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But…but…I’m a grown-up now!

August 21st, 2013 · 65 comments

Writes our submitter in Michigan: “My sister-in-law graduated high school recently, and apparently calling to congratulate her — as opposed to driving 1200 miles to attend the ceremony —  was a major slight.” (A slight I’m guessing she’d be willing to graciously overlook in exchange for 50 bucks or so.)

Dear [redacted],  Thank you for the card you didn't send me and the text I never got! I also appreciate all the effort you put into trying to come to my party! I LOVE YOU SOOO MUCH Love, Your baby sister

related: Congratulations! At some point in time, through no effort of your own, you were born.

FILED UNDER: family · sarcasm · signed with love · thanks (but not really)

65 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Eliavy

    A sister-in-law? Really? I was glad I didn’t have to deal with my FULL sister at my high school graduation!

    Aug 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm   rating: 14  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   randomhookup

      I sorta assume the letter is directed to her brother or sister. If it’s directed to the SIL/BIL, then she’s a triple ass.

      Aug 21, 2013 at 8:19 pm   rating: 46  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   FeRD bang

      Yeah, I was wondering about that too. — The submitter may be the in-law, but either this was directed to both him/her and spouse, or this new grad is rather disturbingly gung-ho about the whole institution of marriage. I don’t know many people who’d sign “your baby sister” in a note to an in-law.

      Aug 21, 2013 at 8:34 pm   rating: 28  small thumbs up

    • #1.3   Tesselara

      Graduation guilt note? Hell no. I didn’t even go to my own graduation. Ridiculousness with silly hats.

      Aug 23, 2013 at 1:49 pm   rating: 17  small thumbs up

    • #1.4   Bones

      How did you get out of it? I considered breaking my legs the day before.

      Sep 22, 2013 at 9:29 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #2   Jami

    She probably thought he’d bring her a gift or cash. That’s the main reason people get invited to graduations anymore if I’m to believe all the letters sent to Miss Manners.

    Aug 21, 2013 at 7:45 pm   rating: 42  small thumbs up

    • #2.1   jdaniel

      I guess etiquette went out with home economics and the dodo.

      Aug 21, 2013 at 9:55 pm   rating: 16  small thumbs up

  • #3   Smokey

    It wasn’t a graduation party it was a fundraiser

    Aug 21, 2013 at 7:56 pm   rating: 61  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   FeRD bang

      …Have you taken a look at college tuitions lately? That’s almost understandable. :-(

      Aug 21, 2013 at 8:35 pm   rating: 33  small thumbs up

    • #3.2   kermit

      Weddings are the real fundraisers because it’s actually socially acceptable to register for gifts and tell people that you want a $500 wine decanter and $200 toaster. You can’t pull this shit for a graduation ceremony.

      And I’m sorry, but the hard work and dedication involved in studying and getting good grades deserves recognition.

      On the other hand, all you need to make a (real) wedding happen is the dumb luck involved in finding someone who you love and who loves you back. No amount of effort can make that happen.

      Aug 21, 2013 at 10:47 pm   rating: 17  small thumbs up

    • #3.3   Jami

      Just cause they can’t doesn’t mean they don’t.

      I refer back to my Miss Manners post above. At work when it’s slow I read her on MSN and Washington Post and there’s a LOT of letters where people are either complaining about being invited to graduation parties for friends’ kids then being treated badly for either bringing something instead of cash or just bringing a card. Or graduates (or their parents) asking her how to ask for money without looking like they’re asking for money when they send out their announcements.

      Whereas I’m always trying to figure out how to get my relations to NOT buy me gifts or just pitch in $5 to $10 in on a gift card instead of spending a ton of money on crap from Hallmark. (My birthday’s coming up so it’s on my mind.)

      Aug 21, 2013 at 11:34 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #3.4   kermit

      Er, not for nothing but a lot of Miss Manners, Dear Abby, etc. letters are fake. I have yet to hear of a true story where some graduate had the balls to ask for the equivalent of a $200 toaster. Yet for wedding registries it’s considered normal.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 6:23 am   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #3.5   Phoenix

      I envy your life, then. I’ve run into way, way, way too many entitled little bratlings that think that scraping through high school with C’s and D’s meant that I owed them a couch for their new apartment. When I was in college myself.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 7:20 am   rating: 11  small thumbs up

    • #3.6   Ivana

      “And I’m sorry, but the hard work and dedication involved in studying and getting good grades deserves recognition. ”

      Fully disagree. Growing up, kids in my grade used to get $10/$5/$1 for As/Bs/Cs and so forth, and would work hard – or not so hard – towards their cash.

      My parents never paid my sister or me for our grades, and anything less than a B was a major dissapointment to them. You studied because education was a reward in and of itself; you do not study so that OTHERS pay you for your “diligence in studying.” If you really need a monetary reward to do what you area supposed to do already, then you need to take a hard look at your life.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 10:43 am   rating: 37  small thumbs up

    • #3.7   Lil'

      Ivana, I don’t think Kermit was exclusively talking about monetary rewards, and I think your view is too extreme. You don’t get a good grade simply because there’s reward in just that. If you go to college, more often than not, it’s because you want a job that pays well. If all you wanted to do was a good job, you could work at McDonald’s your whole life and be the best burger flipper known to man. It’s good for kids to know you are proud of them for doing well. Whether it’s a pat on the back, a verbal praise, or a little monetary reward, it boosts their self esteem. I’m sure you wouldn’t turn down a bonus at work because the satisfaction of a job well done is good enough. Even in your own example, you voiced that your parents were disappointed in anything less than a B. Clearly you worked hard to earn their approval – that’s a reward as much as any other bonus you get from your hard work.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 11:14 am   rating: 26  small thumbs up

    • #3.8   Rattus

      Yeah, a boost to the self-esteem. That is exactly what today’s youth needs. I find their humble self-effacement and insecurity to be a little unsettling.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 11:21 am   rating: 30  small thumbs up

    • #3.9   Lil'

      Perhaps, “it motivates them” is a better choice of words, but my point is the same. Besides, why wouldn’t you want your kids to know you are proud of them?

      Aug 22, 2013 at 12:17 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #3.10   Raichu

      They don’t necessarily need the money for grades but I’m not very self-motivated to get good grades. I rather dislike school, even though I’m smart enough to do well. My biggest motivation is remembering that it will be worth something eventually…

      Aug 22, 2013 at 1:06 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #3.11   Tom

      “If you really need a monetary reward to do what you area supposed to do already.”

      Wait, isn’t that called a job? If my workplace didn’t pay me, I certainly would not continue working there. I don’t see the problem with expecting to get paid for work.

      That’s actually the main problem I always had for school. 8 hours of work in class then more school work when I came home for squat, while my parents worked 8 hours, no job work at home, and got paid.

      Hence I did poorly in high school and great at my job! I love being an adult.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 3:04 pm   rating: 16  small thumbs up

    • #3.12   Jami

      @Kermit I sincerely doubt the letters are fake. Edited for content, but not fake.

      You can’t deny there aren’t greedy kids out there who see various things as gift grabs. They might not ask for toasters but they do ask for things like cars and such. Check out White Whine sometime.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 3:29 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #3.13   Dan

      ‘And I’m sorry, but the hard work and dedication involved in studying and getting good grades deserves recognition.’

      Recognition =/= money

      Aug 22, 2013 at 6:20 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

    • #3.14   kermit

      I never said recognition=money. The girl in question was evidently asking for a measly card and that her older sibling attend a party.

      She wasn’t asking for a Mercedes or a $200 toaster. A Hallmark card of congratulations is like what, $5 tops? And yes, I do think it’s unbelievably rude to not attend your little sister’s graduation party if you know damn well it means a lot to her that you’re there. She’s your sister, a person with whom you are reasonably close to and love. She’s not your third cousin’s twice removed ex-wife’s aunt or some other distant relation you can’t remember.

      And not for nothing, but a lot of studies have been done which show that teaching kids that being a student is their job – a job that like any other job offers rewards (monetary and otherwise) actually works in getting them motivated to study more, take school more seriously and get better grades.

      Aug 23, 2013 at 12:04 am   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #3.15   Tom

      The problem is, I am only motivated by money or personal enjoyment as a reward (in that order). School provided neither!

      I enjoy learning fine, but only when I’m choosing the time, place, and subject matter according to my own wishes :)

      If my parents had paid me for good grades, I might actually have obtained them.

      Aug 23, 2013 at 1:00 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #4   ElleDubs

    O, Entitlement, thy name is Baby Sister.

    Aug 21, 2013 at 8:08 pm   rating: 50  small thumbs up

    • #4.1   a-Arialist

      “Baby” being the operative word.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 3:21 am   rating: 9  small thumbs up

  • #5   mitte

    Dear little sister,

    Your heartwarming thank you note lit up my day. You fully deserve your success, especially given your hard work and great sense of sacrifice. You will always be my favorite, dearest c*nt.



    Aug 21, 2013 at 8:27 pm   rating: 26  small thumbs up

  • #6   C

    Nobody, including myself, gave a shit about my high school graduation (or college). And I didn’t expect them to. This girl sounds insufferable.

    Aug 21, 2013 at 8:37 pm   rating: 48  small thumbs up

    • #6.1   JK

      That’s actually kind of sad. Someone should’ve cared. They don’t have to go to the graduation, but care? That’s the least they could do and the least you should’ve expected of them. Commencement ceremonies should really be separated from the accomplishment of graduating. I tried to skip my commencement ceremony for grad school. My family wouldn’t hear of it. Kind of glad I went. My hood was awesome.

      She does sound insufferable, though. I didn’t send out graduation invites for any of my ceremonies . My immediate family came. God forbid the others didn’t send presents/money and actually wanted to show up. I decided not to press my luck.

      Aug 21, 2013 at 9:31 pm   rating: 16  small thumbs up

    • #6.2   a-Arialist

      I think University graduation deserves recognition, yes, but high school? Nah.

      I’m the UK and we don’t make the kind of fuss over completing secondary school like you do in the US. You are expected to finish secondary school. Not finishing secondary school is a failure; finishing it is normal, not an achievement of any great merit.

      I spent a year at a college in the US and was utterly gobsmacked at the stuff people got simply for completing secondary school. One girl got a car for college, plus a luxury horse trailer and a truck to pull it with!

      Aug 22, 2013 at 3:26 am   rating: 36  small thumbs up

    • #6.3   redheadwglasses

      HS graduation isn’t so much about the accomplishment of finishing high school as it is about the next phase of life. It’s a rite of passage more than it is a recognition of four years of education.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 7:57 am   rating: 29  small thumbs up

    • #6.4   redheadwglasses

      a-arialist — I bet *wealthy* brits spoil their kids for things like birthdays and graduations as well. It’s not just an American thing. Because that is who is buying cars and horsies for HS graduating seniors: Rich people. Not regular people.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 7:58 am   rating: 25  small thumbs up

    • #6.5   Emor

      @Arialist – Not completing secondary school is considered a failure in the US, too. . . but this is a country where kids “graduate” every time they move up from one level of school to another. So apparently not getting held back a grade is deserving of parties and possibly presents now (even though a lot of schools now refuse to hold kids back who really need it). This is what a self-esteem-based culture does.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 7:58 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #6.6   a-Arialist


      Nope – wealthy Brits don’t spoil their kids for HS graduation in even remotely the same fashion. Probably even less so for wealthy people, because it is so completely expected. A historically poorer family that has fewer people in the family with A Levels is *more* likely to make a thing out of it. It’s not a thing here. Birthdays – sure, but we’re not talking about birthdays.

      And no – the girl that the got the trailer and the truck? Not wildly wealthy at all – middle class, from Alabama.

      It *is* an American thing to make a huge fuss of graduating high school.

      And, given that you’re obviously not British, I’ve no idea at all why you’re trying to tell me you know better about what happens here, in my country, than I do?

      Aug 22, 2013 at 8:15 am   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #6.7   sam

      Yeah, but in the US, don’t they have high school graduation ceremonies with capes and gowns and stuff? We don’t have those in the rest of the world for HS.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 8:25 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #6.8   spacenomyous


      And, given that you’re obviously not American, I’ve no idea at all why you’re trying to tell me you know better about what happens here, in my country, than I do?

      Aug 22, 2013 at 8:31 am   rating: 38  small thumbs up

    • #6.9   redheadwglasses

      I just find it very difficult to believe that rich people in the U.K. don’t spoil their kids with ponies and new cars.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 10:23 am   rating: 13  small thumbs up

    • #6.10   J

      I’m not British, but what a-Arialist is saying is true here in Australia. A graduation is something your close family would attend and congratulate you for, but it’s not celebrated with parties and gift-giving etc.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 1:38 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #6.11   Tupelo

      I have friends all over Europe and Australia/NZ, and none of them make a big deal about their kids graduating anything. In fact, it’s very interested how these people don’t make a big deal about their kids doing every little thing. I wonder if it’s culture or just that I attract people who aren’t obsessed with their kids?

      Aug 22, 2013 at 2:50 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #6.12   Tom

      I’ve always found it rather insipid that Americans decide to celebrate everything in school. I remember “graduating” from elementary school and I thought it was completely ridiculous even then. “Graduating” from kindergarten? Preschool?! Give me a break! Graduating once for high school and once for college is fine. More celebration for the high school graduate who is not going to college (they won’t get another party) than the college graduate who will get another party later.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 3:11 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #6.13   C

      Okay, JK, it was sarcasm…they CARED, but it wasn’t a big deal, since graduating from high school was not exactly a challenge for me. When my older bro graduated (barely), they cared more. Get it?

      Aug 22, 2013 at 6:03 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #6.14   Poltergeist

      Wow, way to stereotype the entire American populace. Yes, we celebrate graduations. Yes, some kids are spoiled. No, that does not mean everybody is spoiled just for celebrating a graduation.

      I celebrated all of my graduations, as did all of my friends, from the time I was young. My family was lower middle-class and never spent tons of money on these celebrations. I had a few bowling parties, a few movie parties, a few sleepover parties, one pool party. During the major graduations where we switched schools, sometimes I got a little money from the few close family members I had. It wasn’t a large sum, I never asked for it, and I always thanked them. My family did it because they wanted to, not because my parents or I expected them to. One time, after I finished elementary school, my parents got me two goldfish as a gift for getting good grades. The HORROR!

      I’m sorry if the pre-college education you received was not a big deal for you or your family, but for many kids, it is. School is a MAJOR part of every child’s life. I see nothing wrong with people letting their kids know that they are proud of them for completing something, something which takes up and will continue to take up a large portion of their lives for a long time.

      And frankly, I bet most of you looking down on Americans for rewarding their kids at graduations give/received gifts on your birthday or Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate. How in the hell is giving your child a gift on those occasions, not because of any accomplishments but because of a tradition, better than rewarding them for an accomplishment?

      Aug 22, 2013 at 6:57 pm   rating: 24  small thumbs up

    • #6.15   Raichu

      I celebrated my HS graduation, and my immediate family cared (as did, of course, all of my classmates). It definitely was a right of passage, but it was very exciting. High school meant a lot to me and I felt real camaraderie with the people I graduated with. We had a small celebration at home with a cake with some friends who also graduated, and of course we all had everyone else’s open house.

      College, on the other hand? Totally different. I’m not going to waste the time or money going to commencement. 98% of the people in my class are people I don’t even know, most never met. So far (and this is my fifth and final year) college has felt like a necessary evil, something I have to do in order to be a Real Adult (yes, I know that isn’t really true, but I started it and want to finish what I started) rather than something worth enjoying in and of itself. I’ve had good times, but they’ve been in spite of being at college, not because of it.

      tl;dr High school commencement was very important to me; for college I could not care less

      Aug 22, 2013 at 8:24 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #6.16   kermit

      Poltergeist + 1million internets.

      A lot of cultures actually give their kids gifts or treats to reward good school performance. Every Asian kid with whom I was/am friends with had parents that did this.

      Aug 23, 2013 at 12:08 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #6.17   a-Arialist


      My mother’s American, half my family are therefore also American, I have an American passport, I’ve lived in America for two years.

      Have therefore a fairly good idea about what you all get up to over there, thanks.

      Aug 27, 2013 at 4:24 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #6.18   a-Arialist


      Of course rich British people spoil their kids with ponies and cars, just not for graduating secondary school. It is not a thing.

      Aug 27, 2013 at 4:25 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #6.19   a-Arialist


      You say:

      “And frankly, I bet most of you looking down on Americans for rewarding their kids at graduations give/received gifts on your birthday or Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate. How in the hell is giving your child a gift on those occasions, not because of any accomplishments but because of a tradition, better than rewarding them for an accomplishment?”

      Are you saying that these kids, that are spoiled for their ‘accomplishment’, don’t get spoiled with birthday and Christmas presents, too?

      Aug 27, 2013 at 4:39 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #6.20   kermit

      Er, no. What Poltergeist is saying is that people who spoil their kids for their birthday, Christmas, etc. balk at others who choose to spoil their kids for graduation. That’s hypocritical.

      If you’re against giving children gifts, then at least be morally consistent about it and be against ALL gift giving, no matter what the occasion.

      And not for nothing, but we’re talking about middle class and lower-middle class people here, not the high society set who buy ponies and for whom summer is a verb.

      Aug 27, 2013 at 5:57 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

  • #7   redheadwglasses

    Let’s hope the next four years help her to mature and grow up and learn to think beyond her own extraspecialness.

    Aug 21, 2013 at 8:53 pm   rating: 24  small thumbs up

  • #8   H for Toy

    Gotta hook this girl up with Aunt Angela! If she sends thank you cards for things she never got, imagine what kind of thanks she’d send for a spool-shaped headphone wire holder.

    Aug 21, 2013 at 10:31 pm   rating: 22  small thumbs up

  • #9   Tard

    I’ve given kids of neighbors I hardly know, graduating high school, $100 (in cash, in person) and gotten NO thank you. Dang.

    Aug 21, 2013 at 10:58 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #9.1   Fatesmom

      Tell me about it! Thank you notes seem to be a thing of the past. I never receive thank you notes for weddings or graduations any more. I think I might start to forget to send a check!

      Aug 22, 2013 at 12:10 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #9.2   Raichu

      The question remains: why do you give people you barely know gobs of cash just for graduating?

      I had an open house after graduation, expected no gifts, and got few. I don’t understand what it is with “I graduated, I must have cash”.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 8:26 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

  • #10   redheadwglasses

    Oh, and sorry, I’m not driving 17 hours (70 mph x 17 hours = ~1200 miles) to watch a HS graduation. And I sure as heck won’t spend $500 on an airline ticket for it, either.

    Aug 22, 2013 at 7:55 am   rating: 28  small thumbs up

  • #11   Les

    Wait, how is a text better than a phone call? High schoolers are weird.

    Aug 22, 2013 at 8:22 am   rating: 27  small thumbs up

    • #11.1   Snicklefritz

      Just post on her FB page and be done with it. That way she can call them out for all to see.

      That’s what FB is for, right?

      Aug 22, 2013 at 8:44 am   rating: 14  small thumbs up

  • #12   Lil'

    I would completely ignore this card. I wouldn’t respond at all, and when she brought it up – because you know she would bring it up – I would “struggle” to recall even receiving it. Little smart ass. Most of my siblings weren’t even at my wedding, and they didn’t get this kind of treatment. People have lives and expenses, and it cost to travel. Suck it up, baby sister, this won’t be the first time the real world disappoints you.

    Aug 22, 2013 at 8:29 am   rating: 25  small thumbs up

  • #13   My name is Princess!

    Dearest Sister,

    Welcome to the real world where all your future successes will be welcomed with a lukewarm applause.


    Aug 22, 2013 at 9:04 am   rating: 34  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   Dawn J

      If you’re lucky

      Aug 22, 2013 at 9:55 am   rating: 12  small thumbs up

  • #14   Ace of Space

    “And I’m sorry, but the hard work and dedication involved in studying and getting good grades deserves recognition”

    Recognition? Yes. Extortion? No.

    Aug 22, 2013 at 12:35 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #14.1   spacenomyous

      i think it’s more akin to bribery than extortion.

      Aug 22, 2013 at 12:57 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #15   Really?

    Come on people, its just a kid sister being funny! Lighten up, have a laugh! If my little sister wrote me this I would laugh- like i’m doing right now- and think up my next joke on her. I’m sensing some of you must have come from very serious families.

    Aug 22, 2013 at 12:53 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #15.1   Raichu

      You’re…kidding, right?

      Aug 22, 2013 at 8:34 pm   rating: 13  small thumbs up

  • #16   Clarf

    I sense that there is more to this story and I want to know it ALL.

    Aug 26, 2013 at 1:58 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   Ife

      I was the OP! There’s really not much more to tell…SIL who lives across the country graduated and her whole family pressured us to attend. We sent our regrets because we couldn’t afford it, and we got a bit of guilt over it. My husband called her around the time of her graduation to congratulate her. And that was it…until we got the note. Apparently HS graduation was more important than we had imagined.

      Sep 5, 2013 at 11:23 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #17   valerie bang

    At least she hand wrote the note. We have received several cards with computer print outs glued in with a ___________ where they just hand wrote in our name or what we got them. Heck, we’ve even gotten ones that don’t have a space for what we got them and were completely printed out.

    Aug 26, 2013 at 3:08 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up


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