2013 was the year the weeds took over Thistlewood Farms.

They partied like they owned the place and planned fancy soirees and threw Weed-a-Pollooza and sold tickets in surrounding the counties….

….and invited all their friends.

Then their weed relatives all showed up and grew stronger and bolder and took over all the beds….

…..and told all the flowers to take a hike.

It was so embarrassing.


If you squinted or drove by the house quickly….

….you might have thought that it still looked like this.

The weeds grew up so high that they slightly resembled plants and bushes and there was the occasional flower here and there.

After all….weeds have flowers, too. 🙂


I think we all wanted to weed.

I think we knew that we were losing the flower bed battle.

But the summer of 2013 was a combination of baseball games and cheer leading and gymnastics and swimming and book club and fish fries and going to the beach and making lemonade and summer camp….

….and an un-weeded summer sped by like a blur.


I would look at the flower beds longingly and wish for the perfectly manicured gardens I’d seen in magazines and wish all my flowers would bloom again and wish there was more time and wish there was more help and wish I had taken weed-pulling classes in college.

And after a while…I just ignored it.

I acted like the weeds weren’t even there.

And summer turned into fall and fall turned into winter and the leaves fell and the snow came and covered all the flower beds.

And the weeds left for warmer climates…..

….and no one remembered about them any more.

Until this spring…..

….when they showed up and brought some friends.


And I thought those weeds were here to stay.


Until yesterday.

Mother’s Day 2014.

In the early morning light….with giggles and laughter and a cup of coffee….four sets of hands and voices guided me off the porch and around the corner.

They whispered….“Don’t look yet”

And “Turn here.” 

And “Mom….are you sure you’re not looking?”

And finally….

….”Okay….Mom….you can open your eyes.”


And I opened my eyes to this.

A beautiful, wonderful, incredible flower bed….

….without a weed in site.

They had pulled weeds and cleaned the bed and hauled leaves away in a wheel barrow and planted flowers from the local high school greenhouse and placed the stepping-stones in a fresh layer of mulch….

….and I never knew.

No one said a word to me.

I was gone for the afternoon and missed it all.


I couldn’t believe it.

My beautiful wonderful flower beds of peonies and day lilies and roses and hostas and magnolias and crepe myrtles….

….were smiling back at me.

The weeds were gone.

I laughed and danced in my pajamas and twirled around and hugged my four incredible, wonderful, amazing weed pullers….

…and cried into my coffee.


When you are a mother….there are so many times when life can seem so overwhelming.

You wonder if you are doing it right.

You wonder if it gets easier.

You wonder if there’s a handbook somewhere that no one told you about.

You wonder if telling someone to say please and thank you and correcting grammar and to chew with their mouth shut and to pick up their room and put their clothes away and to get their elbows off the table….

….even really matters.

And then one day you stand in the middle of the flowers and feel the morning sunlight on your face and the green grass under your feet and listen to the laughter dancing across the stepping-stones.

And you realize that all the moments of uncertainty and worry and trying….trying your very, very best….come together in that perfect moment….

….when you stopped to smell the roses.


PS  Just in case you are wondering if life is all flowers and roses….

….this is a much more accurate representation of my life as a mother. 🙂

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  1. Image for jane jane

    That is SUCH a PROUD moment for you to know your children think that much of you and spent their time doing something they knew you would LOVE!! What a GREAT Mom's Day for you!!

  2. Image for Abbey Abbey

    Happy Mother's Day KariAnne! Your children are lovely, and what a wonderful surprise that must have been. I was the one weed-pulling yesterday at my house :) but the fact that my two and four year old boys "let" me get something done in the garden was quite a nice gift too!

  3. Image for andrea andrea

    Well I sure hope your kids friends parents are reading you blog : ) LOL!!!!! This is so so so wonderful! What a loving...kind and giving thing to do for you and you deserve every leaf!!!!! I am crying it is so wonderful! Give your kids some hugs from me and if you ever wonder...not that you will...but if you do ever wonder if you are "doing it right" just remember the day the garden smiled and you will have your answer! HUGS & LOVE!

  4. Image for Alice Alice

    I can't imagine a more perfect gift. You have an awesome family and an awesome garden. How blessed you are. A gift of time and effort is priceless.

  5. Image for Sally Sally

    You're doing a great job with your family! Isn't it wonderful when you realize they've been listening and watching?

  6. Image for Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions

    What a lovely gift your children gave you, Karianne! I know I would have appreciated that so much. At our old house, weeds got out of control one year, too. Going back to work full-time, school and sports activities ~ there just wasn't enough hours in the day. I told my husband we look like "that" house. The one in the neighborhood that you always feel is bringing everyone else's house down. I remember it took me a lot of whatever free time I had to get those beds back into shape. Especially once we were going to sell, you have to keep all that up to speed! That is one thing I don't miss now that we are in a condo!

  7. Image for BrocanteuseRose BrocanteuseRose

    Oh my goodness what a wonderful, wonderful surprise! It seems yesterday was the perfect day for coffee, weed free gardens, and children laughing. For my mothers day we had 80 degree sunshine, sweet tea and a family trip to the beach, including the puppy. Tip- a great way to hear that melodious (hysterical) laughter... set your ice cold sweet tea between your knees while passing out snacks, the puppy will get so excited she will pounce into your lap spilling tea all down your (ahem) so that you look like like you peed your self! FYI it is very difficult to spring up and away from ice cold tea creeping up your legs when you have a 80 pound puppy impersonating Bambi on ice in your lap, and both hands full of snacks. :) Once the hysterical laughter (and high pitched squealing -me) is over your little one might say to you "I told you it wasn't a good idea to wear that fancy dress". At least she thought my long shapeless cotton dress was "fancy"! lol Still the perfect Mothers Day! :)

  8. Image for Karen Karen

    A belated Happy Mothers Day to You KariAnne! You have such beautiful and sweet children. They did a fantastic job on your flower beds! So pretty ;-). I had a quiet Mothers Day. The day started out a little tough for me, because I was missing my Mom. It was our first Mothers Day without her, since her passing last summer. I went and put flowers at the cemetery, and when I got back home my teenage son presented me with a sweet card, some pretty flowers and a gift card for my favorite bookstore. It really made my day, that he thought of me, and did all that running around after he worked at his job all morning and part of the afternoon!

  9. Image for Lisa Lisa

    What a wonderful thing for your kids to do. You know your children and it is wonderful to see that they know their Mom. This brought a tear to my eye. Beautiful gardens and beautiful children. Lisa B

  10. Image for marydon marydon

    Karianne~ This is the sweetest most loving post I've ever read by you ... the humor, love, delight & thrill blasts thru so beautifully. <3 TTFN ~ Marydon

  11. Image for Ann C Ann C

    The fact that you placed them and their lives ahead of beautiful flower gardens says as much to them as what they did for you in the weed infested garden says to you. I hope your summer 2014 is s great as 2013 sounded.

  12. Image for Cindy Cindy

    Ahhhh...this is just so special. Having just moved to Tennessee from California...I can so appreciate the party of the weeds in the garden. Love this post and does matter how we raise our children.

  13. Image for dawn@joyfulscribblings dawn@joyfulscribblings

    Loved this! What a wonderful Mother's Day surprise. Your kids are amazing and thoughtful just like their mother. My kids didn't feel inclined to pull weeds or clean their rooms, but I still wouldn't trade them for the world.

  14. Image for Cynthia Cynthia

    What a beautiful story with an outstanding ending. It just got better and better. What great kids you have my dear. They are beaming in those pictures and hat a true gift of love for their mom. You must be so astounded and proud of a great job you are doing in your parenting. Cynthia

  15. Image for almas,nathoo almas,nathoo

    Weeds in the garden are benefits to the grass so why are so worried about weeds. This is the nature way of keeping the grass green. It did bother me in the beginning when I bought the house after learning on internet I collect the flowers for my green tea and let the leave be helpful to the grass because the insects cant eat the grass roots. The weeds protect. Sorry to say that but please don't feel bad about the weeds ok. thanks almas.

  16. Image for Liz Thomas Liz Thomas

    What a wonderful surprise Mother's Day present!!! And I know you will continue to enjoy it. I also received a most wonderful gift......An MP3 of a tape made by my daughter in which she was interviewing my dad about life in the early 1930's!! So good to hear his voice after 10 years! Even when you get to be 66 years old, your kids can still surprise you!!

  17. Image for Shirley Shirley

    It truly is those precious moments that totally wipe away all the days of reminding kids to put their plate away, to say thank you and yes ma'am...what a beautiful gift!!

  18. Image for Kris Kris

    Aw! How sweet! You know, before I got to the part about your kid's surprise, I was thinking, my husband's philosophy on having the perfect yard is that he'd rather spend his time with the kids ... and I think that's ok. We try to not look TOO Beverly-Hillbilly-ish, if-ya-know-what-I-mean, but yard perfection will be reserved for after they leave the nest. Although maybe I should show my kids this post ... hmmm ...

  19. Image for Jane Jane

    This is just wonderful...kudos to those sweet kids of yours (I LOVE the pictures!). I've never met a teen that liked physical work so you really got a great gift! :) Pat yourself on the back're doing good! XO, Jane

  20. Image for Liz Liz

    I adore this post. You are such a talented writer. I absolutely loved every word of this, especially the section, "When you are a mother...." Oh, so true!!! And you must be an amazing mom!!! Best of wishes to you.

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

    Awwwwwww!! What a beautiful moment. Miz KariAnne -- you've done a wonderful job with those kids. In years to come that moment will come back to you and warm your heart. Wow!! It certainly is rewarding being a mom! My day was pretty uneventful but I talked to all of my young'uns on the phone -- I know I'm loved my kids are great!! I'm proud to be their mom. Love your garden --I'm anxious to get to mine.

  22. Image for Chelsea Chelsea

    I just recently started following your blog and just wanted to say, I love your sense of writing style. It's lovely and entertaining and always makes me smile. What sweet children you've raised! Your garden is beautiful!!

  23. Image for Linda B Linda B

    What a lovely surprise! Your yard looks fantastic, and I am sure that your children are enjoying having a job (?) so well done. Your intro had me really interested, as we have an ongoing battle much so that when we moved in I called our home "the jungle house". It is a heavily wooded lot, and the previous owners obviously did not want to deal with grass. What ever had not gone wild was covered in vinca ground cover. The vines were ( and are in some spots) at least a foot thick. It has taken 3 years of pulling and digging, and last year I found a flower bed! This year I finished clearing the bed (yay!) and planted perennials. For Mother's Day, I was blessed with two lilacs and the holes in which to plant them. The teenage sons were really surprised that Dad had them plant, too, as they thought part of the gift was the joy of me planting. Still smiling about that! Enjoy your slice of nature, and the gift that brought it to you!

  24. Image for Kathleen Kathleen

    Thank you for sending this again today ~ I can actually read the ending! Yesterday the words were a blur through my tears ... ! Don't our kids always just knock us off our feet w/surprises as wonderful as yours?!? KariAnne, your girls are beautiful, and your guys handsome ... it's no wonder there already aren't enough hours in your days to keep up w/their busy-ness (it will only get worse going forward ... believe me, "experience" speaks)!!! Just one little hint to share: I "read" that pouring boiling water on weeds kills them! That's going to be *my* future method of attack ~ who can't boil water?!?

  25. Image for Rebecca Benzschawel Rebecca Benzschawel

    This brought tears to my eyes. Proof positive that you're children have been listening. This gift is far more caring than store bought, and they understood it. God bless your whole family.

  26. Image for Missy Missy

    What a wonderful blessing! I've had the same issues year after year (usually due to pregnancy). This year I pray good things will come. I might just share this little piece of your sunshine with my crew!!

  27. Image for Jen Jen

    That is THE best mothers day present in my opinion!!! I would have cried & cried!!! Those darn kids can get you every time!

  28. Image for Susan Hall Susan Hall

    Wow, best Mothers day ever! I did the flower beds at my daughters for Mothers day ,she had the same reaction as you did :)

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