Love Letters From Thistlewood

Love Letters From Thistlewood



When you are a parent….

…you do a lot of talking.

You talk about being nice and waiting your turn and making good choices and respecting each other and speaking in an inside voice and trying your hardest….

….and keeping your promises.

There’s a lot of variations on the same theme.

And in the middle of all that conversation and discussion…..sometimes you sigh….and wonder if anyone is listening.

This Mother’s Day….my son gave me a gift that let me know…

….he had heard (almost) every word.


You see….he gave me a book.

Not just any book.

A book compiled of all the love stories I had ever written on Thistlewood Farm.

All 13 of them.

He took the posts and put them in chronological order and had them bound into a hardcover volume.


And then he wrote an introduction that went a little like this:

“These are the stories of a real-life true love.

Sometimes happy.

Sometimes sad.

Probably embellished.

But what good story isn’t?

You see, KariAnne Wood, the writer of Thistlewood Farm, is my mother.

She’s witty.

She’s persistent.

And, of course, she’s a great storyteller…..just like her father.

So today, I’m sharing with her….and the world….her love story (as told with gusto by her).

Happy Mother’s Day Mom.”


And when he handed me the book….

…I didn’t say anything.

I couldn’t.

I just stared at my simple stories written down in a book with real numbered pages…with every last exclamation point and ellipse in place.

And I then I started crying.

Not cute crying like in the movies.  Real….honest crying that comes from a place somewhere deep in your heart.  I cried and stared and the book….and cried some more.

And I hugged him.

And cried some more.

And hugged him again.

Then I opened up the book and began to read.


There it was….every chapter of a real-life love story.

It started at the beginning.

And continued with our first date.

And the first time I really tried to cook.

And the first dance from our wedding.

And the first time I saw him when he arrived home from his deployment.

And on and on and on.


Every page put together and printed by that wonderful, incredible, generous son of mine.

I had written enough for a book….

…and never even knew it.

I closed the pages and smiled at him.

When did he grow up so fast?

When did he become a teenager?

When did he get so wise?

All those years of all that conversation.

And as I hugged the book and stared up at him with a thank-you in my tear-filled eyes….

….I realized he had been paying attention all along. 🙂

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


  1. Seriously……wow!

  2. Hands down Denton wins the award for best Mother’s Day Gift ever…just watch him now that the news is out…every child no matter what age has just had a NEW BAR to achieve in the land of Mother’s Day Gifts!!!! Once again I use the phrase…if you ever ponder if you are raising your kids right…YOU ARE!!!!! PS…every gift from every child in the universe is wonderful…but this one plain and simple ROCKS!!!! Hugs! Rock on Denton! : )

  3. Crying, sighing, smiling.

    The greatest of these is love.

    The ultimate coffee table book.

  4. What a BEAUTIFUL and PRICELESS gift of love!!

  5. A beautiful tribute and proof positive that our children DO listen ….. and watch. They hear us even though they would often like to pretend they do not. Good mothers touch souls, who move on to touch the souls of others.

  6. Oh, dear lady. What a precious thing. And from such an amazing source. You, my friend, have been surrounded by the blessing of truly great gift givers. Maybe that’s what helps you be so focused on giving back to all of us.
    The Other Marian

  7. and one of he blessings from that love gave you such a precious gift…..more love and thoughtfulness xoxo

  8. Darn you KariAnne {sniff, sniff} Yes I’m crying in my coffee!! I am going to reread every story because you are not only a fabulous storyteller you are one heck of a lady and mother!!!! Just look at your kids — the magnolia doesn’t fall to far from the tree. It doesn’t take money or things to enrich our lives — it takes our family and friends. Great humongous hugs to you.

  9. You reap what you sow. I’d say you are doing a good job. What a wonderful gift!

  10. Perfection!
    This is without doubt the best mother’s day story ever! Your son is well on his way to becoming the creative, well rounded, compassionate and charming man that this world so desperately needs…
    I am sure he will tire of hearing it today but please tell him how wonderful I think he is!
    And… as for you my sweet friend…
    You deserve every gesture of kindness and appreciation that comes your way, you give it out into the world and it comes back to you… you have mirrored that mantra to your children and it has been learned… that, my dear is a full circle moment!
    I am picturing you sitting reading those stories to your grandchildren one day far in the future… with a little grin on your face remembering this Mother’s Day.

  11. Smiling with tears in my eyes. What a wonderful son you have raised! Now with coffee in hand I go to visit your posts of the past….you are indeed a magnificent story teller.

  12. Regena Fickes :

    I know better than to put on makeup before reading your post. I will either cry from joy or pure gut deep laughter. Now, when are you going to write a book? Keep on loving on that boy (course, I know you will).

  13. My eyes are leaking…… again darn it!
    To be loved, really loved………every persons wish!
    Lucky husband ……lucky wife……obviously God smack in the middle!

    Your son…….look out, everyone will be sending you pictures of their daughters, as they should. A rare gift, to find a young man who is not afriad of his own feelings, look out world!

  14. Anne Presley :

    What most don’t understand that the book yes was a tribute to you, your love, your talent, your passion, your mothering skills, but it also was a tribute to your Dad who preceded you with those very same traits and the very fact that Denton recognized all of the above make the story that much sweeter. I am so proud of Denton for the wisdom of the years and the love that is never-ending. Love you all.

  15. ok that even made ME cry!! what a great boy you have there Karianne!!!

  16. Jerry Stocks :

    WOW is all I can say and would be green with envy if I didn’t have a grandson that is showing the same traits as your son. Aren’t you a VERY fortunate mother and I a VERY fortunate “Gam” as he calls me.

  17. Wow. Just WOW!!

  18. Thanks, everyone 🙂 Now, how to top this next year…

  19. Yippee-skippee….you can NEVER have too much happy, Miz karianne!!!
    I keep telling you to write a book. I think I even told you once you need to put all these stories into a short-stories-form book….looks like at least ONE of you was listening…LOL So wonderful you have such amazing kids. He has set the bar high, not only for other kids, but for himself. I hope he realizes that to whom much is given, much is expected…apparently he has a lot to give…so sweet he loves you so much and is willing to show it.
    Great day to you!

  20. We reap what we sow, and this crop is multi-generational. I can just imagine your daddy walking around Heaven bustin’ his buttons.

  21. Such a thoughtful young man – this is just wonderful!

  22. Well……I did not think that the Garden Rehab could ever be surpassed as the best gift ever. If this one did not surpass it, it was right there with it. You have the most awesome kids. This is a tribute to both you and hubby. You are awesome parents. Parents with an amazing love for each other. This is why God tell us to love our mate first. When children see this they mirror it every day. You are so blessed!

  23. Wow, just amazing and it’s nice to know that you’re listened to by more than your bloggers. It’s just warms my heart and I know I would have been a blubbering idiot reading along. What is it they say about gifts “It’s the thought that counts” Wow what a perfect example. Yes, Denton, how will you top this next year????

  24. What a wonderful son you have raised. How many teenagers would have thought to do something like that for their Mom. Your children are lucky to have such a great Mother. That story just made my day.

  25. Wow, what a precious and priceless gift! Sounds like maybe that son of yours has received the storytelling gene as well. So sweet!

  26. Linda Meents :

    First I cried and then I thought. . . since we’ve all read your love stories why don’t you print it for us to buy and give as gifts? You could do several books with your wonderful stories in them. . . the home you’ve made, about making do and living in the country. Make sets of three books and package them perfectly as I know you would. I wouldn’t expect a cook book from you but your trials with cooking could fill a book I’m sure. I’m excited because I have a list of girlfriends I know would love to get such a gift.

  27. anna-Ruth T. Murphy :

    I am crying just reading this! What an awesome SON/GIFT/story! You are living life RIGHT…and Thank you for sharing your family with us 🙂

  28. What a gift–your son (the book too)! Happy Mother’s Day!

  29. Some day, I will have the chance to stand next to that boy and I will hug him once just because and once because of this. Well done sweet boy!

    And well deserved sweet momma!

  30. Guess I’m having my coffee with tears this morning! What a sweetheart! You’ve got quite the young man there! 😉

  31. Wow…

  32. Jennifer Ferrell :

    Sniff, sniff…..I knew I shouldn’t have read this while applying my makeup!!! Haha! What a sweet and precious gift:):). Like I’ve said before, I’m blessed to know you and your family:). Love you all!!!!!

  33. Robin Stephens :

    Oh. … My. … Gosh. OHMYGOSH! I’m not speechless….cuz I have loads of thoughts…..but I will leave it at that. Wow, what a blessed momma you are…. <3

  34. OH MY GOD…(I’m not even going to abbreviate that)…Tears are running now…what a special love…how blessed you are. I don’t even have enough words to compliment this wonderful boy and the gift of a life time.

  35. A very old lady in the NC mountains tells my brother-in-law Marty that he is “sumpin, really sumpin”… Well your boy is “sumpin, really sumpin”….!!

  36. Paulette Smith : Stunning. My heart hummed when I read this.

  37. Best gift ever ever ever I so love it and it made me cry too!

  38. Sob, I bet at this point you are carrying around that book in your purse. DH texts me like a madman but we’ve really gotten out of the habit of writing letters. Must change that.

  39. Oh my goodness! This is one of the most thoughtful gifts ever!!!!


  40. My heart just melted. So, so special!

  41. Sheila Miller :

    Yes, my eyes are leaking, too.

  42. Donna Martin :

    Didn’t he already “fix” your flower garden as a gift?! Wow, nothing makes me cry and I almost am–way to go son!!!

  43. You’ve given me my first REAL smile of the day! You know, the kind you have when no one is even LOOKING? You are blessed among women. Why are we so surprised when our children DO rise up and call us blessed? I think we’re afraid to be disappointed, but God has this all worked out – he uses our kids to let us know how much HE loves us!

    Have a happy, sunshiny day, KariAnne! 🙂


  44. And that, Sweet Lady, is your heart and soul – your son! I know that for me, I am amazed daily that I can etch out even more love for my child than I ever knew possible – knew that I had left in me, because I always think that he has every ounce of love that I can muster! Another memory for the rest of your life! Thank you so much for sharing it!

  45. Oh my goodness Kari, I started crying as I read this, and I RARELY do that!! This is the sweetest thing ever! You are raising a fine, fine person in that son of yours, and I’m not a bit surprised after having met you in person. Our son will be 24 in August, and it is truly wonderful to see the ways in which we know that he, too, has been listening for all these years. There’s not another feeling like it in the world. Your book is a real treasure, and so are you. 🙂

    Have a wonderful weekend!



  46. Nothing makes my heart happier than a son who is raised by a woman like YOU to become the AWESOME man he will be!!!!! What an amazing son. You are going to have girls knocking your door down!!! This really made me cry, I can’t imagine how you made it!!!!

  47. First, your husband serenades you, then your son makes you a book, with the sweetest prologue ever! I can hardly take it! I sent this link to my daughter, who is a single mom, with a 16 year old son. I know she will enjoy your words. Thanks for always sharing here.

  48. Karianne,
    What a beautiful gift! I know how touched you were, as my son did something similar for me for Christmas one year. He had his own poetry published in a book for me and the opening poem was a new one I knew nothing about, entitled “In My Mother’s House”. It was about me and about the things I did that made “home” a place he wanted to be. It was one of the most precious gifts I have ever received. It’s been years since that Christmas, but the memory of that gift, given from his heart, stills means everything to me. It’s so special when you realize that your child “gets” you. . . and your sweet son definitely “gets” you!

  49. I literally have tears in my eyes, that was so touching and having children, I know the feeling when they do something so spectacularly selfless and loving, you feel like crying. What a wonderful Mother’s Day, what great kids.

  50. Christopher :

    Just lovely, what a wonderful young man.

  51. I am so in tears! Of course I would expect nothing less from your kids…you lead by example, I know you do for me. This is wonderful. I’m speechless for once!


  52. *love this*…having a son is just the best, isn’t it?

  53. And now I’m crying. I don’t know that there is anything quite so beautiful as a son growing up into a man! I’m trying not to make a scene and hiding my tears. Hehe It’s amazing to see all of your hard work pay off in such a big lasting way!

  54. WOW, Your son is just amazing!!! You must have done everything right, KariAnne. You are an amazing Mom, telling and teaching your kids important things in a way that they listen and become so wonderful.

  55. I love that boy ! 😉

  56. Your son can marry my daughter. 😉 What a sweet soul.

  57. I always know by your titles, when I need to have the tissue box at hand. Wonderful as always.
    Wishing all a great weekend.

  58. Grammie to 5 Beauties :

    Denton – you are truly the Mother’s Day Rock Star of 2014! We all love your Mom so much for her endearing stories and sense of humor and obviously you do too!

    This was especially hard for me to read. Sadly, I have 2 grown daughters and 5 beautiful grand-daughters and I never heard a word from any of them. You see, I retired away from where they live and they haven’t forgiven me yet. Hopefully time will heal their hearts – in a strange way, it’s a compliment. Keep giving you Mom lots of hugs and kisses and moments like this – they will last you both a lifetime.

  59. Oh my gosh… I’m touched, never mind how you must be feeling! Seriously the best gift EVER.

  60. Beautiful. Just absolutely beautiful.
    You have such a wonderful life, Kari.
    I’m so full of joy for you.

  61. Your greatest love story of all!!!

  62. Say what? That little stinker had me tearing up…

    I decided I”m a psychic because I see a book deal in your future. {if you don’t already have one in the works.}

  63. You are blessed beyond measure!

  64. Now I’m gonna cry! That is the most priceless gift ever for a wordsmith! My son gets married in 2 weeks and I’m already working on the letter I’ll give him and I wonder if he’s listened to anything I’ve ever said or was he just watching this mess of a life that we lead? Either way, he’s grown up and making his own way in life. I only pray he reads my blog on occasion and knows how much I love him! Love you, my sweet writer friend!

    Another chapter in your book…

  66. Could somebody pass the kleenex box this way please. That is a son well raised! They say women should watch how their men treat their mother’s to get a good indication of what they’ll be like as husbands. Well, sounds like your son is going to make a very good husband one day!

  67. Oh wow what a bloody great feel good post

  68. I love this, it almost made me cry! what a sweet story! 🙂

  69. Your job is done. Good work, Mom!

  70. How completely thoughtful…and I have a feeling the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. You are blessed, Karianne…thank you for sharing this with us. xo

  71. Damn, you made me cry–AGAIN. You must be awfully proud, and who knows, he may have a budding career as a publisher ahead of him.

  72. I love this sweet, kind and generous boy! You have done well Mum.

    Hugs to your precious son.


    I don’t think that Denton or anyone else will be able to top this one!!!!Absolutely priceless!!!! 🙂

  74. This gift made me cry too! What a precious gift… precious moment… and precious son! You’ve done a very good job, Mom! And he is a good listener! Happy Belated Mother’s Day, KariAnne!

  75. Oh my I am not crying I am blubbering! So sweet and man tugged at this mom’s who loves loves to write heart. Our stories are so important to share for our children. I think they need to see us as people.. not just parents too. Oh my still have goosebumps!! I especially loved the embellishing part (my family tells me I am queen of adding extra spice to any story I share!) and reference to your dad’s talent to tell stories. I hope to do my mom and Granny proud as they were the master storytellers in our family. Sorry to go on and on.. told you I am a mess right.. keep writing sweet lady!

  76. Tina Matteson :

    Oh, how I love this story…! I was a bit teary as I read it, but the real crying started when I read the last line, “I realized he had been paying attention all along.” And what a precious, thoughtful gift!

  77. Well, I’m crying too. What a beautiful gift and what an amazing son. You could not want for more.

  78. Proof you are an amazing mom to have a son like that!

  79. LOVE IT! What a sweet young man you have raised!

    You are a fantastic storyteller!!!

  80. You told me on the phone, but when I read your post it made me tear up! SO very sweet!!! ;} LOVE.

  81. Oh, Kariann, I am messy-crying right now. Are you blessed, er what?! Oh, my. You just stabbed at my heart a little. Thank you to your son!

  82. beautiful!

  83. What a wonderful story! It brought tears to my eyes. Such a thoughtful young man!!

  84. Oh wow!! your son is so sweet! and such a genius! How did he even think of that?! Too sweet to handle, I was all teary eyed reading this. God bless him and someday give him a good woman, she will be one lucky woman.

  85. So…your words were the right ones. Congrats!

  86. Just THE best!

  87. I just read the story of your husband’s deployment, and then I read this one…I am cry! He is the sweetest boy on the planet. I am glad he appreciates what we all enjoy reading everyday.

  88. Karianne,
    Wow. You have obviously done a wonderful job with your son. He is one amazing young man. My youngest daughter just married this June 1. And as I watched her dance with my husband, the story you wrote about of your dad and your husband singing to you on your wedding day came to mind….One of my favorites.