Raising teenagers is challenging.

It’s kind of like running a marathon and you’re tired and exhausted and worn out and you think you’re almost done and the light at the end of the tunnel is shining brighter and brighter.

And then?

Somewhere around the last couple of miles…

….someone throws a mountain onto the course.

Don’t lose hope.

Don’t be sad.

Don’t despair and raise your hands and sigh and throw in the towel.

Just listen to life advice from a house plant.

We have company coming and it was a cleaning and swiping and swishing and dusting and picking up and prying dried cereal off the floor kind of day.

One of the twins helped me.

She emptied the dishwasher and I wiped down the counters and tucked succulents into a tiny wire container on the kitchen island.

We talked while we worked.

And of course….

….the conversation turned to boys.

I heard all the middle school gossip.  How this person liked that person and this girl had her heart broken and this boy ignored her and someone texted someone and then they never texted back.


It was all a little heartbreaking.

Somewhere between my then and her now, I had forgotten how hard the whole thing was.

“Why?  Why, mom?” she asked me.  “Why do some boys act like that?  It’s all so confusing.”

“I know,” I told her.  “Boys talk an entirely different language and it’s not easy to understand.”

“They are so weird,” she said frowning.  “Sometimes they act like they like you and sometimes they tell their friends that they like you and the whole school thinks that they like you.  But then?  When you like them back they act like don’t like you any more.”

I sighed.

How could I explain all about boys and the whole liking and not liking thing and the entire pitfall-filled world of middle school relationships?

I needed a piece of sage advice.

I needed brilliance and cleverness and empathiness and listeningness and an extra dose of Brady Bunch wisdom.

I needed help.

(total aside:  I really needed my mother, but she lives five states away.)

Frantically, I searched my heart and the room for inspiration.

Suddenly I saw it.

There it was.

The answer was right in front of me on my kitchen island.

Inspired,  I took a breath, squared my shoulders, reached deep into my vault of completely solicited advice, stared down into those two beautiful blue eyes surrounded by braids and curls and freckles….

…..and imparted the wisdom of the ages.

“Boys are a lot like these succulents,” I said.  “They both do a lot better if you just ignore them.”


Sometimes all you need is…

…a little plant advice mike drop.

PS  I’m calling my mother to tell her all about it. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Michelle Michelle

    Ha - I love it! That was definitely brilliant!! I'm kind of out of the loop on middle school relationships after all these years but that kind of advice I think is timeless. I'm passing it on to my son and daughter-in-law who, at some point, will want to share that with their two young daughters about to enter middle school. Something to keep in their pockets for just the right time...

  2. Image for june june

    Love your wisdom! Having only raised boys...I wonder what they were like around girls in middle school? HMMMMM Always love seeing your kitchen.

  3. Image for Dale Dale

    A sweet post today. Boys can be a mystery and I raised two of them and they turned out well. That was a good analogy. Truth is, they are just as scared and unsure as the girls. Yet once in awhile they will say or do something unexpected and so endearing and I realize that they are on the right path.

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

    You were channeling your mom. She knew you needed her and she threw the succulent in front of you so you could see the similarity! Wow!! Mom's are the greatest. Have a great day. Happy First Day of Spring. ? I'm so glad I found my hug!!!

  5. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Ah, Miz karianne....you did a great job on this one. Are you ready for the BIGGER ones? LOL Happy First Day of Spring to you, little one.

  6. Image for Stephanie Ray Brown Stephanie Ray Brown

    Oh my this is so true! Share w Savannah when her dad broke up with me ( I know! But been in two books now haha) he had nothing to done me when I was nice. But once I ignored him he got scared! ? they do like a challenge even in marriage. Not that they would admit that or anything! But the facts like you shared. Love your kitchen! So need your help making a Southern type plantation seventies house become more like me. Yep tired of ignoring it!? keep posting blue and white things adding blue willow of my mom's wants me to add more blue with white! What about our big blue? Woohoo and cheering those Cats on and WildCat tree still up! Rattle with you I could so all day! Bless you for time and for sharing your tales and talents.

  7. Image for Julie B. Julie B.

    Ohhhhh, I LOVE this story... everything about it... even the new 'farmhouse frase' you made up! Needs to go on a shirt... Or a wooden tray. ;-)

  8. Image for Ashley Ashley

    I found your site because I love your style. But I've found that as beautiful as your home and your ideas are your true gift is writing. It's a delight to read your words! Friendship, wisdom, humor and always great perspective. :)


    KariAnne, such great advice! Your Mom must be so proud of you. Your kitchen is beautiful! Love it! Blessings!

  10. Image for Pinky Pinky

    Your Mom will be proud. That was a great answer. My poor daighter went through middle school with MUCH angst. New house, new school, new friends, of Lord it was awful. But her problem was the GIRLS. Clicky, catty, terrible. I wish I had had your wisdom. Your children are blessed to have you.

  11. Image for Libbi Libbi

    Oh my goodness, how I wish I was given this advice as a teenager! Brilliant! Tucking this one away for when I have daughters of my own and hopefully the open up to me like yours do :)

  12. Image for MicheleB MicheleB

    Love it. Middle school and the teenage years in general give the biggest parenting challenges. My three are all past that but when I talk with friends who have toddlers and young children and they think life is so hard, I just smile because I know what is coming down the road for them. Great story and your kitchen is divine!

  13. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Brilliant. Where were you and that plant when I was in middle school? My mother could have never had enough of a green thumb to have found the wisdom in that plant; perhaps that was the problem! Keep using your gardening wisdom to raise those thistles. They are growing beautifully.

  14. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    Great advice, ka ... That sage wisdom would have been very helpful around here a few years ago, too! Life does get complicated for teens, and middle school is an especially confusing time ... Brace yourself for "more," but know (it's very obvious) that you have given your kids a solid and loving foundation which will help them sail easily through much of what is ahead! Hugs, dear! kj (Hope you enjoyed chatting with your Mom!)

  15. Image for April Driggers April Driggers

    ROFL.... I have three boys... (17, 12 and 7) and I just tell MY boys... girls are dumb. Followed with -- boys are dumb. All y'all are dumb. :) But it's okay, cause eventually you'll figure it out.

Comments are closed.