully constructed a life where they are in Puebla, and they have most definitely created a family with El Pozo, it’s team, and the students they work with.

About six months ago, while I was in France, Erin had a baby. She’s the first grandchild, and the first great grandchild on the Oakley side of my family, and we are extremely happy to have her in the world. I cried when I looked at photos of her and read the description of her birth. I know that the introduction of a new life into the family has made it increasingly hard for them to be away. With each new child, grandparents and aunts and uncles want to witness each milestone and moment. It was difficult to be away from Nathan and Erin during our Christmas celebration this year, and I watch the tears in his mother’s eyes when she talks about Elsa.

Elsa. Elsa Lynne McDade. Of course I’ve loved her from the pictures and stories and Skyping that we’ve done, but I haven’t gotten to hold her, to look ridiculous while I’m cooing and talking baby talk with her, or to smell her baby smell. Which is why I was extremely excited to be invited to nanny for her during this semester.

That’s what I’m doing! I’m going to nanny. In Mexico. It’s a generous offer from Nathan and Erin, who are supporting me financially in ways I never expected, but I know this trip will be beneficial for all of us. I plan to love Elsa with every fiber of what I have while I’m there, and to be the family that Nathan and Erin miss. Also, I’ll try to update this blog daily with a photo of sweet Elsa. I’m terribly excited about being with them for three months, and I can’t wait to finally see how their life in Mexico functions- I’ve been waiting for so long!

View photos of Elsa at Nathan’s blog.