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It’s a great day…to move out of the house!

May 19th, 2014 · 52 comments

Alexandria in Australia says that the card she got from her parents on her 18th birthday (below) “is a pretty good summary of my formative years.”

Dear Alexandra,   I think this card expresses the fact that, although we both love you very much we find it hard to say, just like you do. All the best for your adulthood.   Dad  With bells on! Love Mum

Dear Alexandra,

I think this card expresses the fact that, although we both love you very much we find it hard to say, just like you do. All the best for your adulthood.


With bells on! Love Mum

related: Really, Mom, you shouldn’t have.

FILED UNDER: Australia · birthday · Moms & Dads

52 responses so far ↓

  • #1   Kay A. Ess

    Not passive aggressive; just sad.

    May 19, 2014 at 9:01 pm   rating: 47  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   Poltergeist

      I’ve never understood parents who find it difficult to tell their own children that they love them.

      May 19, 2014 at 10:43 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

    • #1.2   kermit

      It’s not necessarily sad; it can also be a cultural thing. If you go to Eastern European countries you can witness this a lot.

      It’s not that they don’t feel it; it’s just that they don’t say it because in a way, they don’t want to trivialize it in the same way that for example “hello” or “have a nice day” is trivialized. It’s WASPy in its own way.

      They’ll say it if you’re sick/dying, having a child or getting married but other than that, good luck trying to get them to say it.

      May 19, 2014 at 11:37 pm   rating: 22  small thumbs up

    • #1.3   Kasaba

      I agree with your observation kermit. I’ve never seen great outpourings of emotion from my Lithuanian friend. He’s never said “happy birthday” to me, or even acknowledged my birthday, even when seeing me on the day. But, he did concern and support when I was critically ill two years ago.

      May 20, 2014 at 7:31 am   rating: 6  small thumbs up

    • #1.4   Poltergeist

      It’s fine if you’re okay with him not acknowledging your birthday, but if I made it known to a friend that my birthday was important to me, and they still refused to acknowledge with the excuse of “cultural differences,” I would be pretty pissed.

      May 20, 2014 at 1:03 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #1.5   Jami

      Could be the way the parents were raised. Their own parents might have never said they loved them. Or whatever other reason they were not taught to say “I love you.” And it might not be a cultural thing at all, just a “I had a screwed up childhood and I did my best not to screw your’s up but I still couldn’t say I love you, even though I do” situation.

      May 20, 2014 at 2:23 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #1.6   buni

      I don’t remember my parents telling me they loved me when I was a child, but now that they’re elderly (and my mom has cancer) we’re both saying it a lot.

      May 20, 2014 at 3:07 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #1.7   pooham

      My parents never said it. It was my ex that got me in the habit of saying it. He lost his father in a plane crash when he was just out of high school and since then made it a point to say I love you to those he did. So we and our kids say it often.

      Now that my parents are getting older they say it too. My Mom easily, and my Dad less frequently and more awkwardly.

      May 20, 2014 at 4:09 pm   rating: 13  small thumbs up

    • #1.8   The Beast Among Us

      I had a girlfriend once.

      May 20, 2014 at 7:17 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

  • #2   Red Delicious

    It’s like the parental equivalent of a brofist hug, that awkward thing guys do when they’re too macho to just hug like normal people.

    May 19, 2014 at 9:15 pm   rating: 27  small thumbs up

  • #3   Poltergeist

    Birthday cards are always the perfect place to point out your child’s flaws and make excuses for your own.

    May 19, 2014 at 10:42 pm   rating: 26  small thumbs up

  • #4   Lita bang

    That is a bit sad, although I suppose I can see both sides of it. Some people aren’t real big on the verbal thing and just choose to show it in their actions instead.

    And sometimes they’re just jerks, which is usually the case when this kind of thing ends up on PAN.

    May 20, 2014 at 12:22 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #5   Bec

    I grew up in a home like this. This behaviour does not have to be passed from one generation to the next. My husband and I make sure we tell my sons how much we love them everyday. It is how we start each day and how we end each day. It is not a weakness to love and be loved.

    May 20, 2014 at 12:28 am   rating: 21  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   e

      Someone who is praised, “affirmed” and/or vocally loved every single day is probably going to turn out a bit narcissitic.

      May 20, 2014 at 7:26 am   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #5.2   kermit

      Not necessarily. If she means it literally, they will probably come to realize that it doesn’t have much gravitas, that’s all.

      While I am not advocating for the awkwardness in the note, I do admire that it’s genuine and heart-felt. “All the best for your adulthood” can sound like a really meaningless statement, but it has meaning for the person who wrote the note.

      And I bet you that when Alexandria’s parents ask her how she is, they really mean it and expect a real answer instead of the typical “fine, how are you” that is usually the norm when somebody is “asking” you that.

      May 20, 2014 at 8:59 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

    • #5.3   Poltergeist

      There’s a difference between reaffirming your love for your child on a regular basis and laying it on thick. I find it amazing how there are people out there who don’t believe in a middle ground. Nobody is telling you that you need to praise your child every time they take a shit and don’t need to punish them when they behave poorly.

      May 20, 2014 at 12:55 pm   rating: 18  small thumbs up

    • #5.4   kermit

      Poltergeist, there is no middle ground on the Internet. Middle Earth, sure. But never middle ground! Come on, you know better.

      May 21, 2014 at 4:31 am   rating: 13  small thumbs up

    • #5.5   Tesselara

      It is ALL middle ground! I am taking an extreme stance on middle-ness!

      May 21, 2014 at 9:22 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

  • #6   @coffndrop

    i’ll love you, alex.

    May 20, 2014 at 4:52 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #7   Belaani

    We love you, Honey. Now get out. By tonight.

    May 20, 2014 at 5:48 am   rating: 12  small thumbs up

  • #8   F13

    Sorry, I don’t understand how this note has a “Get out of the house!” message. The dad is a bit awkward, so what?

    May 20, 2014 at 9:15 am   rating: 19  small thumbs up

    • #8.1   rushgirl2112

      It’s the “all the best” part. That’s what you say to someone who’s leaving, usually when you’re not going to have much contact.

      That may not have been what they meant, but it’s what it sounds like.

      May 21, 2014 at 7:59 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #9   The Beast Among Us

    With bells on! And that’s it! Wearing nothing but bells! How’s that for a strange mental image?

    May 20, 2014 at 11:52 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #10   Quite Contrary

    How does “Have a great day” express the fact that they love her very much?

    May 20, 2014 at 12:22 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #10.1   Quite Contrary

      Because if it does, I just told my entire staff I loved them very much.

      May 20, 2014 at 12:23 pm   rating: 20  small thumbs up

    • #10.2   Tesselara

      Maybe you do, you creep. :)

      May 20, 2014 at 3:20 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #10.3   Quite Contrary

      Trust me, I don’t. :)

      May 20, 2014 at 5:06 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #10.4   Lita bang

      That’s good, because loving them too much can result in a staff infection. :D

      May 20, 2014 at 5:57 pm   rating: 30  small thumbs up

    • #10.5   Tesselara

      Lita, that was a low note!

      (see what I did there?)

      May 21, 2014 at 9:23 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #10.6   Lita bang

      I’m just setting the bar high for everyone else. But I’d best give it a rest before I get in treble and am cleffed in twain, eh? :)

      May 21, 2014 at 5:55 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #10.7   Tesselara

      Lita, YOU WIN!

      May 22, 2014 at 8:44 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #10.8   Lita bang

      Blame my dad! He let me grow up on a steady diet of Spider Robinson books, that’s where I got all my horrible music puns. :D

      May 22, 2014 at 5:56 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #10.9   Tesselara

      I <3 Spider Robinson!!!! Those long, involved puns are just things of beauty.

      May 24, 2014 at 7:22 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #10.10   Lita bang

      They are, they really really are! I need to find some of those books again (we lost our entire book collection thanks to an ex-friend of my sister’s, sadface…)

      May 24, 2014 at 2:54 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #10.11   Tesselara

      Augh! That’s awful. Seriously–I can’t imagine what would happen to me if my books disappeared/were destroyed. Okay, I can, and it involves fetal positions and rocking.

      May 24, 2014 at 6:16 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #10.12   Lita bang

      We let ex-friend live there rent free for a while as a favor for sister. She (ex-friend, not sister) stole the great majority of our stuff, probably to pawn for drug money (including my hard-earned collection of Japanese CDs and most of my video games, AUGH!!) and let her unneutered male cat pee all over the rest.

      Now you can see why she is an ex-friend.

      May 24, 2014 at 9:24 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #10.13   Tesselara

      AUGH! I had a friend with an unneutered male cat (who visited me). The best moment: cat pees on clean laundry, and I, all unaware, and in a big hurry, throw on some clothes and go out to work. And then….horribleness all day. It was awful.

      May 25, 2014 at 2:14 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

    • #10.14   Lita bang

      Ooooof. I’ve been there (except the cat in question was neutered, just old.) I do sympathize!

      May 25, 2014 at 5:50 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #11   A Unit

    Is it weird that I find this a little sweet? I mean, definitely awkward and a bit sad, but a sweet attempt?

    Though I might not feel that way if they were my parents…

    May 20, 2014 at 2:47 pm   rating: 17  small thumbs up

  • #12   lorfdof

    This is the least passive agressive passive agressive note so far

    May 20, 2014 at 3:23 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

  • #13   kaetra

    My mom bought me luggage for my 18th. It was a less than subtle hint. GTFO! hehe

    May 20, 2014 at 6:57 pm   rating: 3  small thumbs up

    • #13.1   Kasaba

      My dad got me a flash light for my 21st. “It’s dark out there in the big, bad, world”.

      May 21, 2014 at 7:35 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #13.2   Kittymama

      One Christmas my folks gave me an electric shaver and a blowdryer. I remained hideous.

      Sep 20, 2014 at 2:51 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #14   Ann

    A birthday card is probably not the best place to point out a flaw, BUT… this dad sounds awkward but well-meaning. It’s both sweet and face-palm-inducing.

    May 21, 2014 at 12:33 am   rating: 2  small thumbs up

  • #15   assiveProgressive

    Their handwriting sucks. I thought the note was about “expressing a fart.” Have a nice day.

    May 21, 2014 at 12:43 am   rating: 3  small thumbs up

  • #16   Sam

    This is a lovely note. I’m a bit shocked that in an American context it seems to be considered mean or passive-aggressive or to have a ‘get out’ vibe.

    May 21, 2014 at 4:51 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

    • #16.1   Raichu

      It’s just a culture thing. We tell our kids/parents that we love them all the time. If I had a parent who had a hard time saying it to me, I’d be really hurt.

      May 23, 2014 at 12:43 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

  • #17   Zero Our Hero

    It’s as cultural as it gets. For example, African parents DO NOT tell their children they love them. They’d be like: “Why else do you think I feed and support you?” Jokes aside, My parents never did while I was growing up. My mom said it once when I told her and if my father ever said it to Amy of his kids he’d probably pop an aneurysm. To my future kids, read this post. it will explain a lot.

    May 24, 2014 at 8:33 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #17.1   Zero Our Hero

      *any* not Amy. My father doesn’t have a daughter named Amy that he hates extra.

      May 24, 2014 at 8:37 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

  • #18   Nim

    Nothing PA about this note to me, honestly. And here people don’t say ‘I love you’ every other minute. I’ll admit it bothers me that in some cultures, you basically say I love you before hanging up the phone, like it’s ‘bye’.. wow.. To me, it is a strong phrase that shouldn’t be overused and lose meaning.. Though my parents never said it and that isn’t so good either (but I know why they don’t). I find it hard to say but a good friend said it to me and I started saying it back, when I had the courage. For me it holds weight.

    Jun 1, 2014 at 5:14 pm   rating: 1  small thumbs up

    • #18.1   notolaf

      I say I love you to my family whenever we say goodbye because if either of us dies, that’s the last thing I want to have said to them.

      Sounds morbid when you explain it like that, but I think a lot of people do it.

      Jun 18, 2014 at 10:49 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up

  • #19   SomethingDuck

    Cultural, definitely. I read this and went “aww!” and I didn’t get at all what the comments were about! Have figured it out now. But with a more or less British background, I would not hear “I love you” much, and I don’t think that’s particularly unusual here.

    Oct 12, 2014 at 7:51 pm   rating: 0  small thumbs up


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