They say that April showers bring May flowers.

After several near-flash floods and gray skies and weeks of frizzy hair and 17 rained out baseball games….

….meet my April.

I went out to the garden yesterday and clipped dozens of flowers and arranged them in a yard sale soup tureen and put them in the middle of the family room and wished myself a happy Mother’s Day.

And now?

I want to celebrate with you.

I want to send you flowers and wish you a Happy Mother’s Day and entertain you with a little story…..

….all about kids and the mothers who learn from them. 🙂

Teaching life lessons to the next generation is hard.

You begin with the standards.

Be kind to others.

Open the door for your mother.

Be nice to your sister.  Hold your fork properly.  Don’t wear white after Labor Day.

You ask for a please and tell someone to say thank you and remind them to take their plate to the sink and assign chores and follow up on their homework and discourage bullying of any kind and you cross your fingers and ten toes and hope that it all sticks.

You wonder if you are making a difference as a parent.  You wonder if anyone is listening.  You wonder if the chicks will fly when they leave the nest.

And then?

One day you see a glimpse.  A glimmer.  A spark of the adult they will become.

And it makes all the trying worth every word.

Last week I finally finished the bedroom upstairs.

This room belongs to one of the twins and she wanted to design it herself.  She requested blue with a side of blue with a little more blue sprinkled on top.  It took a family to decorate a room.  My husband hung the curtains and unrolled a new rug.  My daughters made up the bed with new bedding and my younger son painted a wall with chalkboard paint.

He wasn’t happy about it.

He’s seventeen with broad shoulders and short brown hair and a few whiskers trying to poke through and way more important things to do than help his mother get a room ready for his sister.

Begrudgingly he gave us a few minutes of his super busy day.

He’s an almost-man of few words.  He’s an animal lover and an athlete and a never-sit-stiller.  He loves basketball and baseball and running like the wind.  Our days with him are growing short.  In a couple of years he’ll be off to college and all this interrupting his day with family time will be a thing of the past.

We were right in the middle of decorating.

I was arranging the chairs and directing the twins as they made the bed, when suddenly he paused his chalkboard painting and turned toward me.

“Mom,” he said.  “What’s that song that GIGI used to sing to me when I was little?” 

Surprised, I paused to think.  “You mean Ragtime Cowboy Joe?”

“Yes,” he smiled.  “That’s the one.  How does it go?”

Then quietly, softly, in that upstairs room in the corner of our farmhouse, to the swish of the paintbrush and the clink of the curtain rods, I started to sing.

“Out in Arizona where the bad men are

Only thing to guide you is the evening star

The roughest, toughest man by far 

Is Ragtime Cowboy Joe”

He got his name from singin’ to the cattle and the sheep

Every night he sings that herd to sleep

In a basso voice so rich and deep

Crooning soft and low he always sings”

                                                                 ~Grant Clark

As I sang that song my father used to sing to all of us on long ago on road trips, the song passed down from generation to generation, the song he had sung to my children when they were little, the entire family joined in.

We danced and sang and giggled until the room rang with laughter.

Later, when we finished singing and the room was done, I turned to my son and asked  “What made you think of that song?  Why did you want me to sing it?

He smiled at me.

The kind of smile you put in your pocket and bring out on a rainy day.

“I just thought of it when I was painting,” he said.  Then he added, “I want to learn it.  I want to remember all the words…

….so I can sing it to my kids one day.”


The most important lesson of all?

The lesson you learn the day your children teach you right back. 🙂

PS  Here’s the room after we finished decorating it.

PPS  Here are my best tips for gardening and planting hydrangea.

PPPS Happy Mother’s Day. 🙂

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


  1. Image for Kathleen Sullivan Cockrel Kathleen Sullivan Cockrel

    Made me cry again!! Those flowers!! Those children!! I love y'all so much!!! ❤️❤️❤️??????????

  2. Image for Basia Basia

    Oh my word! I absolutely love the pop of color to your room! It creates an intense focal point that I wish I could smell through my computer screen!!!! A truly sweet story about your son. Thank you. I look forward to your blog every morning.

  3. Image for Kathie Grignon Kathie Grignon

    And happy Mother's Day to you! The room is stunning and the story inspirational. Thank you for inviting us into your life.

  4. Image for Kathryn Kathryn

    The flowers are gorgeous, the blue room is perfect and your son's comment touched my heart. I have 2 daughters, 1 son, 5 grandsons and 2 great grandsons so I have gone through that with my own children and now experiencing it with my grandsons. It is such a blessing! Happy Mothers Day!

  5. Image for Suzy McCowen Suzy McCowen

    Oh, KariAnne, there's a lump in my throat! Such a sweet story! They grow up so fast! My youngest turned 35 in April and he has five children, who are growing up too fast. The blue, blue & blue room is gorgeous! Happy Mother's Day!

  6. Image for Diana Young Hall Diana Young Hall

    Awww, brought tears to my eyes. As a Mom of three sons, those precious moments get more and more fleeting as they get older but are so very sweet when they happen. Cherish it all! Gorgeous room and flowers. Have a wonderful Mother's Day.

  7. Image for june june

    Happy Mother's Day Miss Karianne❤ I love this story.. enjoy these special moments with that young man. College will be here before you know it You are reminding me to sit down and write the words to a few little songs I made up for my boys. The room is all the blue sprinkles.

  8. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    Yep...again....tears! Those are the moments, we as moms, live for!! ( Or grammatically speaking...those are the moments we live for as moms! ). Happy Mother's Day Karianne! ;)

  9. Image for Michelle Michelle

    And Happy Mother's Day to you too! My pockets are full with those moments and they're still coming. I try not to look back at the difficult moments when I wondered what terrible parenting crime I'd committed to cause such teenage turmoil. But if I do, I just remind myself what incredibly awesome parents they've become and look forward to the next generation of incredible people. Side note: Mom used to sing to us, among other things, "Don't Fence Me In." I loved it!

  10. Image for NormaJean NormaJean

    What a beautiful, light and airy, blue, sprinkled with blue, room! I love your family stories! You and that guy with the brown, twinkling eyes, are definitely doing something right!!!

  11. Image for Peg Peg

    I think you have probably the sweetest family over there at Thistlewood Farm!! Love this story, love the room, love YOU! Happy Mother's Day Miss KariAnne!! xo

  12. Image for Ellen Ellen

    The very Happiest of Mother's Days to YOU! Love this story. My youngest daughter is Mother to my 3 yr. old grandson, Benjamin - one of my heart's greatest joys! Recently she was trying to get him to listen and repeated one of my old euphemisms. She stopped and looked at me saying "I sound just like you did and it works!" That was parenting success to me, it's never to late.

  13. Image for michele michele

    i'm a little farther down the mom road than you are , and I can tell you it even gets better ...some day you will hear your children teach the same lessons you taught them to their children. It will truly warm your heart!!! happy mom's day! enjoy

  14. Image for Roxann Roxann

    That young man is Super Special. Keep is openness available to you. Daughter did good on her room choices. Eye absorbing color in the flower arrangement. Are you sure you just picked those old petals from the yard? Beautiful.

  15. Image for Nancy @ Slightly Coastal Nancy @ Slightly Coastal

    I've always loved this story and reminds me of the story I wrote about the day I discovered my teenage son had a real sense of humor. Happy Mother's Day to you, sweet mom/fantastic writer/picture-taker/decorator/joke-teller. Nancy

  16. Image for Sherry Sherry

    This might be my favorite story of all your commentaries! My mother told me a few stories along the way; However my maternal grandmother who always had a family story! She described in detail my Stout and Marlin ancestors....tomorrow night my 11 year old grandson, asked to spend the night. He always snuggles up to his Paa and asks for a story.....generation to generation!

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

    Awww! I love it! Your kids are great -- you know, their minds are sponges and they soak up so much. When we least expect it they dribble out little bits of what they've soaked up. My mother's day song was Mamma by Pavarotti. I know my mamma is listening. Happy Mother's Day. ?Your flowers are gorgeous. Were you hanging from the ceiling when you took that overhead shot??

  18. Image for Sue Swenson Sue Swenson

    Thank you so much for all your lovely posts. I so look forward to them. FAMILY is the best! Happy Mother's Day pretty lady!

  19. Image for Gail Gail

    I have 2 boys and they both remember all the different things I did when they were young. They remind me sometimes and I get such joy that it remains important to them.. That's what being a mom is all about. They are both my best buds.

  20. Image for Celeste Celeste

    My mom would sing old hymns to me as we rode along in the car. I am so glad she did because she didn't let those songs become obscure and lost for my generation and also because they will always be associated with her. I can't help but think of driving down the rode singing together whenever I hear "In the Garden".

  21. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Oh, sweet KariAnne, tears for me, too. Your stories are always so touching. I love the blue-blue-blue room, your kids, you...oh...and your red lipstick! Happy Mother's Day, sweet one! :D

  22. Image for Kris Kris

    Well, your daughter will have to move out, cuz I'm moving right into her room! ;) It's a beautiful place for a girl to dream. And ... your son sounds like a dream.

  23. Image for Teresa Bebout Teresa Bebout

    I wa sitting on my porch reading this story and it made me smile, that happy smile of times remembered with my parents and my grandparents! ?

  24. Image for Bonnie Schulte Bonnie Schulte

    Every story you tell, every room you decorate, your family, all of your sighs...always bring a smile, and why.... I don't know, and tears to my eyes. Love you, thanks again for sharing the best of life with all of us..Have a terrific Mother's Day!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Mmm, he's a tad bit like you, Miz karianne...a mover and a shaker! And a deep thinker, just when you least expect it, huh. You. Are. Blessed. And I'm blessed for knowing you! Thank you for another sweet lesson shared. Happy Mother's Day, little one. PS the room looks great!

  26. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Beautiful. Every word. Happy Mother's Day, friend!! Lots to be thankful for with your littles and not so littles!

  27. Image for Alice Hanson Alice Hanson

    KariAnne oh KariAnne! I love that post! This why it's so special to me. The last day I was in Oz, taking grandson Hunter to school. I was teary eyed. He said Ghee let's sing " I'll be down to get you in a taxi honey"! That was my grandmothers and mothers and daughters pass along song. He knew how to pull my heart strings. He loves that he and I sing that song ! Happy Mother's Day to one incredible Mother. Smiles, alice

  28. Image for Cecilia Cecilia

    How wonderful to have those memories and for him to want to be able to pass it along to his children some day. Sweet! The room is beautiful too. Happy Mother's Day, Karianne!

  29. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    What a blessing, KariAnne. The Lord sure does give you some wonderful (epic) moments in your life. And... I'm so glad you share them with us!

  30. Image for Helen Helen

    You have a way with words that always make me smile. Question for you. Where did you get those pink round stools (poofs) in your daughter's room.

  31. Image for Stephanie Ray Brown Stephanie Ray Brown

    Another marvelous memory keeping story! My son is much like yours.... except he graduated this year I know that smile that you are talking about...same smile that could get him out of trouble if I was having a good dsy. Same smile he had as he looked in the mirror as he adjusted his graduation cap. He smiled because I had said " well hansome! Do you feel all grown up?" That smile came with his reply I sure do! So I plastered a fake grin on my face as it was his special night. But as he drove away my heart was saying no you don't look grown... just a baby... my baby always... my baby boy and last angel on loan. Yes it is his time to Soar like an angel amd yes eagle and do all the great things God had planned for him even before he was born! So excited... for him. But praying that this empty nest syndrome will be ok.. cause right now thinking it is for the birds.

  32. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Gorgeous bouquet and pretty blue room. The story about your son really struck a note with me. I learned that song at Girl Scout Camp when I was a kid and I taught it, along with dozens of other silly songs, to my girls. It's so great when you see that both important lessons and fun nonsense all made an impression on your kids. And it's very gratifying to know that even if they roll their eyes at you, they do appreciate your love and care and wish to pass those lessons on to their own kids.

Comments are closed.