It was an early Saturday morning when we arrived at the Anderson’s home. Nestled into the cozy neighborhood of St. Elmo at the bottom of Lookout Mountain, the Anderson’s precious home has been a host to some of our favorite memories. Their home, built in the early 1920’s, has held birthday & graduation parties, baby showers, bachelor and bachelorette shenanigans (pinatas included), long weekend reunions, & so much more. Every time we step into this wonderful home, a flood of memories always comes back to us!
As we walked in the front door, Jackson, Alex & Jessica’s 2 year old, immediately greeted us with a big smile, “Hey JP! Hey Ryland!” Yes, we count ourselves very blessed to be known by this little guy & BEAM when he calls us by name! “Hey Jackson, where is Baby Reed?” He shrugs off our questions & instead points us to the kitchen, “Grapes!” he calls out. Got it – the one track mind of a 2 year old!
As we settle into the morning, we watch Alex & Jessica care for their two sons. They both smile & laugh at Jackson as he shows off his dance moves in the kitchen & gives kisses to Reed, who is just one month old & lays contently in Jess’ arms. Alex makes tea & everyone washes their hands (a new & nearly independent task that Jackson has almost mastered) – but first, we MUST smell the flowers & take time to enjoy the process of making tea together! Jackson makes a show of how good the flowers smell & laughs as Alex steeps the tea. “Everything is a process to be enjoyed around here!” Alex says.
As the Anderson’s settle around their kitchen table to enjoy tea & eat a snack together, Alex holds baby Reed & Jackson eats his grapes. We ask, “So how’s it been for Jackson to adjust to baby Reed?”
“Good!” they replied. “We’ve loved watching Jackson become an older brother. One of the biggest unknowns for us in having a second child was how Jackson was going to respond to him. It has been such a joy to watch Jackson love on his little brother & embrace his role as a big brother! He is sweet, thoughtful, & wants to help as much as he can with Reed. We have been surprised & overjoyed at his interest in his brother so far & we can’t wait to see what their relationship will be like as they grow together!”
As we moved into the living room, we couldn’t help but oooooh & aawwh over sweet baby Reed. He had no problems being in the spotlight as we took a few newborn photos.
Our next stop was Alex & Jess’ bedroom where Jackson quickly showed off his tricks! What’s a Saturday morning without having a few minutes to jump on the bed & play with your new baby brother?
Pretty soon, Jackson was ready to slip away & play on his own with Alex. He took us to his room & showed us his new train table. “Thomas!” he said as he picked up Thomas the Tank Engine. “Show us how you play.” Alex said. “I have been learning that the sweetest moments in life are often the small, simple moments with our kids. When Jackson gets overjoyed about a passing train or wanting to help pull weeds with daddy, we are reminded to slow down & enjoy these little things as they happen. I hope that we will take time to notice those small moments of joy with both our sons in the future.”
As the morning came to a close, we asked Jess what she is learning in this new season. “I have always been a person who thrives with efficiency & a schedule. Becoming a mom has challenged me to throw my scheduled life out the window & go with the flow. Fostering my son’s creativity & imagination means taking an extra hour on a walk to let him excavate rocks, pick dandelions & study lady bugs along the way. By the end of the day, I will have accomplished very few chores, changed our plans for dinner twice & probably will not have taken a shower. But spontaneously adventuring with him has brought such unexpected joy to my formerly planned out life.”