Every Muddy Foot Should Know Its Worth

Every Muddy Foot Should Know Its Worth


Several weeks ago these mud-covered feet got asked to a dance.

They belong to my youngest twin–my tiny, blue-eyed, blonde-haired, tree climber.

A dance?  In middle school?  With a boy?  With awkward moments and disco balls and blaring music and watered down punch?

When did that happen?

She was just climbing trees and walking the dog and decorating her room with post-it notes and having tea parties with spotted elephants.  I wasn’t sure that I was ready.  I wasn’t sure that I was prepared.

But she was.

And she said yes.

She said yes to the cutest boy in school.

“We’re just friends, mom,” she told me giggling and peeking out at me from behind her fingers.  But he’s so sweet.

And she’s right.

He has short brown hair and a laugh that makes you laugh right back and the sweetest eyes that you’ve ever seen.

And he showed up for the dance with daffodils he picked from the yard tied with a jute twine bow.

It was a moment I’ll never forget.

She stood there in a patchwork dress with braids and leather sandals and a blue jean jacket, reaching out for those flowers from a boy whose eyes lit up when he saw her as the sun set over the fields behind the school.

I watched them walk away together and my heart shivered slightly.

Hoping the dance wouldn’t be awkward.

Hoping it wouldn’t all be too overwhelming.

Hoping the disco ball didn’t shine too brightly.

When I picked her up from the dance, she was a bundle of energy.

Words and giggles and laughter and conversation bounced off the walls of the car.

“It was so much fun, mom,” she said.  “You wouldn’t believe it.  He stayed with me the entire time.  He didn’t go and hang out with the other boys.  He danced with me and ate pizza with me and we talked the whole dance.”

“And the best part?” she continued in a rush.

“They had these masks–you know–because the whole dance was a Mardi Gras theme and he asked me if I wanted one.”

“That’s so sweet,” I said.

“The masks were all lined up on the table.  There was a $2 one and a $3 one and the biggest mask of all, the really fancy one with the trim and the gold and the glitter was $4.  Of course I didn’t want to ask for that one.  It was the most expensive.  So I pointed to the $2 one instead,” she giggled.

“And what did he do?” I asked.  “Did he buy you the $2 mask?  The one you pointed to?”

“No,” she said, opening her eyes in wonder.  “He didn’t.”

“He told me he wanted me to have the best one, so he bought me the beautiful mask, the one with the sparkles and the gold and the glitter.”

And with that she sank back into the seat with a smile so full of joy it made that disco ball look dim.

Oh my sweet-tree-climbing girl.

May your days always be full of sunshine.

May your heart be full of the beauty and joy around you.

May your feet always be muddy and your braids always swing on a spring Kentucky day.

And may you always know your worth and dance….

….with the boy who chooses the $4 mask. 🙂

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  1. Darling, darling story! Moments like these are even more of a treasure to a mother because a sweet young girl chose to share it with us! The memory may dim for our daughters but never for us. I can actually smell Jacqueline’s hair when I think of the stories she told me as we snuggled in bed together after a dance or special date. Her giggles are like dew for my soul!

    You are a very blessed mother to have daughters that share so much! I guess they share because they have such a special mom!

  2. That is the sweetest story ever! With a mom like you she will remember to value herself and be who she is! Always!

  3. Diane Walters :

    Once again you’ve made me smile…thank you! 😊

  4. Beautiful….raising a girl to recognize when a boy treats her right is a step in the right direction….and no doubt she’s had some excellent examples from your own special man with twinkling eyes on how to treat a lady!!!

  5. That boy already shows good character and good taste in girls!
    She deserves the best.

  6. What a great experience. This made my heart smile. Our girls are both married and we have 2 beautiful Grand Daughters. Before I know it they will be going through this, my how time flies by. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Oh, my, you’ve made me smile and cry at the same time. I have three children and our youngest is in college now but I remember those days so vividly. When our daughter went to prom for the first time it was a whole group who came over to see her get picked up by her date. My husband and I and her brothers, were joined by my in laws, our neighbor, who is also her Godmother and then her daughter who came to help with makeup. We were all so giddy and took endless pictures and stared out the window as he opened the door for her….. I’ll never forget it.

  8. Sweet sweet story and super sweet boy and girl:)!! Maybe he’s her twinkly eyed match- although they are so young…..you never know! I’m sure she will just have fun for now♥

  9. This is Precious. I have a granddaughter that is 15 and she looks guts up my world too when she shares her life with me. I think we are super blessed.,Thanks for sharing, hope you don’t get into trouble sharing this with us😊.

  10. What a beautiful story. Hold that one close to your heart. Those middle school and high school years go by so fast. Thank you for sharing. Starting my day with a smile 🙂

  11. Simply put, Karianne…. Awwwww!!!🙂 This memory will last you many lifetimes!
    Blessed Easter to you and your family…

  12. Oh, you made my day. Lucky mom, lucky daughter.

  13. Absolutely love this story. I am still smiling. What a sweet daughter! Thanks for sharing

  14. That is the sweetest ever! His mom should be proud too!

  15. What a wonderful story, KariAnne! It made me smile all the way through. Your sweet girl deserves such a great guy.

  16. Such sweet memories in the making! She’s a beauty!

  17. I want to meet that guy’s mom! She must be, well—just. amazing! Your daughters are — I think — a lot like their mother too. I am glad she said “yes.” I am glad he was as special as she thought—and a perfect friend.

  18. Oh my gosh, how sweet!! And that young man’s parents are to be commended because they are obviously raising him very well!! Oh, to relive those days!

  19. Oh SO SWEET ! Once again I’m teary…

  20. Oh my! This sweet story makes my heart swell.

  21. What a special memory…she is just darling.

    Happy Easter!

  22. aww, Miz karianne….my eyes are blurry and my voice was breaking up as I read this out loud to my husband. LOL, his eyes were a little misty also….even at our “advanced ages”, we still can be moved by such sweet moments as this.
    May they both never forget this special moment in time, cherish it and hold it dear for all their days.
    PS it goes without saying that YOU certainly will! Have a great day, little one.

  23. I. Can’t. Even.
    I believe I have read every story you have ever written and this one is the cutest
    Don’t we all deserve the $4 mask?

  24. Every girls dreams of a magical night like this…no matter how old she is!
    Thanks for sharing…

  25. Yes! Yes! Yes! May your littlest (and her sister) ALWAYS know their incredible worth. What a treasure she will have of this wonderful memory from her momma’s perspective. xo

  26. Courtney Cloe :


  27. You made my heart melt, how wonderful for your daughter and you and not forgetting the wonderful boy in question, she is so pretty too, moments like this don’t come around as often as we would want, enjoy…I loved your story.xx

  28. Nan, Odessa, DE :

    I know she will keep the memory, but make sure that mask is preserved as well.
    Oh, what a dance. None like it until her wedding.
    Enjoy this time! I know you will appreciate the time, and we can’t convenience her.
    Thanks for sharing.

  29. This is absolutely precious. I have tears in my eyes and a smile in my heart. Enjoy each and every moment with your girls. Thank you for sharing your stories… they make my day brighter!

  30. Oh my dear KariAnne you have made me smile, with a tear in my eye. They grow up all too quickly for this old Gramma. I love, love, love the story. I love all of your stories!!! And I am not too old to enjoy that first blush of young “love”, remembered. Thank you for the joy you bring to all of us!

  31. The memory and nuances of this “first” will never be forgotten or dimmed because you have recorded all the excitement and emotion in this sweet story!

  32. Okay, you had me teary eyed with joy. How sweet!! This is what we want for our kids — joy, wonder, laughter, and excitement. I want to hug this story it is so sweet. Your stories always evoke so much emotion. Thank you for your stories, thank you for sharing all those moments with your family. It seems my kids just grew up in a blink of an eye. Waaaaay too fast. Have a sunshine filled day. Hugs!!

  33. Sigh, he sounds like a keeper! 😉
    So sweet! And your daughter? Too adorable!

  34. Some tears of happiness after reading your post, what a sweet daughter and a sweet young boy dancing and talking and being happy. Thank you for sharing.

  35. Life is full of magical moments, tell your daughter thanks for letting you share this moment with all of us! So blessed!

  36. Such a sweet story, thanks so much for sharing. She is a beauty, hope there are many more dances and boys who understand how special she is. Enjoy every moment, the time goes fast and she will be grown up with children of her own.

  37. Bonnie Schulte :

    Every time I read another post, I think, this is the best one yet. Well, this one is the best one yet. It is so sweet and so special, it brought tears to my eyes, as it has for others. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful moments with us all. You always bring the biggest smiles, you are the #1 Mother, that every young girl would be so proud to have!!! And a beautiful young girl seems to take after #1 Mom.

  38. This was precious! 😉

  39. So sweet. They grow up fast don’t they?

  40. I love your stories! Thank you for sharing – that was a sweet story. (Enjoy each moment as they go by very quickly!)
    It reminded me of my girls which are now having their own babies. It made me cry and smile.

  41. Amen sister.

    As a mom to boys, I have to say, it’s not too hard to teach them manners and treating a girl with respect and admiration despite the many people who say it is. However, what is difficult, is teaching them how to recognize and pick out a girl like your daughter. A girl who wants them to be just who they are and points to the $2 mask. A girl who is sweet and kind and considerate.

    That’s the hard thing to teach. Love this story. 🙂

  42. That mini-Thistle is too dang cute!!
    That young man’s mother should
    be thanked!! She done good!!! LOL
    p.s. He sounds like a keeper!! : )

  43. Love your stories. This is what makes life so special… Yes, these moments go by so quickly. Thanks for sharing.

  44. Debbie Czech :

    another beautiful story. 🙂

  45. Oh Kari Anne, what a sweet story- better than a fairy tale!! I’m so happy for you – going through that milestone had to be much easier knowing such a sweetheart was by your beautiful daughter’s side. I hope you are well!! Hugs!

  46. As is so often the case, this story is the “best one yet!” ~ but I always know it too may be topped.
    *Precious* for the memories: hold tight to them all …
    And, it is definitely one for your next book … !!! 😘

  47. Debbie Jones :

    Oh, my goodness gracious! What a delightful and magical story that is definitely scrapbook worthy, along with the adorable pictures of your tree-climbing beauty! I think I’ll read it one more time….

  48. So sweet! Precious memory! Thank you for sharing –

  49. Dear KariAnne
    Your stories always give me chills.
    I remember those days with our girls – They grow up so fast, but now they are best friends and they love their Mom so much. I’m so happy for this.
    You become best friends when they are in their 30’s
    Have a wonderful Day.

  50. Stephanie Wethington :

    Kari, once again you have stolen my heart!!! This story about your daughter is wonderful!!! In it’s own way it was truly romantic for their ages. He wanted her to have the best mask!!! How wonderful was that!!! It was wonderful to me. Thank you so much for sharing your daughter’s wonderful story!!! I truly want to share it with the world =)!

  51. Once again you’ve made me cry 😭 my baby girl turned 18 yesterday. Fasten your seat belt.💕💕

  52. Makes my heart smile❤️💙

  53. Leslie Watkins :

    How perfect a fairy tale story for your sweet tree climbing girl. Thank you for sharing! Loved!

  54. Oh my I am a puddle in Providence. Yes heart sobbing and smiling at the same time. I had a barefoot always braid wearing if I could find someone to help us tree climbing sweet girl too. In a blink she was gone and a beautiful nurse shoe wearing sloppy bun climber of dreams coming true young lady. Goes by soooooo fast sweet friend. Bless you for preserving this precious memory keeping story in print. Not only for her to treasure as well as you but for every parent who remembers and recalls special moments with their daughter too. Great job gal!

  55. Oh he is a keeper for going for the sparkles that I am sure matched those pretty eyes of hers.

  56. we don’t have children…just a fur baby, but your story filled my heart!

  57. Best real life story, it made me smile and tear-up. Kudos to you for setting a good example and telling such a heart warming real life story.

  58. Joyce Wright :

    That is so sweet! I can just see her exuberance! Cherish all the moments- they pass so quickly!!😇❤❤

  59. So why am I crying?????…….one because I never had a daughter to share these times with, two because of the sweet relationship you have with your daughter…..three, because you are a master story teller that can grab heart strings! Thank you for sharing. So sweet!

  60. What a sweet story!! 💗💗

  61. Ok, I have already left a reply but I can’t stop thinking that I need to tell you simply MUST read two books by the author, Dee Hardie, that is if you have not already. She sadly died in 2015. the books are Hollyhocks,Lambs & Other Passions and ( get a Kleenex box) Views From Thornhill. She wrote for many magazines ( House Beautiful) was my fav.
    Great humor, use of language and the ability to make you want to be in that place at that time ( a lot like you). If I hadn’t loaned my copies (many times)
    I’d give them to you. Sadly don’t have them. Amazon-well worth it. Please read, you will enjoy and perhaps, weep. As Cary Grant would say, “Good Stuff,”

  62. Lanita Anderson :

    What a sweet story….and what a precious girl! She has the most beautiful smile!! You also had me at daffodils tied with a jute ribbon……what a sweet boy!! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  63. May she always be with a guy who knows her worth!!!

  64. kimberly Mukes :

    Such a sweet story on a relaxing Sunday afternoon! Thanks for sharing it:)


    Beautiful touching “true” story! Fabulous Mom and Precious Daughter!

    KariAnne, you and your dear husband are doing a wonderful job of raising your children! May God continue to bless you! Your family is so special! Just love you all!

  66. A moment in time…such a sweet story, KariAnne!

  67. Misting over here! My daughter’s $4 mask boy was the boy that would get her a chair in Sunday school when they were 10 years old. He’s now my wonderful son-in-law! 😉

  68. This sweet story put a smile on my face! You have the sweetest family and it is always a treat when you share their stories with us! I remember those days with my daughters too…sigh…they grow up too fast!