He’s back. The Bates family Instagram shared the good news that their son Lawson Bates has finally returned from a trip he embarked on starting in November, and they’re clearly thrilled to have the young musician home.

“My heart!!!!” the caption, presumably written by Lawson’s mom, and Bringing Up Bates star, Kelly Jo Bates, began. “Tears of joy and gratitude! I’m overwhelmingly grateful for the many prayers and the support so many have given during Lawson’s time in the Philippines!!! When he first left on November 19, we all thought he’d be gone a week, but that time has turned into the longest three months ever!” Poor mama.

'Bringing Up Bates' Star Lawson Bates Returns Home to His Family After a Long Trip inline 1
Courtesy of Bates Family/Instagram

Lawson, 27, left in November to help share the story of a little girl named Esther who was born with a heart defect, according to his own Instagram. “We know he was making a wise and loving choice to stay and help advocate for @estherfaithbateo and we are so thankful she is recovering from her successful procedure,” the post about Lawson being home added. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t miss him while he was away.

The update noted that the reality star “is always the center of our parties and he never misses a big event,” but that due to his trip, he’s missed the births of three nieces, as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas. The Bates family also celebrates “I Love You Day” for Valentine’s Day, and the UPtv star missed that celebration, too. “It just hasn’t been the same without him!!!” the post continued.

Indeed, three Bates grandkids have been born since November. Zach and Whitney Bates welcomed baby Khloé in early November, Erin and Chad Paine had their little girl, Holland, and Carlin and Evan Stewart became parents when their daughter, Layla Rae, was born on January 31. (Carlin’s best friend, Joy-Anna Duggar, only recently met her bestie’s little girl herself.)

Lawson has definitely kept busy during his trip, posting regular updates about Esther and making people aware of her fragile medical situation. And all along, his family dearly missed him.

“We are so proud of you, Lawson!” the Bates matriarch wrote. “Your tender heart is an inspiration.”

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