I still remember when my son took his first step.

He was sixteen months old and I had given up all hope.

I’d read all the books and studied all the charts and I knew that most children were supposed to start walking a little after they turned one. Thirteen months went by and then fourteen months went by and at fifteen months he was still holding onto the edge of the coffee table.

Not one step.

Not a moving foot to be found.

I wrang my hands and sobbed to my mother and took him to the doctor and cried into my pillow. My mother smiled and told me it was fine. The doctor patted me on the back and told me it was fine. I told myself it was fine, but just between us? I was worried.

So I decided to help him practice. I’d hold his hand and we’d walk together. With his tiny fingers curled around mine and with great encouragement and support, he’d take a step and then another step and another and another.

Lean on me little one, I told him. I got you. I’m here for you.

I’ll watch you every step of the way.

I’ll be your support for as long as you need me.

And then?

Just like the doctor told me. Just like my mother told me. One day, he let go of my hand and took his very first step all by himself. I watched in amazement and thought to myself that’s what parents are for.

To lean on.

Until you can make it on your own.

Two weeks ago my husband threw out his back.

I heard a yell from the top of the landing and we rushed upstairs to see him right here next to this railing on his knees.

He had twisted something the wrong way and he was frozen in place with his face white with pain.

His back couldn’t move.

He couldn’t move.

Twenty-five minutes later we finally managed to get him to the bed.

He couldn’t really lay down, so we propped him up with pillows and his feet off to one side, just comfortable enough to make it through the night.

When he woke up in the morning there wasn’t really any change, so we decided he needed to go to urgent care.

And I panicked.

How would I move him?

How would I get him downstairs?

And then?

His father showed up.

His strong, sturdy, steadfast father took charge and drove to our house and walked upstairs, bringing my son with him.

Together they lifted my husband.

My son on his right and his father on his left.

They shouldered his burden. They bore his weight. They steadied his step.



They helped him to walk down these stairs, one painful step at a time.

And me?

I stood at the top of the stairs with tears running down my face watching those sturdy arms supporting my husband.

Three generations of men.

Leaning on each other.

Lifting each other up.

I looked at my son.

So strong.

So brave.

Lifting his father one step at a time.

Lean on me dad, I heard him say. I got you.

I’m here for you. I’ll watch you every step of the way.

I’ll be your support for as long as you need me.

Until the day you can make it on your own.

Isn’t that what family is for?

To be there in the hard times.

To lift each other up.

To lean on each other when the road ahead is uncertain.

And walk beside and support each other…

…every step of the way.

PS My husband’s back is so much better now.

I am so thankful for my father-in-law and my sons who were his rock when he needed them.

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


  1. Image for Lynda Lynda

    This brought me to tears. It is so true! We need to be there for each other in good time and in bad. So glad to hear that your hubby feels better.

  2. Image for Eileen Eileen

    Well, now I'm here crying on a Monday morning. So poignant and sweet and true!!! Thanks for another beautiful post. I'm so happy your hubby is feeling better.

  3. Image for Juliet Juliet

    Way to make a girl tear up on a Monday morning. Two beautiful stories of family love and support. Wishing you a wonderful week. xo

  4. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    Always love a good Thistle-read! Love thinking about how we ALWAYS need to lean on our Father... He will always be there, never leave us nor forsake us. And we can NEVER do it without Him, and I, for one, wouldn't want to! Thanks for making me think of the Lord through this, KariAnne! Glad your hubby's back is better! (Pinned to my Thistle-reads Board!)

  5. Image for Marisa Franca Stewart Marisa Franca Stewart

    Okay, I'm crying so forgive me if I goof up the spelling. What a wonderful story -- best that is what family is for. You moved to be closer to your family and so did we. That was the best decision wasn't it? Prayers that Hubby gets all better soon. Sending huge virtual hugs!!

  6. Image for Barbara Barbara

    Sweet sweet sweet! Glad sparkling eyes is better- I'm sure you have a great photo of the 3 generations♥. (Not necessarily that day!)

  7. Image for Katy Katy

    KariAnne, lovely story to share. Family is so important! So very touching to read this. Off to find a tissue! Hope he heals completely! Gentle hugs to all of you!

  8. Image for Perry Perry

    Wow. Wasn’t expecting it, but the tears just came. Beautiful story. You’re a rich woman! Thank you for sharing this. Perry

  9. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    That is what family is for and thankfully they were close by to help 💜. So happy to hear your husband’s back is doing better!!


    What a tear jerker! You know how to bring them on. Glad your husband's back is better and that his dad and your son could be the strength he needed. You know how to tell a Monday tear story. :)

  11. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    Thank you for sharing your story. What a perfect beginning to a new day. My husband had bilateral total knee replacement less than two weeks ago. He has needed help every step of the way. It has been a blessing to be the one for him to lean on. We have five children, four boys and one girl. They have all left the nest. There have times that I wished one of my strong sons were here to help. My 84 year old father lives nearby and has stepped in a time or two to assist. Families truly are a gift from God!

  12. Image for Angie Parmer Angie Parmer

    And God, our Heavenly Father, does the same for us. When we need a helping hand to take steps that we are sometimes uncertain of....He is there for us.❤️

  13. Image for Marlene Marlene

    Dang you have me crying, your story touch my heart! I have problems with my back (L4 and L5) so I understand the kind of pain your husband was in, glad he is on the mend. Love your writing!

  14. Image for Darlene Darlene

    Such a lovely story. Glad your husband is doing better. Family and our father are so important. We have a farm and we are so fortunate to have one son and his family beside us and the other is only ten minutes away. Also have four fully grown beautiful strong grandsons who help us a lot. Hugs to you!

  15. Image for Kristin Kristin

    When I was 12 my mom sneezed while making our lunches one morning and put out her back. There she was on the floor and our dad was out of town so I went to our neighbor across the street for help. Together we put my mom on the ironing board and we lifted her into the back of our neighbor's station wagon and she took her to the hospital. My long ago neighbor Judy passed away last week and I just want to say a special thank you to those people that you can lean on when the chips (or your mom) are down.

  16. Image for Holly Holly

    I love your stories. Since I first learned about blogs, I have subscribed and unsubscribed to a lot of blogs, but I am always drawn to your gift for words. Probably just as much as the decorating fun that you post, is the storytelling. Love them!

  17. Image for Terry Terry

    Well now... how COULD you leave me sitting here crying, only to leave us with a cliff hanger!! Next time make up something for the rest of the story. You can give us one of your " total aside" and tell us you added that part on ! You are a great story teller/writer and I really enjoy your blog and stories,

  18. Image for Ange Ange

    This brought me to tears. I am glad that your husband is feeling much better. Four and a half years ago, I watched my two sons support their dad out to our vehicle for a trip to the hospital. We lost him 2 days later. At the time, our sons were 16 and 18. Way too young to lose their support, confidant, advisor, and dad.

    1. Image for Ann Ann

      So very sorry for your loss, Ange! So sad to lose someone so beloved way too soon, but I am sure your Heavenly Father has taken good care of you all since, and Heaven is a sweeter place, to quote an over-used but so-true statement. Hugs from Ann

      1. Image for Ange Ange

        Ann, thank you for your kind words. Yes, we have definitely learned that our Heavenly Father has a special place in his heart for fatherless children and widows. (Ps. 68:5) He is truly faithful!

  19. Image for Anne Marie Anne Marie

    That left me in tears as well. Such a wonderful way to remind us of the importance of family. Well done and thank you

  20. Image for Ann Ann

    What sweet photos of your young family! And likewise what a sweet picture you painted in words of family love! I can see by the photos just how painful and difficult it must have been for your husband to labor down that long flight of stairs. But I have to say that your entrance and stairway are stunning! I love your style and love your home! Good to hear your husband is doing better!

  21. Image for D'Ann D'Ann

    What a wonderful story! Maybe your best!!! My 24 year old daughter didn't walk until 16 months due to ear infections & a week after surgery to insert tubes.

  22. Image for Ann Dutze Ann Dutze

    I’m so thankful his back is better! THANK YOU! Beautifully done story telling again that got me all teared up!

  23. Image for Paula Paula

    Loved the story! Tell Denny to feel better soon! You have great men in your life. You chose one, raised one, and inherited one!

  24. Image for Gail Cunningham Gail Cunningham

    Oh KeriAnne, what a beautiful post. It is so true; family holds us together through thick and thin. This coming Thursday marks the 14th year of our 20 year-old's passing. Our family has already begun to hold each other up in anticipation of this painful date. Family gets you through the rough, tough days, and celebrates together in the beautiful, ordinary, sunny days of our lives. Thank you for this reminder during this particular week. ...XO...Gail


      Gail, my heart goes out to you. Hold on to those precious memories as they become more precious as time goes by. Will be thinking of you all on Thursday and praying that you can all enjoy some memories together. God Bless you all!

  25. Image for Karins Kottage Karins Kottage

    Totally made me cry! So beautifully written KariAnne and so so so true! We need each other, we need our families to lean on. I too suffer with a bad back and when it goes out I totally have to rely on my family to help me. What a sweet image of seeing your son who you worried about as a young toddler... helping his father!. So sweet! Thank you for sharing this store of love and compassion and FAMILY! Hugs, Karin

  26. Image for StephanieBrown StephanieBrown

    Oh my in tears! Absolutely live when she share memorykeeping stories sweet friend. Glad your husband is better. I kedp thinking we might need to make a bedroom downstairs as those steps are a struggle if you have surgery and seem to be steeper each and every day.😜 getting old but always young at heart! Keep writing and shining sweet pea!

  27. Image for Leslie Watkins Leslie Watkins

    Oh, my goodness. Straight to the heart this one. What an incredible analogy of how we should look at life. Thankful he’s better, but so thankful you saw the imagery in this event...and shared it. Tucking this away in my heart. ❤️

  28. Image for Ellene Ellene

    So so true! I cried when I read this-so many times I've needed to lean and so many times the holder! Thanks for your sweet blog!!

  29. Image for sandra sandra

    Oh KariAnne, this brought me to tears. My father recently had a stroke and was just discharged from rehab a few days ago. Unfortunately, I live in a different city and was not able to be there to help my father get up the stairs to his main living quarters and had to rely on other family members to help him. However, I am so grateful that another family member who lived closer to my father was able to be there for him. Especially during these trying times, we are all we have and we all have to lean on one another for all types of support. Thank you for sharing your experience.

  30. Image for Kate Bahorich Kate Bahorich

    Thank you for sharing your story Kari. You have such a beautiful way with words. I'm so very glad that you share your gift with us each & every day!

  31. Image for Michele M. Michele M.

    Your stories never fail to bring me to tears. So sweet. I am so happy your hub's back is better- that had to be SO scary! Will keep him in my prayers. Big hugs. ♥

  32. Image for Brocanteuserose Brocanteuserose

    Awww this hit me in all the feels today. My daughter Stella Rose, is medically complicated (you may recall I reached out for pray when we got the news at our 20 week ultrasound) she lived when they told us she wouldn’t, and she has come so far. But there’s lots she cannot do, she lives listening to music and I dance around her nursery and the house with her and I tell her “I will be legs as long as you need me to be”. She’s almost 2 and doesn’t stand or crawl so it might be a long time, but that’s ok! I think of your twins nicu dancing story a lot, because Stella lifts her legs and waves them around when she’s laying in her crib, and I think she’s dancing just like the twins. Just thought I would share, the hope you give me without even knowing. Hugs and thank you.

  33. Image for Gina Gina

    Yes! Family is EVERYTHING! Beautiful story and picture I especially feel for your husband as I threw my back out preparing for a possible hurricane a couple of weeks ago. I was moving heavy potted plants.

  34. Image for Cate Cate

    KariAnne, you never cease to speak to my heart! Thank you dear friend for another of your uplifting stories.💗💗💗💗💗

  35. Image for Carol Carol

    I'm glad your husband is feeling better. This was a beautiful story - it brought tears to my eyes. I have watched my husband go through something similar (not his back) and I know how it feels to be watching the ones you love in pain and not able to help. Yes, that's truly what family is all about - coming together, not only in times of need, but also when the going is good. Thank you for sharing.

  36. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    Great story and that is exactly how families are suppose to be always there to lean on each other or give out hugs. You always have the best stories to tell and thanks for sharing also glad your husband is doing better.

  37. Image for Kris Kris

    Oh goodness. My siblings and I have had quite a couple of weeks dealing with issues with my elderly mom. Yes, we all need to lean on each other from time to time. Glad your husband is doing better.

  38. Image for PJ PJ

    Such a beautiful story, KariAnne! The song "Lean on Me" became a sort of family anthem for my siblings and me after one of my sisters had the unspeakable tragedy of losing her only child to a car accident. That song brings tears to me every time I hear it, but the tears now represent the joy in knowing that I have sisters and brothers who are there for each other in time of need. By the way, Playing for Change has a beautiful rendition of that song being played by musicians all over the world. Thank you for sharing this story. I love the kind words spoken by your son.

  39. Image for Shelly Shelly

    Well, you are the second blogger to make me cry today! Both good things, but brought up memories for me. One about my Mom and one about my Dad! I am glad your husband's back is better. I am a nurse and hurt mine years ago lifting a patient, so now I have to be very careful not to hurt it again. I had one bout that lasted 6 months, it was awful!

  40. Image for Colleen Colleen

    That made me cry. Isn't is awesome to have the generations of our families come together to overcome difficulty? Such a blessing!!!

  41. Image for Susan Susan

    What a powerful story. So relevant for all of us no matter the situation, lean on our Father. Thank you for reminding me. Sb

  42. Image for Maureen Maureen

    Very touching. It made me tear up. Aren't you so proud of your son! Family taking care of family is what life is about. Best wishes and prayers for your husband's back.

  43. Image for Pam Pam

    This made me cry! You know how to reel a person in and make them feel right there. I'm happy your husband is feeling better!

  44. Image for Lorri Lorri

    You have a gift of story telling.I love reading your stories, every one of them. 😍I'm glad your husband is feeling better. Your son has great role models.

  45. Image for Loryl Loryl

    Such a precious story. You had me in tears because even though my dad has been gone for over 30 years I still hear his voice and see his walk in my son, his only grandson. Thank God for the special bond your husband has with his dad and sons. From generation to generation the gift of family togetherness is passed. Well done you!!

  46. Image for Tamira Griffin Tamira Griffin

    What a touching story. I have stage four breast cancer. As pastor told me five years ago when I was diagnosed, I am a person who wants to help others but who doesn’t want anyone to help me. Ive always been that way. But he helped me see that not only did I need the help of others, by denying their offers to lean on them I was actually denying them the blessing of being able to support me. No one had ever explained it that way and it totally changed the way I now look at things—well, most of the time. 🙂

  47. Image for debi debi

    Well, you've made my eyes tear up with your beautiful story. I'm so glad your husband is doing better. I've been following your blog for a long time, but have never commented. I enjoy the photos of your lovely home, but mostly love your beautiful writing.

  48. Image for Alice Genzlinger Alice Genzlinger

    PRAise the Lord🙏🏽 So glad twinkle eyes is better. A hurting back is no joke. Been there done that. Hope it was nothing serious. God bless him.

  49. Image for Mary Mary

    My husband and I are both in our 60’s and have 3 grown sons. We’ve spent our lives helping them and I can see things slowly change where we need them to start helping us. The cycle of life I guess.....love your story, and yes it brought tears to my eyes! So glad your husband is feeling better!!

  50. Image for Cheryl Cheryl

    I'm so glad he is doing better!! Your stories always have so much emotion and this one made me cry!! It is always hard to get older, lol. I am fighting the battle of not remembering things 2 seconds after I did it lol! Have a blessed day friend!!

  51. Image for Laura Estep Laura Estep

    Kari! That made me ugly cry. 😭 That was beautiful. My mom always told me when I was younger "you only have one back, so take care of it." I too have been having some back issues & my mom saying that has been ringing in my ears. Glad to here Denny is on the mend. Many blessings to you & yours.

  52. Image for normajean normajean

    Glad to hear he is better. Back pain is no fun. I love the way you look at life Karieanne! You are such a blessing to so many.

  53. Image for Susan Susan

    Isn't it so touching when we witness the strength and compassion of one of our kids? It is a blessing and affirmation that you did well in raising your son to be caring, kind, and supportive. Those are traits that will surely serve him well! I know you both are proud of him. And God bless your father in law! Happy to hear that your husband is feeling better. I guess you 'll have to give him some time off from DIY projects for a bit until he is fully recovered!

  54. Image for Toni Toni

    BEAUTIFUL!!!!! Back pain is no fun and can be so debilitating. I remember when my back went out once and I was on the floor and my son had to help me up! Yes....a true picture of what family is to be for one another! Glad your hubby is better.

  55. Image for Peg Peg

    Ok, lump in my throat. You are such an amazing writer - I could see it all in my mind's eye. Glad Mr. twinkling blue eyes is feeling better. xoxo

  56. Image for Sharon H Sharon H

    Oh my goodness, so glad those twinkling brown eyes are able to smile again. Glad he's feeling better, and thanks for another glimpse into your remarkable family.

  57. Image for Selena Selena

    Well this brought tears to my eyes. What a beautiful post. Thank you for sharing! So happy to hear your hubby is doing better.

  58. Image for Tracey Tracey

    This is so sweet and so true. I’m so glad your husband is doing better. Thanks for sharing your beautiful family with us.

  59. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    Awwww, another gem, KariAnne! Your heart is as big as all outdoors. Praying Twinkle-eyes is back to normal. ~ I remember when our second son wouldn't walk unless he was holding onto a flashlight! Thank you for your stories. I love every one of them! ❤

  60. Image for Diane Diane

    A lovely correlation between the support of the parent for the child, and the reverse as the child grows, and the picture you painted did indeed bring tears,but I also want to tell you how sweet the picture of your son as a little boy and of your young family are. A different kind of tears appeared as I saw that sweet little face. So adorable!

  61. Image for Janet Cole Janet Cole

    Oh, I’ve been where Denny was so many times! I’m so glad he’s recovering...TENS unit is a lifesaver. Sending great big hugs - miss you so much! Lots to fill you in about and big plans coming up....love you!


    KariAnne, thanks for sharing your beautiful heart with us in this wonderful post. How touching to see that your son was telling his dear Dad to "lean on me" just as you had told him years before. And how wonderful that your concerns about getting your hubby down the stairs were met when his dad and your son were there to take care of things. Family means everything, doesn't it -- and especially when family is so close and care for one another? What a blessing this is! We continue to pray that your hubby will be healed and never have this problem again. Such a cute picture of Buddy! I know that he knew that something was wrong! Have a great week, dear friend. I appreciate you so much and thank God for you!


    KariAnne, I forgot to mention those pictures of your dear son and your family picture! Just precious! Bless you all!

  64. Image for Brenda Nicholson Brenda Nicholson

    That is such a beautiful story. I'm glad your husband is OK and that you are near family so they can help when it's needed. And your son was the most adorable little boy ever. He looks like you, and I'm sure he's a very handsome man now. Thank you for all that you do. It's always such a treat to read your blog.

  65. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    Wonderful photo! I cannot imagine what you went through when you son would not walk until he was 16 months old. But now you have him helping his dad, so everything is fine. I do not cry, but there were tears in my eyes this morning. This is such a remarkable story. Tell Denny I prayed for him and hope all stays well!!!

  66. Image for Dot VanBeek Dot VanBeek

    Tears. Family is truly a blessing. I'm so glad to hear your husband's back is feeling better. Sending a gentle hug for you.

  67. Image for Jolyn Jolyn

    Oh, KariAnne, you made me cry! This is why I love reading your blog... Please never change your sweet heart! I'm reading this a few days late, because my baby boy just had his baby boy, making me a Lolli! Just looking at the two of them makes my heart sing.

  68. Image for Lynne Lynne

    Perfect timing..,hubby is currently bedridden and closest relative is 2 hours away. Son is a patient help when he’s here! Your posts bring me a sweet moment of love, joy and peace!

  69. Image for Staci Staci

    I have heard so much about you from my mother in law, Ann Dutze. I cannot wait for your next class, she is going to sponsor me! I admire what you have brought to life and I cannot wait to talk more. With Love, Staci Dutze

  70. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    Isn't it funny how God works things out? (Your son being home and Denny's dad being able to help.) And now Denny's back is better.

  71. Image for Carolyn Carolyn

    I can’t tell you how many times you make me well up with tears while reading your beautiful stories! Thank you (and so happy your husband is feeling much better!)

  72. Image for Nancy Nancy

    Oh Karianne -my heart stood still when I read the intro to this post. Thank heavens indeed for strong men to help and for family. We who are so fortunate are sooo fortunate. I’m ever so relieved that adventure is over. And I love the photo from long ago of the 3 of you!

  73. Image for Rev. Suzanne Taylor Rev. Suzanne Taylor

    KariAnne, I empathize with you about that time in your life when your husband injured his back. My husband, Larry, fell off a roof onto a ladder and broke his back when he was 30. He never had a job from then on. As our son grew, he became Larry's leaning post on the worse days. I was it on the bad days. We were it together on the impossible days. For 42 years Larry suffered. Larry went home November 2015. He'll never hurt again. I join you in praising God your guy had a good recovery.

Comments are closed.