This is the week that school started.


Can we still be friends…..

……if I tell you I’ve been waiting for this week all summer?

Every time I picked up a pair of flip-flops off the floor or washed stacks of bowls etched with dried-on fruit loops or sorted through wet beach towels left in the back hall or swept up tiny pieces of paper scattered all over the floor or gathered up the stinky tennis shoes from every corner of the house…..

….I sighed.

And waited patiently for the days of sparkling clean floors and quiet.


The whirlwind of summer blew by.  It was full of trips to the beach and afternoons at the pool and ice cream as the sun set and long walks down by the lake and nights at the movies and basketball and baseball and trips to the water park.

And every day would start the same.

“Mom…..what are we going to do today?”

And off we would go.  Again.  And again.

Back Porch Table

And as summer rolled by….the dishes sat in the sink.

The dust piled up on the baseboards.

The kitchen floor was sticky.

The rug in the butler’s pantry still had the dried on mud that had been there since June.

And the pillows and shoes and papers and books covered every square inch of the living room.

And I surveyed the mess…..

…..and sighed.

And longed for the days when order would be restored.

Family Room

And then it arrived.

The first day of school was here before we blinked.  And I packed everyone off with new backpacks and notebooks and sharpened pencils and wide-ruled paper and shiny new shoes.

They left in a whirlwind with hugs and smiles and laughter…..

…..and waved good-bye as the car pulled out of the driveway.

Family Room Thistlewood Farm

And I slowly turned and walked up the sidewalk and into the house and closed the front door.

And walked from room to room and told the house good morning.  I fluffed the pillows and straightened the chairs and opened the curtains and lit the candles.

And the floors were sparkling and the dishes were put away and there wasn’t a pair of stinky shoes in sight.

And then I sat.  I sat on the couch in the middle of that clean house with the sunlight sparkling through the windows surrounded by the smell of red currant.

And there in the silence…..

….tears filled my eyes.



Wasn’t this what I wanted?

Wasn’t this what I sighed for?

Wasn’t this what I longed for during the hectic, messy, busy, overwhelming days of summer?


And right then and there I realized something that seemed almost incomprehensible a few weeks ago.

I missed the messy.

And the life and the laughter and the joy of a sticky kitchen floor.

I got up and I walked into the laundry room…..

….and almost tripped over a pair of stinky tennis shoes with even stinkier socks stuffed inside.

I reached down to pick them up and put them away.

Except this time I didn’t.

I left them right where I found them.

A little messiness to hold me over until the house filled up again. 🙂


PS  And don’t worry about the stinky tennis shoes.

A few more pairs showed up later that afternoon. 🙂

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  1. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    I know exactly how you feel!! The quiet can almost be overpowering -- is there a screaming quiet? The drone of laughter, teasing and arguing is so much more reassuring. I love that saying that you have on the wall -- where does the quote come from? I wanted to read the whole thing and the photo didn't get the entire quote. Don't you just love it?? Picky, picky, picky -- here to take awesome pictures and there is a persnickety reader who wants more :-) I noticed that the last part of the quote is etched one of your bracelets. Have a wonderful day and if you get too lonesome and need a mess, use the dinning room table -- I've got my camera, books, cookbooks piled there.

  2. Image for Betty Betty

    We realize like so many that the best days of our lives are spent raising our children. I know we decorate and try to make our homes beautiful but the ornaments of any home are the children who reside there. Happy day to you and yours. Betty Hill

  3. Image for Patti Patti

    What a beautiful family. I have two girls. One is living on her own and the other is off to college for her second year next week. I had a really hard time when she went away last year with the whole empty nest thing but I'm starting to get used to it. Luckily you have a good while before that happens. Have a great weekend with those lovely stinky shoes.

  4. Image for Kerry Kerry

    What a sweet story. Thanks for reminding your readers that we need to "stop and smell the roses - I mean stinky shoes" as we move through this thing called life. Enjoy the flips flops, socks, paper and everything in between this weekend . . . you've got a sweet family!

  5. Image for Amber at FPH Amber at FPH

    OH girl, you have no idea... Yesterday was the first day of Kindergarten for my twins (my teen started school on Monday) so this has been a bittersweet week. It's the first time I have been a.l.o.n.e in our house for more than an hour. Although I miss them, I am enjoying the time to work on the never ending remodel on our house with no interruptions and to listen to soft music with no complaints. I love my children but these few daily hours is good for this mama which makes it better for the family. I look forward to working harder on my blog and business. Your kiddos are beautiful! xo

  6. Image for Lisa~A Cottage To Me Lisa~A Cottage To Me

    Isn't that the way it goes! We want order in our Homes, but we miss the ones that make the messy. I'm going thru this right now. Youngest daughter moves back to college next messy gone. Oldest daughter and her dog (and all her things from having once lived in her own apt.) living here while looking for her own Home. I want order! I sigh ALOT!...and whine and cry! But, I know I will miss them when they're gone....maybe! Have a delightful day!

  7. Image for Heidi @ Decor & More Heidi @ Decor & More

    What I wouldn't give for an opportunity to miss the "messy"! I was back in my classroom the same time my youngest started school so I long for a quiet morning at home. No such luck! Enjoy -- your babies are growing up so fast! xo Heidi

  8. Image for Lisa Pacello Lisa Pacello

    So does not start for another week in NC and I am stuck in the messiness. Thanks for the reminder. HEY, what is your family room wall cover? AND, where did you get the I hope you Dance wall art? That is my fav song and I sing it to the kids all the time? Thanks....... Lisa

  9. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Sweet post! At least you know they are coming back! My baby moved out in early June...and I have mixed emotions still. We had kids in this house for 31 years...and I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss them...stinky socks and all! Enjoy your weekend! ;)

  10. Image for Beverly Beverly

    I just sighed a big sigh. Ah, the passing of time. It leaves marks on our soul, yet new times, new marks and new memories march across our stage of life and wait in the wings.

  11. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    I feel ya. I've fussed and groused all summer about daughter #2 and the perpetual clothes and shoe pile in the middle of her bedroom floor, and the little "nest" she makes on the coffee table in the living room. Now the coffee table is clean, and there is nothing on her bedroom floor. And she's 200 miles away. I'm more than ready for Labor Day weekend. :)

  12. Image for Julie Julie

    I think we moms all experience those roller-coaster-emotions! As an empty nester, I will say that keeping the house clean is SO much easier now. But I'd give almost anything to go back to the chaos of a busy, messy house full of happy, noisy kids...sigh. Enjoy it while you can ;)

  13. Image for Gee Gee

    Oh, the bitter sweet emotions we moms go through. We always want something unreachable, as we never seem to be sure what it is/was. I remember them all to clearly :) Enjoy life's daily rushes... they go by all to quickly! Big hugs, Gee

  14. Image for Vicki Vicki

    Precious times. And just when you know you have it all together, you have learned your life lessons of parenting and know just what to do, they leave. Just like that. They slip through your fingers to college, to far away places to serve their country or to serve our God. Some find jobs in far away states, or even closer to home but at hours to drive. They find their soulmates, then the LOVES of their lives - their own first born. Then- you pack your bags and you travel endless miles and countless hours to meet precious and prayed for grandchildren! Life to the fullest! Enjoy these precious days ! I Miss My Children So Much!!! I would do is all again if given the chance, only better!

  15. Image for Crystal @MyBlissfulSpace Crystal @MyBlissfulSpace

    I felt the same soon as school was out I was ready for it to start up again. Not for summer to be over, just for less kids, less chaos, less mess. I have an in-home daycare, so a few kids and messes still remain, so I can't relate to the complete quiet. But it's certainly more relaxing around here. I only have one of my own and she was ready to go back. I do love my time with her, though!!!

  16. Image for Renee Renee

    I know how you feel.....enjoy those stinky shoes because you will blink and they will be gone. My children are all grown and in homes of their own. I have had the opportunity to have my granddaughter Jordan on Fridays this summer and it has been a nice reminder of flip flops, toys, multiple glasses and I will miss it when I am back to wk full time after Labor Day and she is back to school. Love your blog!!!!!

  17. Image for GabbyinVirginia GabbyinVirginia

    Such a sweet post and your children are beautiful. I'm sitting here in my fairly clean and tidy home, wishing for those days of washing dirty and stinky baseball and football uniforms, tripping over huge tennis shoes, hauling kids to band practice, singing together in the car. My yard is beautiful--no baseball running paths or broken shrubs from someone diving for a catch. But those boys are gone--to exciting times with their loves and their little ones. One of those little ones is coming over today so he and Gabby can play trains! So there will be a little messiness today! Today is my oldest son's 33rd birthday! He's far away--in Boston--and I can't grab him and give him a hug. But his little ones will give him plenty of hugs and kisses! And we'll all be together next week at the beach for an end of summer blast! Cherish these times with yours--they will be gone in a blink of an eye.

  18. Image for Shirley@housepitalitydesigns Shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    When I read the title, I first thought it read "stinky socks" !!..but stinky shoes are right up there with the socks!...I am sure after the first day, you will enjoy the quiet, as the quiet does not last long when the door swings open with tales of a great day at school...Have a great weekend stinky shoes and all!!!

  19. Image for K K

    I am so with you...I was NEVER ready to send them back...I instituted reading mornings in August after my kids came back from camp, all sports were over, etc. and I have to say I can now look in my liv room and "see" the 3 of them there, lost in their books and being so young and beautiful. I would take them peach smoothies. Sweet memories. That lasted for a few years until the oldest suddenly had football mornings before school ever started. How the dynamic changes when the first one gets a license. Also, I wanted one more week with them after Christmas...looking back, I could have been a home-schooler when they were young-uns :)

  20. Image for Jane Jane

    I think Vicki (above) said it so well. I really loved being a stay at home mom and while it had it's ups and downs, I knew I was doing what I was meant to do. I mean every job has it's hurdles! When my kids hit their teens, It was a trying time, yet I found myself humming the words to a Carly Simon song, "These are the good old days". My baby girl is still at home. We have a ball. I think we both know it's the end of an era. I envy that you have a much longer to time to enjoy your big, loud, lovely brood! And I know you will! Jane xx

  21. Image for Cheryl @ Artzzle Cheryl @ Artzzle

    School starts early where you are! My grandkids all go back after Labor Day. I miss that last week before school started, each year. I worked outside the home, so the first day back was always pretty hectic. But that final week of summer, the preparation week . . . that was fun. We went on sporadic shopping trips for school supplies, new clothes . . . and new tennis shoes to stink up. We went out for pizza or a family dinner somewhere. We went on evening walks around the neighborhood, looking at all the final flowers of summer. We planned crazy evening events to do, to tide us over until the next vacation time came along. I had/have great kids and now some wonderful grandkids too!

  22. Image for Christine Christine

    Awe, Karianne that's sweet. Gee, it's kind of scary how your children look a lil older than the last pic you posted of them not that long ago! Enjoy the rest of the nice weather and saying repeatedly 'did you finish your homework? ' and 'c'mon, let's get to bed you have to get up early' ahh... The good ole days. P.S. Still gaga over those pom pom pillows. Christine

  23. Image for Chloe Crabtree Chloe Crabtree

    What a lovely and sweet post. You certainly expressed yourself wonderfully. My children are grown and my daughter has a 9 month old little girl and I am sending her the link to this post right now. As mothers we know how quickly they grow up and the time slips by. Enjoy the moments you have with them still and enjoy the peace and quiet of the days while they are at school. Bless you and your family.

  24. Image for Cindy@Diybeautify Cindy@Diybeautify

    Life is SO MUCH more than stinky tennis shoes, dirty dishes and dust, isn't it? People will always be more important than the next project, that blog post that must get written and those pictures that need to be edited! I'll admit it's hard for me to put my focus where it Needs to be, at times... great read, Karianne!

  25. Image for Claudine Claudine

    Karianne, this one reminded me of when my son was in high school. Out of a sudden I realized the backpack wouldn't be at the entrance of the house for much longer... I'm glad the stinky shoes were all back in the afternoon, lol! Your children are beautiful!

  26. Image for Kris Kris

    My mom says that these are the golden years. I think she's right. I remind myself of that when they are arguing or just driving me crazy in general! :)

  27. Image for Cheryl Ann Cheryl Ann

    I remember when our girls left home. I thought the house would be so easy to take care of. Funny wasn't "kids" all those years who were messy, turns out my hubby and I weren't easy to pick up after too! Cheryl Ann

  28. Image for Pat @ Life At Lydias House Pat @ Life At Lydias House

    I learned a long time ago that a sparkling clean house is way over rated! I would love to have the opportunity again to pick up some stinky socks and fuss about bowls with cereal glued inside! Time flies. Enjoy them while you can!!

  29. Image for Katie Goldsworthy Katie Goldsworthy

    Makes me sad just reading about it. I think I'm going to miss mine. ...I still have one at home though, so messes are sure to stay around here for now!

  30. Image for dawn@joyfulscribblings dawn@joyfulscribblings

    I know the feeling well. My son is leaving for college today and the tears are flowing. There are days you can't wait for your children to grow up and then when they become adults you don't want to let them go.

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