Have you ever met a story that made you cry and laugh all at the same time?

I am sitting here right now with tears in my eyes and a heart with all the emotions that a heart could ever experience.

This morning I was looking through old posts trying to find a furniture project that I created years ago. Going back through the pages of this blog is a little like going up into the attic and finding a box of things you tucked away for another day. You open the box and there are faded flowers from showers and old pictures and little mittens and wooden blocks and tiny dinosaur shoes.

Things you didn’t even remember.

Things you put away and forgot about.

Things that were such a part of another chapter of life.

And when you open the box and pull out all the things—those chapters come flooding back with such emotion and you find yourself in the middle of an attic with tears running down your face.

Just like this story that I found.

Truth? I don’t even remember writing it.

But when I read it on a cloudy Friday morning with the perspective of a mother who is in a new chapter right now full of highschool drama and highschool crushes and highschool hearts that are so tender and sweet…

…the poignancy of this story made my heart overflow with longing for the pages of that simple chapter from long ago.

Here’s to all the chapters that have gone before.

I love them each and every one.

Afternoons at our house are full of conversations about the bold and daring feats of the fifth-grade boys.

What they did and what they said and how they wrote on the bathroom walls and talked in class and stood on a chair and took a pencil from a desk and covered a piece of pizza with peanut butter…..

…and ate it.



And double yuck. 

I listen with an air of sympathy and an ear of understanding.

You see–there are two boys that live here—and when they were in fifth grade they would come home every day with story after story about those fifth-grade girls.

Stories about how they wrote on their notebooks and braided each other’s hair at recess instead of playing basketball and how they rolled their eyes and whispered behind their hands and put on extra lip gloss…..

…..that smelled just like jolly ranchers.



And double yuck.

But yesterday was different.

Yesterday the twins ran in through the front door full of jolly rancher lip gloss and righteous indignation.

“Moooooooom,” they sighed in unison.  “You are not even going to believe what they told us today.  Seriously….Mom….you won’t even believe it.”

I was pretty sure that I would believe it and that, in fact, I had probably heard it all before and even more.

But I know a good fifth-grade story when I hear it, so I sat down to listen attentively to what I would never believe…..

….with all ears.

They looked at me……exchanged glances and sighed.

“Mom….next year we have to learn to dance the Salsa,” one of the twins said dramatically.

“Salsa?  The dance?” I said.  “That sounds like fun.”

“With boys…..Mom,” she said rolling her eyes.  “ Do you understand? We have to dance the Salsa…….

……with BOYS.”

“Oh no,” I replied sympathetically.  “Salsa with boys….that sounds terrible.”

“Exactly,” her sister said. “I can’t believe they are making us dance with boys.  Have you seen the boys in our grade?  I mean….Moooooooom….they are….well….they are……”

And she twisted her face and wrinkled her nose and stared at me.

As if she was at a loss for words.

As if this absolutely positively was the worst thing ever….in the history of ever.

As if the thought of dancing with a fifth-grade boy was such a momentous event…..

…..that it completely and utterly defied description.

Her sister patted her back in the way that only one fifth-grader can console another.

“Don’t worry,” she said.  “At least there’s the hand scarves.”


Hand scarves?

They were dancing the Salsa with hand scarves?

I couldn’t help it…..I had to ask.

“Why?  Hand scarves?  Why are you using hand scarves?” I said.

They looked at me with a look that said so much without ever saying a word and rolled their eyes in unison.

“We have to use the hand scarves, Mom.  It’s the only way we can make sure…..

….that we don’t get cooties.”



Of course.

I should have remembered …..I mean after all…. fifth-grade boys used to live here.


I just wish those cooties would hang around…

…..until those twins graduated from high school. 🙂

PS The cooties have long since left the building.

PSS I’m reading this story at their weddings one day.

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  1. Image for Stephanie Brown Stephanie Brown

    Oh I love your stories!! So funny I remember the first time you posted them..and brings back memories of my life. You were the friend I needes.. when I left teaching and moved back home. I so looked forward to your blog.. sometimes waiting to see it pop up with a Diet Dr. Pepper handy. Now you have moved back home and I amback teaching part time. I do not get to comment always.. but do try to check in every now and then. Keep writing and creating hon! You are missing a glorious day in Kentucky. Fall is here! Just in time for fall break! Come see us sometime in KY when you can! I still need you to help me decorate! The Tara mermaid dead hydrangeas no pictures on the wall after 5 years motif is not working! 🤣😜 Blessings to you and yours. Hoping to make that peach tea soon!

  2. Image for Cynthia Cynthia

    Oh how I wish my boys wanted to tell me everything about the girls. Last week my 14 year old came home with a girl scrunchy on his arm and I said Luke, how's is that? He was too embarrassed and just walked away with a big grin on his face. Of course, I did find out later that he has a girlfriend named Lucy. Maybe it's me, maybe I don't say the right thing. Oh the joys of motherhood.

  3. Image for Lynne Lynne

    What a sweet, sweet memory! I have many from my girls, and how it seems boys went from yucky to 'He's so cute!' almost overnight...and everything in between. Thanks for the memories!

  4. Image for Denise V Cox Denise V Cox

    I've said it before and I'll say it again.... you should have been a writer!! I was on my way to Mom's and thought I'd finish reading it later, but was so intrigued by what was coming next that I sat down to finish. As usual, your stories are lovely and heartfelt. I absolutely love reading them... and adore yu!!! 😘😘 Here on the East Coast /Mid-Atlantic we are still getting some days in the low 90s...UGH.. I am sooo ready for the chilly weather..... Love that room... and the rug!!! Take care friend, Denise

  5. Image for Karen Karen

    So glad you wrote this story-for your sake. Cuz "some day," when they're all through high school & college, all into their careers, all married, all have become parents-if you're like me and my husband, you may have moments when you look back& wonder "Did that (part of our lives) really happen?" Yes, by the grace of God, it did, and you and your hubby will have these stories to remember them by. (Sorry I ended that sentence with a preposition 😄) Keep writing 'em, kiddo! So glad you do! Blessings to you and your family.

  6. Image for Anne-Marie Anne-Marie

    They talk as if they were disgusted but inside they must be so excited at the idea .... I was a young girl myself ....

  7. Image for Debbie Debbie

    I have never been a Mom, unfortunately, but I was teacher for 27 years. You are such a gifted writer. I absolutely love your stories. Thank you for sharing. Your stories bring back so many cherished memories of my students.

  8. Image for Marty Marty

    Oh my how I remember all those same stories. Our house was where all the kids hung out and even their friends always filled me in with "he said and she said" stories that made you want to laugh, but they were OH SO SERIOUS. I've really enjoyed hearing some of the same "he said - she said" from my grandsons. So fun and it just goes around in circles. Great story.

  9. Image for Gina Gina

    And on the flip side...one day they will scour your posts laughing and crying at the same time getting to know you all over again.

  10. Image for Pam Pam

    So sweet! Oh how I wish I wrote down stuff the kids said when they got in the car from school. What a treasure it would be to look at now. You're very lucky......and such a talented writer!


    LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Thanks for telling that story-so true and heartfelt. I remember those days with my daughter. Yes the cooties are long gone but that sweet story is locked in your heart.!!!!!!!!

  12. Image for Linda Linda

    Your children are so fortunate to have all these stories of their growing up and you and your husband in black and white! They are forever documented. You are gifted and giving a beautiful gift to your children. Love your blog!!!

  13. Image for Lynn W Lynn W

    Good memories 💜. The days of cooties are long gone....sometimes I wish we could go back just for a bit. It all flew by so fast 😔.

  14. Image for Regina Merrick Regina Merrick

    Oh, KariAnne, that's wonderful!! I'm so glad you shared that today. I'm two weeks away from my oldest daughter's rehearsal dinner, and I've be teary all day. I want to remember THOSE moments!! Thanks for a smile today! :)

  15. Image for Jenn Jenn

    Great story! My husband and I were just reflecting on how much can change between ages 9 and 15. Perspectives just change so much! It’s all so bittersweet isn’t it?

  16. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    LOLOL Oh, so funny, KariAnne! Thank you for the great laugh of the day! But what a dichotomy of bittersweet memories and tears! Such precious times. Sooooooooooo love your stories, sweet one! You are truly amazing! ❤


    Oh! KariAnne! I just love your cute stories! You are such a great story teller! That picture of your girls with Buddy is so cute! You are so blessed to have these precious gals! Hold on to all those precious memories -- and yes, share some of these memories at their weddings! Bless you! Have a wonderful week-end with your family!

  18. Image for Rev. Suzanne Taylor Rev. Suzanne Taylor

    Really enjoyed this blog. I like everything you write, but especially what you write about your loved ones. God wired you in an especially creative way that touches all who read you. Don't recall how I found your blog, but so happy I did. You make my day! Blessings to you all.

  19. Image for Julie Briones Julie Briones

    I love that you are going to read this at their weddings! I loved having younguns', and teens, and inbetweens! Having adults has been the hardest because this mama struggles with being balanced. When do you coach, when do you NOT coach? When do you listen and not say a word? When do you point them to the Lord, even though you know they won't necessarily want to hear it? And then they give your grandkids... YES!!!!

  20. Image for Sharon Sharon

    You put a smile on my face and tears in my eyes. Your stories are beautiful as are you. I hope I get to meet you someday. You have such a great heart.

  21. Image for Nancy Nancy

    KariAnne You never fail to make my day! I always leave your blog for last...you are so gifted...in so many ways!

  22. Image for Deborah Deborah

    This is such a fun story! A two-in-one story.......well, really for today,...... a three-in-one story!!!!! I love the way you write and the memories and nostalgia and fun you share! Have a wonderful day......filled with laughter, red lipstick, coffee.........and possibly, a handscarf or two!!!!

  23. Image for Donna Marie Donna Marie

    I am so glad your girls came home and told you what went on at school--you were so lucky!!! And if only cooties were present until they left high school!!! Lol

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