We have a family playlist for the car.

A list of songs that are true classics.

Songs that have been played for years….the lyrics memorized long ago.

Songs that only achieve their full potential when they are sung at the top of your lungs with your head moving side to side…..complete with hand motions and an occasional “Ooo Ooo.”

In unison.

Call it family bonding.


Here’s our family-bonding playlist:

The Eye of the Tiger/Survivor

The Lion Sleeps Tonight/ Solomon Linda and the Evening Birds

Long Black Train/Josh Turner

All Star/ Smash Mouth

We Are the Champions/Queen

Classics…..each and every one.



As usual, the other day the playlist was blaring in the car…..

…..with each of us singing like an American Idol audition was just around the corner.


And somewhere between “Hey now….you’re an all star….get your game on…..go play” and “It’s the eye of the tiger…..it’s the thrill of the fight”….

My twelve-year old paused the music.

And looked at me with all of the earnestness a twelve-year-old boy can muster.


“Uhh…..mom.  I don’t really think I can sing these songs much longer.”

(followed by an extraordinary amount of throat clearing)

“It’s getting really hard to sing….you know….  (and with great effort and some more throat clearing…..he finished with….)

                                       …..you know…..with my voice getting so low and all.”



To my credit…..I said nothing.

I sat there with my hands on the steering wheel.

Staring straight ahead.

Part of me wanting to laugh.

Part of me wanting to cry.

Part of me afraid to turn a look at him in case he had grown a moustache and seven inches in the last five minutes.


He’s growing up this skateboarding, cup-cake-eating, wildlife-sanctuary-creator of mine.

So I gave the statement all of the solemn consideration it deserved…..

…..and reached over to slowly turn back on the playlist.

And as Smash Mouth started the chorus again, I turned to him and smiled,

“I think you’ll be fine……

……as long as you sing bass.”  🙂


PS  Thirty minutes later he was making a fort in the creek…..maybe his bass-singing days will just have to wait.

PPS  What songs are at the top of your playlist?  We are always looking for suggestions 🙂

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  1. Image for Lorraine Lorraine

    Awww....how cute is he? We always sang together when my girls were growing up...back then they knew ALL the Beatles and the Beach Boys because my husband was a fan. The grandparents would sing all the REALLY oldies too and they learned Beautiful Dreamer, Red Red Robin (or Wed Wed Wobbin...depending on who was singing) and many others.....enjoy these years. Now, no one is happy unless they are listening to the nasty rap (I like some of the good rap) so I don't even turn on the radio. I love Smash Mouth and the Black Eyed Peas and Vivaldi..... Blessings, Lorraine

  2. Image for Karen H Karen H

    My kids make fun of my playlist but always sing along with it. Actually, it's called "Mom's Lame Playlist". (Their name, not mine) Pump It - Black Eyed Peas Unbelievable - EMF I Wanna Hold Your Hand - Beatles Indian Reservation - Paul Revere and the Raiders Let's Stay Together - Al Green

  3. Image for Kim Kim

    Great now I have that song stuck in my head. Oh me he is growing up. It is weird when there voice changes and they get taller than you and they look down at you when you are trying to punish them.

  4. Image for Camille Camille

    Oh my, I hope I handle that one a smoothly as you did. My oldest turned 12 a few weeks ago. I still can't believe it. As for some of our family favs: Yellow Submarine- Beatles Party Rock Anthem- LMFAO Black & Gold- K. Gates Wavin' Flag- K'naan Thriller- Michael Jackson

  5. Image for Judy Judy

    A few years ago my "baby boy" (now 37) brought me out to sit in his big boy H2 Hummer and said "mama here's a song I've got on my playlist just for you" and proceeded to play Michael Jackson's "Billy Jean"...he had one of those systems in that truck that made you think you were on the front row of a concert...it made my day! And when we go out on his boat he plays more songs he's saved just for me! This is truly a "tween" time for your sweet boy.....and I'll bet you'll catch him singing along in the car for quite a bit longer. xoxo, Judy

  6. Image for shirley@housepitalitydesigns shirley@housepitalitydesigns

    Oh, finally, you made him a the "blogland rock star"...Watch out Justin Bieber....you got some competition coming...if not in the voice department, definitely in the looks department..... I remember those days...those days of squeaky voices....the boys...all close friends....growing up together...at one point they very well could have formed a great boy's band...with all tones, soprano, baritone...each with their "own voice"..... So now...your "little boy"...not so little anymore....living the "in-between"...deciding whether to build that fort, or join the rock band... However...soon....he will find "his very own voice"...... OK...playlist...just to name a few:.... Born to be Wild....Steppenwolf Gimme Some Lovin.....Spencer Davis Band Up.....Shania Twain

  7. Image for Anne Presley Anne Presley

    Our playlist was whatever Dad sang - things like the Atlantic City High fight song or Dancing Matilda or even Take me Home, country roads/West Virgina. The most of amazing thing is that even today any of the 5 kids can sing any song off the playlist -music to my ears! A word of advice- make sure you want to hear those same lyrics 30 years from now - if not quickly change that list.

  8. Image for Anne Anne

    Karianne, you know I love you. I read everything you write faithfully and enjoy every word of it, but once you get me started laughing, I see humour in EVERYTHING. So between your choice of words and the way my mind works, I got my biggest laugh from the line "he had grown ... seven inches in the last five minutes". I know, I know it's a sickness ;P xox

  9. Image for Kathy@ Pearls in Paradise Kathy@ Pearls in Paradise

    There are days when you will say, "Yay, he's growing up!", and others when you will say, "oh no, he's growing up." About 6 months ago I packed away my 15 year old son's Legos because they had been sitting so long in the giant bin in his room untouched and lonely. There were a few tears that day! Now his voice has completely dropped, he is towering over me (doesn't take much to do this!), and getting his learner's permit! Keep on singing!

  10. Image for Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage Kelly @ Eclectically Vintage

    Gotta have a family playlist - ours has lots of Springsteen, Lady GaGa, Adele and some Taylor Switft and Justin Bieber thrown into the mix! My sister told me that my nephews voice changed (he's 15). I just saw him two months ago, so I was surprised to hear this manly voice coming from a kid with no facial hair and skinny as a rail! I didn't have as much restraint as you - I did guffaw out loud! Kelly

  11. Image for Betsy(@coastal-colors) Betsy(@coastal-colors)

    He's so handsome- such a cute personality! Okay, Queen and We are the Champions gets me going! Playlist, I will Survive by Diana Ross. I'm a Motown girl! I'm showing my age! Yikes!

  12. Image for Bevelry Bevelry

    Ah, such a sweet guy. He reminds me of my grandson who is thirteen years old. I love singing in the car. On the way to work the songs are rocking. On the way home from work the songs are hymns to sooth my soul.

  13. Image for judi judi

    out of the mouths of babes...what a cutie! i must say i was with you teetering between a laugh and an awwww. but the cuteness of the statement won and i caved in and giggled...ok so i laughed out loud (but with sincerity). as for the playlist, i love some of the real oldies...like 40's & 50's music. of course, these were all songs way before my time. however, having older siblings their tastes rubbed off on me. i love me some nat king cole, louie armstrong, the righteous brothers and the beach boys, an occasional beatles and even elvis, you get the drift...or the music. i also love straight, no chaser (acapella love) as they sing lots of old music. judi

  14. Image for Rita@thissortaoldlife Rita@thissortaoldlife

    Kari, I love this post. I have my own boy with a changing voice and hair just appearing on his upper lip. Had to suggest this week that it would be time to shave soon. Yes--laugh, cry, fear all in the same moment. All the time. Hang in there, mom!

  15. Image for SheilaG SheilaG

    Oh, my, what a moment in time. Some things that may seem so insignificant nevertheless get a marker on our memory timeline. Sweet. When my son was in 7th grade, all the kids were required to be in chorus. They were divided into the usual alto, tenor, etc- plus a special secton for the boys whose voices changed from one moment to the next. We'll just call it the bullfrog section.

  16. Image for Tam Tam

    Your son is adorable! I like all those songs too...this post made me smile. I have daughters, but still made me smile :)

  17. Image for Vanessa Vanessa

    Oh sure...way to make me weepy first thing in the morning! My son is turning 9 next month and that stage seems far away and yet I know it will be here before we know it. Ugh...I think you handled that like the American Idol you are! ;-) We have family dance night at our house so we definitely have our favorites we like to rock out to while we do the "sprinkler". LOL! Definitely lots of oldies (Beatles, Beach Boys) and my son loves the Go-Go's and the song "Walking on Sunshine". Sometimes I've even been known to do some serious car dancing to "Old McDonald's Farm" cause, you know, when you've got the moves you can pretty much show them off to any song! Vanessa

  18. Image for Kolein Kolein

    "The world is mud-luscious and puddle-wonderful." -E.E. Cummings "One of the best things in the world to be is a boy; it requires no experience, but needs some practice to be a good one." Charles Dudley Warner "The boy gathers materials for a temple, and then when he is thirty, concludes to build a woodshed." Henry David Thoreau Kari, Your boys is Beautiful!!! Aren't they all? <3 ps - I have tears in my eyes after reading your post this morning, whilst eating a more traditional breakfast of scrambled eggs and a bagel! Love you!! Playlist? We all sing our own song. xo

  19. Image for Andrea Andrea

    sweet! My girls are most recently obsessed (and by obsessed, I really mean listening 24 hrs a day) with Abba songs, thanks to watching Mamma Mia. They think their old Mom has finally lost it when I tell them that I used to listen to Abba when I was little.....Abba is far too cool, in their opinion, to have possibly been around 'in the olden days'. It really shocked them (and probably embarrased them) when Mom knew all the words, and was rockin' out to a little Dancing Queen.

  20. Image for Aunt Lou Aunt Lou

    Well, now! Playlist? Only my son has anything close to that! Our family sang in the car (I think it was a strategy Mom employed to stave of car sickness.. and fighting.) I must be ancient, compared to you! My parents sang songs their parents knew and WWI & II songs. There's a Long Long Trail A-Winding springs to mind (though it does not spring as quickly as it used to, I MUST be ancient!) Then there were the rounds... Row, Row, Row Your Boat was the first we learned, I think. Try adding THOSE to your playlist! :)

  21. Image for Jen (Arriving) Jen (Arriving)

    Aww, I love it when you do "Mom" posts :-) I've got a 10 going on 11 one here who just starting stinking to high heaven. Deodorant. I wanted to laugh and cry for that too. :-) He's all Mr. Big one minute and then you find him curled up on the couch with his blanket (Hazards of Dad's work trip being extended). xo, Jen

  22. Image for Michele Michele

    OK. I cried. Sigh. That's so special I don't even know what to say, what a sweet gal you are and what a sweet, changing, wonderful awesome son you have. And he is so danged cute - yes, he is a rock star. Funny, too, that Smash Mouth song will ALWAYS remind me of my nephew Tony who is 15 and just got his temporary driving learner's permit......he LOVED that song and used to sing it ALL the time at the top of HIS lungs. Seems like yesterday!!! Now when I call my sister's I can barely recognize his voice. My how the years fly. Big hugs. And need to go find some tissue now.

  23. Image for Lisa@budgetdesigngirl.blogspot.com Lisa@budgetdesigngirl.blogspot.com

    I could not decide whether to giggle or get teary...so I did both! It goes so fast! This time almost 5 years ago, we were half way around the world in Japan, picking up this beautiful little baby boy of ours. He is now so big, it's hard for me to pick him up for long. We always thought that he would not be incredibly big, since most asian kids are not, but he says he's going to get big like Daddy, and darn it if it's not true. His doctor says he could be at least 6 ft. We have a family play list too, and I am already worried about the day my only child will be to big, or too cool to be goofy with his mama. I hope he will always humor me! Love this post! Your son is gorgeous! I know you MUST be such a fun mom! xo-Lisa

  24. Image for RHome410 @ Friday is Pizza, Monday is Soup RHome410 @ Friday is Pizza, Monday is Soup

    Unfortunately, fort building in creeks doesn't keep the voice from changing... I remember when our oldest boy was 12. He grew 6 inches, and all the sudden, one day I thought I heard my husband home from work... but knew he wasn't. It was my 'little boy' with the new grown man timbre to his voice.

  25. Image for Angie @ Beneath the Magnolias Angie @ Beneath the Magnolias

    That's so sweet. I told my husband I feel like I took a nap and woke up and they weren't babies anymore. It's hard. :( I just have to tell myself we are moving on to another stage in life and that it's going to get better and better. I can't wait for pillowpalooza! Angie :)

  26. Image for everton terrace everton terrace

    That was adorable. Eye of the Tiger brought back a flood of memories - we did a pom pon routine to that one in high school. Can't remember one single step of it now. I would add a couple classics, Yesterday, Delta Dawn, The Tide is High, In The Ghetto, Here Comes the Sun, With a Little Help from my Friends, Brandy throw in some Neil Diamond, Abba, Trisha Yearwood, Wynonna Judd, Duffy and some Eagles and I'm on a fun road trip :)

  27. Image for laxsupermom laxsupermom

    When my friends would call the house and would start talking to my son like he was my husband and he would have to say, "Um this is WD," I knew my little boy wasn't so little anymore. We listen to show tunes. Les Miserables, Sweeney Todd, etc. I insist on loud singing.

  28. Image for Cindy Cindy

    My play list is full of old-time stories, not songs. I love symphonies, jazz and a bit of Southern Gospel. That's it. Such a sweet story about your sun, I remember when my son was 12, that was 22 years ago next Sunday. I know I'm not old enough to have a child that age, I must have had him when I was five.:) Hugs, Cindy

  29. Image for Revi Revi

    Aaaawww! Nice mommy. It brings back sweet memories and makes me miss my children when they were little. I still have them and they're young adults now, and I love them dearly, but I'd like to have a day with them as children again. :) -Revi

  30. Image for Jo-Anne Jo-Anne

    Love the play list some really cool songs on it, but your son cracked me up I could just hear him saying what he did sounding all serious..................

  31. Image for Gwen Gwen

    And when they can almost look you in the eye? When you yourself are almost 6 ft tall? You stand on your tippy toes and tell them to go back upstairs and clean their room...so they don't see you with tears in your eyes...

  32. Image for Diana Kotecki Diana Kotecki

    Your darling boy is absolutely adorable. What a gut wrenching moment! You always know those kinds of things are coming but then when they hit you are still a little surprised. Can't wait to see your pillow!

  33. Image for Aramelle {One Wheeler's World} Aramelle {One Wheeler's World}

    Well, thanks. Now I get to end my Thursday evening a big, blubbery mess. I hope when the time comes, I'm able to handle these situations with the same grace with which you handled this one!

  34. Image for Tammie Tammie

    He is a little cuttie! I had commented to a mom just the other day about how her son was really growing up........her response to me " yes he is, but I don't have to like it" :( How well put was that??? Love the play list, I'm a true 70's and 80's girl!

  35. Image for Sandi ~ A Cottage Muse Sandi ~ A Cottage Muse

    When my kids were little we used to listen to Frank Sinatra on road trips together. "Summer Wind" will be the song my daughter dances to with her Dad when she gets married. "Fly Me To The Moon" is for my son and I. They are only 22 and 17 so we have plenty of time before those days! Great memories on that CD...thanks ol' blue eyes!

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