Liam is getting to the point where he recognizes some of our little friends that we play with regularly, and can say their names. That's all very cute, but the cutest thing is that I can tell that as much as he loves his other friends, his best friend is Jules. Second only to his dad (maybe tied for first?) he loves her more than anyone in the world. These are my peeps, and they are the best.
And this is what love looks like coming from an almost two year old:
Or maybe a little bit like this (don't mind our background conversations):
Especially now that my own mom isn't a phone call away, these thoughts on motherhood wouldn't be complete without mentioning all of the love, and nurturing, and mothering I have received from the OTHER women in my life:
My sisters, who I know I can call when I would call my mom but can't. Who answer cooking questions and cleaning questions and kid questions.
My friends from our ward here, that listen and sympathize and make me feel like someone might actually understand the magnitude of my kiddo's craziness and my inability to handle it.
My friends from our ward in Waco, who call or text or comment on my blog with sweet complements and reminders that, though it may feel out of control from my perspective, my life is NOT falling apart, and I have things much more "together" than I think.
My visiting teacher, who has had Liam over to play a million times so that I can have a little time to get things done with only one baby.
My old roommates, who remember me when they get together even though I'm far away and can't be there.
My cross-country friends (some of whom I know in person and some of whom I've never met), whose blog posts make me laugh, smile knowingly, and especially inspire me to be a better woman and disciple of Christ.
Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of my mothers. As the lovely Sheri Dew said (in her talk,"Are We Not All Mothers?") "Few of us will reach our potential without the nurturing of both the mother who bore us and the mothers who bear with us."
Everyone says that they have the best mom ever, and I'm no exception. In high school and college I would see or hear about my friend's moms and it always made me thankful for my own. Not because any of my friends have terrible moms, but because my mom was MINE. She's the perfect mom for me.
My mom is humble and patient and wise. She is loving and forgiving and generous. She makes others feel loved, smart, and important. Living in Waco after I got back from Taiwan was the best because I got to be near my mom and get to know her as an adult. I would hang out with my mom every day if I could. She's one of my best friends.
I have an awesome husband, and it is because he has an awesome mother who taught him about what is most important. More than anything, she cares so deeply about her children and grandchildren. She uses her energy (of which she has TONS) thinking about, praying about, and serving those she loves.
The week after Luke blessed Juliet his mom stayed with the kids and me for some quality grandma time. I'm so glad we got to be with her, so thankful for everything she does for us, and so happy that my children have a grandma who love them so very much. She gives and gives and gives, and we are so blessed to have her.
And my grandmas. Grandma Jackson, who puts so much effort into keeping our big family connected, to love and encourage and share her testimony with all of us. Grandma Pack, who has a generous servant-heart, and who works hard and is loyal and teaches us to be the same way. Luke's Grandma Mott, the matriarch of a family of some of the finest men (and women, but I'm particularly fond on the men) I've ever met. And his Grandma Sampson. I've never met her, but any women with six daughter as strong and astute as Luke's mom her sisters must certainly be just as strong and astute. These are the women that I come from. The women that I aspire to be like.
A couple of weeks ago I received a really kind complement from a women that I recently started visiting teaching. My immediate response to her complement was that it wasn't just me - that I have an awesome mom who taught me and set an example for me to follow. And I meant it. I think Abraham Lincoln said it best: "All that I am or hope to be, I own to my angel mother."
I'm never able to get my thoughts about motherhood together in time to write a post about it on Mother's Day, so I'll be sharing some things this week instead.
So motherhood. It's hard. Not always, and not for everyone, but it sure is for me. Becoming a mother has been such a steep learning curve for me that nothing has ever brought me to my knees (literally and figuratively) as often and as consistently. My weaknesses are constantly on display. I hit the wall of my limitations daily. At every turn I am offered reminders of my fallen state. It's often a deeply humbling experience.
Motherhood is hard for me, but it is what I want to be doing. I am a work in progress, and motherhood is my refiner's fire. If it weren't as hard as it is, I'd miss these opportunities to be more self-aware, more vulnerable, more caring and inclusive, more selfless, more hard-working, more like the Savior. I need motherhood so that I can become the masterpiece I'm meant to be.
Also, these kids are pretty cute. :) So it's not all hard stuff, eh? We hoped for a lovely Mother's Day picture yesterday, but never managed to make it happen. I did get one with each of my babies though, so I'm happy.
I was thinking about cutting my hair a while back, but I didn't want to be that girl that has a baby and then cuts all her hair off. Plus, I know that short hair isn't exactly slimming, and what with the extra baby weight I'm still carrying around, I didn't want to get a haircut that wasn't flattering.
And then I decided that I didn't care (and I had reached the point where I wasn't even doing my hair any more) and so chop chop, here's my new hair cut!
Jules is such a cheerful girl. She's full of smiles and laughs, and LOVES getting attention from mom and dad and brother. We've noticed in the past couple of weeks that she is also CHATTY. This girl has things to say! Here are just a few of the many videos we have of Jules squealing and giggling and chatting it up with us:
You guys know I'm all about authenticity here on the blog; I'm not above sharing our hard days and challenges. But we've had so many hard days and challenges lately that I feel like the happy moments have been overshadowed by the hard ones. It's too easy to dwell on the difficult and take for granted the good, and I don't want to do that.
So in honor of authenticity and making sure to share the whole story, here are some of the lovely parts of life with Liam from this week:
I made soup twice this week and later on he got into the fridge and brought me the tupperware, saying, "soup!" He loves soup, and he'll eat things that he'd never look at otherwise as long as it's chopped up in a soup.
We went to two play places in the past two days, and each time as soon as I got his shoes off he took off like a shot. Running and running and so delighted to be playing with the other kids around. It was purely adorable.
I had a bag of clothes for Jules that my sister gave me sitting on the couch and he found a pair of little red shoes in it. He love shoes and he loves Jules, and he brought the shoes right over to where she was and held them up to her feet. Later on I found the shoes sitting at the top of the stairs - I think he was trying to take them to up to her while she was napping.
Speaking of clothes, in the past few days he's been so interested in getting himself dressed. He sits down and puts his legs into his pants and stands back up for me to help him pull them up. He's getting so big and independent.
For as much as he dislikes naps and going to bed, and as busy as he is all the rest of the time, he is the sweetest snuggler before going to sleep. He lets me sing and he lets me rock him, and it's the best part of our day.
His faux-hawk. Oh, how perfectly that little red faux-hawk suits his personality.
I would not trade this little man for all of the "easy" children in the world. I'm so lucky to be his mom.