If life's about the journey, does it matter how many bathroom breaks you take along the way?

Recently, I got this card from my husband and kids:

photo (21)

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.

This is Scot's mustache era, circa December 20 - December 31 2012. I love posting pics of him that he doesn't want any of his co-workers to see.

This is Scot’s mustache era, circa December 20 – December 31, 2012. I love posting pics of him that he doesn’t want any of his co-workers to see.

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?

Taylor will probably kill me for posting this pic, but he had a bad attitude last Saturday night when I took him out for a special mother-son dinner so he can suck it.

Taylor will kill me for posting this pic, but he had a bad attitude last Saturday night when we went out for a special mother-son dinner so he can suck it.

Grace, daughter, age 10

I love U

– Grace


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.

That's Grace teaching our dog to follow commands in Mandarin.

That’s Grace teaching our dog to follow commands in Mandarin.

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.

If you like this post, you might also like I Think I’m Smarter Than You or Is That Your Daughter’s Bra Hanging From A Tree?

236 thoughts on “Reading Between the Lines When Your Family Cares Enough to Send the Very Best

  1. This was just brilliant, Stacie. I laughed through the whole thing. And now I’m really scared as my kids are a bit younger than yours. Congrats on another FP! Your writing is so good, I’m not surprised.

    1. Thank you, Darla. Coming from you I’m extra-appreciative. “Brilliant” is a word I’m completely unaccustomed to hearing in conjunction with my writing. It looks much more natural next to yours. =)

      1. Oh, no. You are always brilliant! Me, not quite. haha! But thanks for the comment, you are too kind.

  2. gregschina says:

    What a horribly cynical way to view your family! “No good deed goes unpunished” as the saying goes.

    1. “Truth is stranger than fiction, but it is because Fiction is obliged to stick to possibilities; Truth isn’t.” Write that down. It’ll be a famous quote someday, right up there with every syllable Kim Kardashian has ever uttered.

  3. Kathy V. says:

    Happy Freshly Pressed Day! I love your husband’s mustache, he’s quite the dapper fella. Too bad about the v-neck, though.

    1. Right! But don’t the v-neck and the ‘stache kind of go together? In Hell?

      Thanks for the FP love, Kathy.

  4. Love this. I suspect Grace may be the boss of us all one day.

    1. She’s definitely working on being the boss of me. Now that she can sit in the front seat of the car she loves to let me know when I’m speeding and if I have any errant hairs sticking out of my chin. Awesome. Don’t be surprised if she sees your comment and starts posting inspirational quotes on your site. =p

  5. andy1076 says:

    roflmao! oh man this is too funny, I do love the translated truth in between the lines than the sugared up words 😀 LOL

    1. Andy,

      I have to be completely honest. I had to google roflmao. Thank you for the roll. And the laugh. And the rolling laugh.


      1. andy1076 says:

        Thank you for the smile this evening Stacie, Have a wonderful weekend ahead 🙂

  6. Ritu KT says:

    You are so funny. I had read the title of the post but was not prepared about the dissection of the messages on that card. I was expecting some gooey mother-y, Oh-My-Family-adores-me stuff. This is way better! (not that I have any problem with goo-ey, mushy posts)
    Congratulations on being Freshly Pressed.

    1. I like gooey too, but generally when it’s contained in a box of melted milk duds (have you ever had melted milk duds mixed with popcorn at the movies? It’s the BEST!).

      Thank you for your comment, and for liking the fact that I make fun of my family. Trust me, I get it back in spades.


      1. Ritu KT says:

        hahaha. And I have never tried melted milk dud mixed with popcorn!
        I make a lot of fun of my family too…just not my blog…yet.

      2. It took me a little time. My unsolicited advice is to go slowly, and put it out there before they’re teenagers. =)

  7. Kaberi Chand says:

    So funny and so sweet:)

  8. Daile says:

    Fantastic! Congrats on being FP’d this was a great read

    1. Thank for the read and kind comment!

  9. Love what you wrote !
    You really know how to “read between the lines” ! 🙂

    1. Love your play on words, thank you!

  10. sofagirl says:

    Funny funny funny and so true!

  11. First congrats on FP, entirely well deserved. This was brilliant, I would never think to look under the covers for what my children were really saying! My husband? Oh yes always looking for the real meaning, but my kids they were so elusive and bad I was just grateful they remembered I existed as anything other than an ATM (of course I only remember them as teenagers because they wiped my memory of any good years that might have existed previously).

    1. Valentine,

      That’s because you’re genuinely a good person and aren’t as jaded/cynical/beaten down by the man as I am. =p

      You know I love my kids, but I feel like one of the reasons I was put on this beautiful planet was to make their sweet little lives just a teeny-tiny bit more real.

      Thanks for the congrats, I appreciate it!


      1. Boy do I have you fooled! I just have never admitted to some of the lovely things I use to say directly to my wonderful sons. I think they were ruined for life, except they aren’t.

      2. Thank goodness things aren’t always as they appear, right (also that kids are basically built of teflon)?

    1. Awwww, thanks! They’re being incredibly good sports considering the attention. =)

  12. Britt says:

    I love a gal who isn’t scared to skewer the family. Well done.

    1. Thank you Brit. You’ve got to stand for something in life, so I choose making fun of the ones I love. Thanks for the read and comment!

  13. Loved this, Bravo! Paybacks will come three-fold though, it appears that you are training them well. I will look forward to seeing what photo bombs and rantings they post in a few years… 🙂

    1. My mother is counting the days until my girls give me double what I gave her. When you add my son to the list, who is sure to also go through preteen/teen/and post-teen angst, I’m pretty much screwed. Thanks for the love, I’m gonna need it! =)

  14. hilarious! love your perspective! i’m a gemini girl too by the way… which is why i first started reading your post! turns out we also share the blog theme 🙂

    1. That’s awesome on two counts! We Gemini girls have to stick together, especially when we’re feeling of two minds…Leos and Capricorns and all of those other one-dimensional astrological signs so don’t get that. Thanks for the comment!

  15. kay-b says:

    Hi, your post made me smile on a wet friday afternoon in London, thank you so much. I have just posted an article on things i love about my mum and then I came across your blog which resonated with me. You made me smile so thank you!

    1. What a sweet note. I’m happy to make you smile, especially on a dreary day. =)

  16. candidkay says:

    Nailed it! Thanks for the laugh:)

    1. Thanks for the read and comment! =)

  17. Amber Perea says:

    What an absolutely FANTASTIC post! I literally laughed out loud through the entire entry. It’s so true that as a parent that reading in between the lines is where we find the greatest declarations of love and humor as well!

    By the way, if you’re just giving out Iphones, I could really use an upgrade…. 😉

    1. Amber,

      I promise to give you an iPhone long before I give one to any of my offspring. It might be awhile though, so don’t throw away that 4G.

      Thanks for the read and kind comment, I truly appreciate it.


  18. hector1978 says:

    That was so funny, Hahaha! Great post and makes me think I should stop putting things off

    1. I appreciate the read and comment, Hector. =)

  19. kirsten667 says:

    That was so funny, I was laughing the whole time!
    Loved it!

    1. Brilliant is too kind, but thank you for the love! =)

  20. perthians says:

    Bahaha love it! This mother of three hears you.

    1. Then you know, firsthand, what I’m up against. Thanks for the comment!

    1. Thanks for the award, much appreciated!

      1. ramanda429 says:

        your welcome 🙂

  21. ThatGirl says:

    “Since you’re making dad one, can I have a panini?”

    Favorite part. This was brilliant!

    1. Thank you…I appreciate it. Making paninis is tough work. =)

  22. Bridgette says:

    Love love love this post. 🙂
    You made everyone as real as I’m sure they are – and when Grace rules the world? I’ll send her my vote. 🙂

    1. Awww, thanks Bridgette. I appreciate it!

      My kids were only mildly horrified when I wrote this about them but then it kind of snowballed when it was FPd. There’s a lot of horror in the world though, so I figure what doesn’t kill them will make them stronger.

      On Grace’s behalf, thank you for your vote. I think she’s creating a grassroots email list that has something to do with running for Class President when she’s in high school so if you start getting org charts and inspirational quotes from her feel free to move them to your spam folder. =p

  23. betunada says:

    wish i got a note like that. i prob’ly wood-a fallen over, dead, dread.
    i suspect your subliminal psychic abilities is something you don’t OPENLY let (too many) people know about. shhh! i’ll keep kwe-itt.

    1. Thanks for keeping my secret. A trait of a true Pisces. Sshhhhhh….

  24. LOL… parenting a teen for the first time… from 8000 miles away and across numerous cultural divides… I’m learning how to read kid subtext.
    But the other day I received an email from my long-distance son, saying that after a week of being incommunicado he had renewed his Blackberry Internet service on his phone so that we could chat and email daily.
    His reason in the email was that “I know it’s always your desire to keep in touch.” However… the subject line of his email was “Missing You.” That one needed no analysis. And I been missing him, too.

    1. What a sweet, sweet boy. I’ve got one of those too, Taylor is a gentle giant. He’s going to be about 6’4″, but he’s got the kindest, sweetest soul, at least, when he’s not trying to drive me to an early grave. Thank you for the thoughtful comment, I hope you get to see your long-distance son soon. =)

    1. Thanks for the laugh!

    1. Thanks for the visit and sweet comment, Deanna. =)

  25. Carrie Rubin says:

    Congrats on being FP’d again, Stacie! Always well-deserved!

    1. “Always” makes it sound like this is a regular thing. I like that. Thanks for the kind comment. You’re the most supportive blogger I know. =)

  26. Sadly, I think we all write inane nonsense on greeting cards rather than expressing our true feelings. I used to write essays about my wife in V-day and Mother’s Day cards. Now it’s just a short note; although, in my defense, she never really showed any appreciation for the effort I put into the essays.

    Also – Grace should be nominated for an award or something. Being middle child is a pain in the butt. I may be biased though.

    1. It seems that as time goes by, all love letters get shorter. Not necessarily sweeter, just shorter. which is kind of a shame.

      I read Grace your comment, you’re now her favorite person in the world.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment.

  27. jimceastman says:

    I enjoyed this post a lot. You have a wonderful and loving family. They must be very lucky to have you. It really shows how much they appreciate and cares for you! You have a Great post indeed!

    1. They ARE lucky to have me. Just kidding. I’m beyond lucky to have them. They’ve been incredibly good sports through this whole unanticipated Freshly Pressed thing.

      Thanks for the kind comment!

      1. jimceastman says:

        You are welcome. By the way, Congratulations getting in FP! I am now following.

      2. Thanks for the kind comment and the follow, Jim.

  28. RagDollsRising says:

    You really know your family, depending on the cast of characters these translations could go on a whole different road trip!

    1. I love road trips, especially when they end in a super-swank hotel. I don’t love them so much when I run out of gas, which is what happened on the last one. The cast of characters, however, thought it was awesome.

      Thanks for the comment!

  29. Purpleuniversiti says:

    Cool post! It all points to one thing, mum knows best

    1. I like the way you think, Purpleuniversiti. Thanks!

  30. tn84 says:

    Love comes in all forms… and apparently so do thank yous. lol Love this post, laughter to end my day, thank you! 🙂

    1. Thank YOU for a smile at the beginning of mine. =)

  31. CeeLee says:

    Great post! You helped make a day of parenthood blues much better. Thank you 🙂

    1. Sorry you’re having a blue day. Hope you feel better. Thanks for the kind comment!

  32. This was ADORABLE! I simply LOVED the translations!

    1. Thanks for the sweet comment!

  33. OyiaBrown says:

    Reblogged this on Oyia Brown.

  34. Haha this is so true! I’ve always done this but with cards from cousins, uncles, and friends. I always freel like there is a hidden meaning and I try to find it.

    1. You’re a smart guy, Justin. Thanks for the read and comment. =)

  35. Sid Dunnebacke says:

    Oy. Now I have to try to outdo this system and make sure any love notes I write are overt and transparent. Geez.

    1. You’re a good egg, Sid. I read your love letters in your blogs. Your girls are very lucky. =)

  36. Hmmm I’ll have to go back are re-read my recent cards.

    How about the ones you write?

    1. SSG you make a great point. Good thing I make it a point to write haikus in every card I send. =p

  37. inphiluencer says:

    Dear Gemini Girl, you are absolutely hilarious, I really love your posts. Translation: can I have a panini too

    1. Phillipe! Long time no see. I hope all is well with you, and yes, you can have a MADE TO ORDER panini, which doesn’t happen a lot around here.

      Thanks for stopping by!

  38. dancinmoma says:

    Love this!! 🙂 From one Gemini to another…. GEMINIS rock! 😉

    1. Awww, thank you Dancimoma! I have to agree with you. Then I have to disagree with you because that’s what we Gemini do. =)

  39. julie rose says:

    Brilliant 🙂 Another Gemini here too!

    1. Nice to see you Julie! Thanks for stopping by. =)

  40. Anonymous says:

    This is my favorite so far!

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