Recently, I got this card from my husband and kids:
On the surface, you could read this as, “You’re an awesome Mom/Wife/Food Sanitation Expert/Cleaning Lady!”
Digging a little deeper though, there’s a hidden meaning behind each of their missives, one that involves birth order, timing, and various stages of psychological development.
Allow me to explain.
Scot, husband, age 43
You are the best wife + best mom in the world we love you so much!
I’m sorry the towel rack in our bathroom has been dangling from one side pretty much since we moved to Colorado, so I’ll use cute nicknames from when we dated 3,000 years ago with the hope that you’ll forgive the fact that I generally don’t do anything around the house anymore because I know if I let chores sit idle long enough you’ll do them for me. I used to think your erratic pre-menstrual hormones were scary, but wow can you handle a power drill like a pro when you’re mad!
I forgot the punctuation and capitalization rules I learned watching Schoolhouse Rock and used “+” instead of “and” because I’m tweeting about my fantasy football league with my dominant hand while I write your card with the one I use to pick wax out of my ears.
Can you make me a panini? All this tweeting and writing and soul-searching is making me hungry.
Taylor, son, age 12
You are the best mom ever. #1 on my list. I love you so much!
Listen. I’m practically a teenager so I’m gonna pretty much copy what Dad said but change it a little so it doesn’t look like I cheated. It’s not that cheaters don’t prosper, look at Tiger Woods. It’s just that it sucks getting caught. Again, look at Tiger Woods.
Can I have an iPhone?
That “#1” thing was all mine so can I have $20.00?
Seriously, I started a crappy phone club at school and I’m the only member.
Since you’re already making one for Dad, can I have a panini?
Grace, daughter, age 10
I love U
In case you haven’t noticed, I’m the middle child and I’m way too busy to write. In fact, I’d be willing to bet all the money I’m stashing away in my piggy bank for an Ivy League education that you don’t even realize I’m around because I’m too busy absorbing and channeling the arguments between my older brother and younger sister, making dinner, refinishing the front entryway floor, and timing my sprint splits to train for the upcoming state swim meet.
I’m not really into paninis because I’ve just declared myself a gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free vegan, so could you just whip me up a celery root smoothie while I work on some extra credit calculus problems so I can get a head start on my summer enrichment work?
It’s not fair that Taylor gets everything first because he’s oldest. I get straight As every quarter so if anyone’s getting an iPhone it’s me. Also I just finished alphabetizing the spice rack. You can thank me later.
Essa, daughter, age 8
They diden’t leve me any room. E.
Being the youngest sucks.
I don’t care if I can’t spell. By the time I’m in high school the ghost of Steve Jobs will have invented a brain chip that will do everything for me so I can work on my tan.
I don’t care what Grace says about geophysics and I’m not wearing any more of her hand-me-downs. My style is totally Nicole Richie meets Kristen Stewart and she’s so Dakota Fanning.
I don’t care what Taylor says about his stupid iPhone because he’s stupid.
Can I have a panini, preferably with no crust, double cheese, hold the tomatoes? I’ll be in my room streaming “America’s Next Top Model” and pretty much raising myself.
So for those of you who recently got a seemingly sweet card from your family on a Hallmark-created holiday that looks and feels authentic? Look under the surface. It’s what you can’t see at first sight that will really trip you up if you’re not careful.