header image

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Getting Carded

This post makes fun of "dysfunctional" families -- yours, mine, anyone's. If that offends you, this is not the place for you today. But do come again, when we'll try to offend a whole different segment of the blog-reading population:)

Mother's Day is approaching, and Father's Day, not far behind. Time to get out your Gold Crown Card (they really do give good rebates!) and head to the Hallmark store. How easy or difficult is it for you to find just the right card? Not everyone can, in good conscience, send that "Mom, you're the BEST" card. Or, "Dad, you were always there for me;" that's just not true for many people. But most of us want to do the right thing; not sending ANY card at all just wouldn't do. I have often joked with clients about how to solve this dilemma. There needs to be a line of greeting cards, for all occasions, for dysfunctional families. Imagine, if you will:

On the outside, "Thank you..."
and on the inside, "...for dropping the charges!"

On the outside, "I missed you..."
and on the inside, "...but I've spent a lot of time at the firing range since then. Come see me NOW!"

On the outside, "All Grandmas tease their grandchildren..."
and on the inside, "...but not all of them are wearing pasties and dancing with a pole."

On the outside, "When I heard you were sick..."
and on the inside, "...I said, 'SEE? I've been saying so for years!'"

On the outside, "I think of you whenever..."
and on the inside, "...my IBS acts up."

On the outside, "I would give you a big hug..."
and on the inside, "...if they didn't have that Plexiglas there."

On the outside, "Like mothers everywhere, you often told me, 'Just wait 'til your father...'"
and on the inside, "...gets paroled."

On the outside, "Memories of a family Thanksgiving, with roast turkey and..."
and on the inside, "...wait, that was Wild Turkey, and I can't really remember anything else."

On the outside, "You're one groovy chick, Mom. The rooster says, 'cock-a-doodle-do'..."
and on the inside, "...and you say, '...any old dude'll do.'"

On the outside, "Dad, I'll never forget how you listened to me..."
and on the inside, "...that one time, when I was 5 and I said, 'Go away and don't come back!'"

Come on, you can do better than these....:)

file under: &Audience Participation

60 heads are better than one . . .

Blogger echrai said...

Hmm... in my family we could use these two.

Outside: Today is the one day out of the year when you take credit for creating me. Inside: Happy Mother's Day

Outside: Happy Mother's Day...
Inside: To the grandmother raising me 'cause Mom's too drunk and selfish to do it herself.

(No, really, I'm not bitter. And this is for my sister from my niece, not for my mother who is an absolute saint.)

Anonymous Julie said...

I can't do better, SusieToo. Those are GREAT!

Blogger Bucky Four-Eyes said...

Okay, the grandma with pasties and a pole made me stop until I could compose myself. Oh, how very vivid and picturesque. 'Scuse me while I go harf up my Corn Flakes!

And your "Oh, the Things They Say" post was [naughty language, since there's been enough here, young lady] hilarious!

Blogger Vajana said...

Outside: It's so FUN having you in our family!

In: Because you always put the F U in FUN!

Blogger Susie said...

You guys are making my day!

echrai, sad to say, your cards would SELL!

Thank you, Julie, here's hoping you get NO cards like this;)

Bucky, you are always my blogging inspiration;0

vajana, outstanding! Can't have FUN without the F U!

Blogger Nilbo said...

Outside: "Mom, you once vowed that no-one would make a better mother than you. And you were right ..."

Inside: "No-one would be MUCH better. Seriously. Just leave."

Blogger ieatcrayonz said...

Outside: In all of the mothers of the world, you are the Queen

Inside: OF FRANCE!

I think I just wanted to say "OF FRANCE!" today.

Blogger Candace said...

No, really, I CAN'T do better than those!

Anonymous mrtl said...

Outside: For the brother who makes me so proud...
Inside: That I live out of state.

Outside: Happy Birthday
Inside: To < strike >Grandma< /strike > Aunt J.

Yes, my step-grandmother, after divorcing my pseudo grandfather, married his son.

Ah, family!

Blogger Susie said...

nilbo, ouch, lucky for your mom that you like her!

robyn, I understand; I, myself, must let loose every now and again with a big ol' "OF FRANCE!!!!"

misfit, you must not come from a card-challenged family;)

mrtl, you raise another issue with the double, triple relationships thing; greeting cards for Hillbillians are sorely needed.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Outside: I wanted to get you something you'd use and love for mothers day...
Inside: but the guy at the liquor store said you already bought all the vodka.

Anonymous LadyBug said...

Mother's Day is a very difficult time of year for me, Susie. And I've actually been thinking about doing a post on it, but don't know if I'll have the courage and/or energy (still sick).

The card I really need this time of year would say, (outside) "You were never there for me when I needed you. You told me you hated me and I was the worst mistake you ever made. When you found out I was contemplating suicide, you spent an hour bitching me out and telling me you didn't 'have time for this shit right now'. You made my life a living hell, and I couldn't wait to get away from you."
(inside) "But here's your damn Mother's Day card, anyway, so I don't have to deal with the guilt of leaving you out."

Sorry I'm a killjoy today. This just hit a little too close to home. And yeah, maybe I'm a little bitter this time of year.

Blogger Susie said...

anon, you are not alone.

ladybug, lovely, dear ladybug. We often laugh to keep from crying, or because we're tired of crying; and sometimes we cry because that's what we need to do more; and sometimes we vent on blogs. You know what, though? I hope you can see the day as being about YOU, and how YOU mother; THAT is cause for celebration. I send you love, my friend.

Blogger Nilbo said...

Ohh, Hillbilly cards!

Outside: Happy Birthday to a woman who has been so much more to me than a sister ..."

Inside: " .... "

Oh, come ON ... I don't shoot fish in a barrel or take candy from babies, either.

Blogger Nic said...

Here are some good ones:

"This Card Is a Testament to All the Wonderful Things About You, Mom, But I'm Sure, Like Everything Else, It Won't Live Up to Your Impossible Expectations"

"Mom, I'm So Glad We Have These Fifteen Minutes to Spend Together Before My Therapy Session"

"For you, Mother, for always being there when it was convenient for you. "

"Happy Mother's Day! Yes, I'm Still Out of Touch with the Lord and Going to Hell!"

"It's difficult to find a mother's day card for a woman who... lied, stole and beat me."

"Mother, I Know You Missed My Recitals, My Ball Games, and My Graduation, But I Understand...You Were 'Tired.'"

"Happy Mother's Day! No, I Haven't Gained Weight!"

"Mother, On Your Special Day, Here's Your Xanax and Chardonnay"

"Mom, Thank You for always keeping your slapping hand open."

"As the days go by, I think how lucky I am, Mom...
(Inside card) - That you're not here to ruin it for me."

Blogger Nic said...

Outside: It's difficult to find the perfect mother's day card for a woman who...
Inside: lied to me, stole my allowance and beat me.

Blogger Susie said...

nilbo, ah, the limitless possibilities...

nic!!!!, when are you opening your card store, girl?! The Xanax and chardonnay KILL me (or they would, if I weren't VERY careful;)

Blogger Greenthumb said...

On the outside:"Happy Mother's Day...

On the inside:"NOT!"

On the outside:"Here's to all the times...

on the inside: "that I listened to you talk about you.

Blogger Robin said...

Ok, I'll take a stab at it...

Outside: For my wonderful wife on mother's day...
Inside: Because I forgot your birthday. Oops.

Outside: To my darling daughter for Mother's Day
Inside: See? I told you payback is hell!

Outside: Mom, you always seemed to know what was going on in my life, and the perfect thing to say...
Inside: I should have hidden my diary in a better place!

Outside: Get well soon...
Inside: I could have sworn I checked the rear mirror before backing out...

None to compare with your gems! They were great. You SHOULD consider writing a line of cards just like those!! They would be a hit!

Blogger Greenthumb said...

This is the truth:

On the outside, "I think of you whenever..."
and on the inside, "...my IBS acts up."

Blogger Nic said...

On the outside, "I think of you whenever..."
and on the inside, "...my IBS acts up."

Wait, Susie, did you take this one from Heather? Plagiarist!

Blogger WILLIAM said...

This card/comment does not reflect at all anything about my mom. She was awesome.
But here it goes.

Outside: Happy Mothers Day!
Inside: Mother is only half the word.

Blogger WILLIAM said...

Was?..I meant IS. IS.

Blogger Nic said...

William, I am rolling, rolling I tell you, over your thoughtful sentiment!

Blogger Susie said...

greenie, I knew you'd reppazint, my brotha! Yea, the IBS one is a little too close to home, here, too!

robin, I'm serious, those would sell; funny and not TOO mean, you should go for it:)

nic, uhoh, Heather who, Heather what? No, it's about me (and greenie:)

william, excellent! And good point, too, you don't have to have crazy relatives to play, just a sense of humor;) (Of course, if you do come from crazy, you have a distinct advantage in this game...)

Blogger Nic said...

Hahaha! Dooce. Her pooping issues.

Blogger JessicaRabbit said...

Mother, when I think of you and my childhood,

I have to call my therapist and make 3 more appointments.

Mother, I would of liked to give you a big fancy gift this year to thank you for all you've done,

But my therapist deserved that raise way more.

Blogger No_Newz said...

Outside: Two lovely girls walking along a bridge. "Mother, you know how you've always asked that burning question? On this special Mother's Day, I'd like to finally give you the answer."
Inside: Only one girl on bridge, with leg hiked over the rail. "Yes mother! If she goes, I go! Real friends stick together!"
Lois Lane

Anonymous lawbrat said...

I'm with ladybug on this one. I'm going to do a pre-Mothers day Mothers day post. If I have the guts to do it. Mothers day is my sons birthday, and that day will be all about him. Should be interesting.

Blogger Nicolette said...

I have no cute quips -- which probably doesn't surprised the many people who never found me amusing to begin with.

I have seriously always felt that Hallmark needed to tone down a few cards for every occasion.

I come from some severe disfunction, know I'm obliged to do the card thing, and just want the card to say the bare minimum. Skip the hearts, flowers, and Wonderful Memories references. In and out CLEAN!

Happy Mother's Day.
I Hope it Doesn't Suck for You.
Let's Do This Again a Year From Now, Shall We?

When you send the Fluffy card, and don't have the fluffy relationship, both parties know it's an uncomfortable fiction.

Stop the card madness!

Blogger Sylow_P said...

Outside: Happy Mother's Day

Inside: I apologize for not consulting you on my choice of cards.

Blogger Danikabur said...

Outside:Mom you are the best
Inside: self centered bitch I know.

Outside: Thank you Mom
Inside: for moving away and taking your psychoticness with you.

Outside: Thank you Mom
Inside: For being smart enough to let us be raised by Dad.

Blogger Danikabur said...

Outside: Thank you Mom
Inside: For making me see the type of person I DON'T want to be

Blogger Danikabur said...

Outside: Mom, I'd like to give you a gift...
Inside: but the restraining order prevents you from getting close enough to get it.

Outside: Thank you Mom
Inside: For staying hundres of kilometers away.

Blogger Danikabur said...

Oooh I am having way too much fun with this! Only one of those don't actually apply to what I'd send my Mom.

Blogger Von Krankipantzen said...

You are just getting funnier and funnier. Great post.

Blogger little sister said...

This is all too too funny!

I'm totally out of wit today, else I'd try to add one of my own. Maybe it's because my mom is in a nursing home for rehab...maybe I should mention to her how my dad kept talking about taking her off life support back in January? and how he'd get upset and roll his eyes when my sister and I said, "but she's only 67 - and it's only been two weeks!" and now he's very resentful of all the things he has to do to help her recover and how he is so worried about money and had to apply for a Medicaid grant and now his life is so hard because of Mom and blah blah blah...

Issues? Naaah - I don't have issues, do I? ;-)

Blogger Susie said...

On the outside: You gave me many gifts over the years, Mom.
On the inside: Guilt, disappointment and misunderstanding.

On the outside: OH look a little fluffy doggy just like yours wants to wish you a Happy Mother's Day.
On the inside: God, we have nothing in common.

Yours are great!

Blogger zhoen said...

Dad, A funny card for Father's Day!
Because it is so hard to find a father's Day card that doesn't Say I Love You, since I won't lie to you like you always lied to me.

Mom, For all the times you told me to be myself...
.... then were shocked and horrified when I was different from you.

The first was exactly my criteria for Father's Day Cards, without the subtext actually printed on the card. Now I don't send anymore because he disowed me, and I made it stick despite my mother's attempts to "Make Peace". My poor mother. My poor damned father. Genetics do not equal love or respect.

Blogger Nilbo said...

This is one of these things that started off fun and ended up ... well, kinda sad.

I feel really badly for the people who didn't have a wonderful relationship with their mothers or fathers. Everybody's circumstances are different, and certainly this world has its share of malevolent people. But most often, as a parent, I screw up because I'm doing everything for the first time and learning as I go. Not everybody is really good at Improv.

It's too late to wish that everybody here would have had an ideal childhood. But it's never too late to hope that everybody can find in their heart a measure of understanding and forgiveness for parents who fail.

Sometimes parents fail because they're bad people. Sometimes they fail because they're not up to the task - don't have the strength, the resiliency, and the wisdom you need to do the job perfectly.

Having done the job for 23 years, I'm here to say that it's pretty easy to slide off the rails. There was a time, 22 3/4 years ago, when I held my screaming baby in my arms, staring at this kid who WOULD NOT STOP SCREAMING, and thought "I seriously can understand how people can shake a baby till it goes quiet." It terrified me, and terrifies me still.

I was that close to being the worst parent imaginable. And now people look at my girls - these wonderful young women - and say "Wow, you've done a great job."

Yeah, thanks. Kinda fine line there, huh?

Just sayin'.

Blogger Susie said...

jessicarabbit, sounds like your therapist should thank your mom for the extra income! Some moms do more than their share to help the therapy profession.

Lois Lane, thank you, this is the first visual to accompany the verse...

lawbrat, you are where you are, love. Happy Mother's Day to Brennan and Hunter's good mom.

nicolette, that's the origin of this post, and many conversations I've had with people. The card thing is excruciating for many, many people.

sylow_p, control issues, have we? Good one;)

danikabur, you had just a little too much fun here today (gosh, I hope it was fun!), oh, now I see, you said it was fun. Good, sweetie. Glad you could say that all here.

kranki, thank you, glad you enjoyed.

little sister, issues? You have no issues....now Dad, he's another story...

susie, welcome, susies are always welcome here; true daughter-to-mother cards.

zhoenw, genetics due not equal love and respect; no reason to expect that they should. Love and respect breed love and respect. I am sure the "funny card" market grew out of the realization that for so many people, the mushy ones are just an out-and-out lie. You're not alone.

nilbo, you probably have no trouble buying a card for your mom. A lot of people do, as we've seen in this little sampling. I didn't necessarily expect some of these responses, but I do welcome them all. Family relationships are often sad; sometimes we can make them funny. Sometimes not, or not just then.

Hmmmm... lousy parents do NOT mean kids that grow up to be horrid, defective people. Often, those kids grow up to be people who are resilient, wise, compassionate, and determined to be and to do better than their own parents.

Blogger Vajana said...

i think you hit the nail on the head there...my husband has totally screwed up parents (who are a JOY at holidays I might add) growing up and he is very independent, confident and strong.

I feel badly for those who have a bad relationship with their parents but you are right, the best they can take out of it is to be the BEST parents they can to their own children...I think my DH is the greatest daddy I've ever seen!!

Okay, lighten the load a little I'll get away from the Mom's day and go for something else...

Outside: Hope your birthday is fantastic!

Inside: It will be for me since I won't be there!!!

Blogger Nilbo said...

Hey, Susie ...

Hope it didn't feel like I was saying this was a bad idea. I found it fascinating, and some of the submissions were really quite clever.

But it's like when somebody tells a blonde joke, and everybody laughs ... then somebody tells another, and everybody laughs ... then someone tells a joke that's horribly cruel and betrays some sort of deep hatred towards a specific blonde person who everybody in the room knows ... and there's this long silence, and somebody coughs, and somebody else goes "Anyway ..." Kinda awkward and sad, is all.

What is uplifting - and what, for me, mitigates the sadness a bit - is hearing people who admit to having screwed-up parents, or who have finally realized how wrong their parents were) resolving to be better for their own kids.

"Our children are through us ... not of us."

Blogger Nilbo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

Blogger Susie said...

Good for you, vajana, and for your husband; I could have sent that card to a few people;)

nilbo, another fascinating aspect, to me, is different people's different comfort levels with what's written here. I'm comfy. That is, I suppose, to be expected. My job (when I'm at work) is to create an environment where anywho can say anything, as long as I or anyone else in the room is not being abused. That aspect of my work carries over to my home, I've been told, and apparently to my blog as well. I find that interesting, and I like it. I haven't detected "deep hatred" or "horribly cruel" here. You hit upon a key difference between blogging and the bad jokes told at a party where people are physically present -- here we have no "specific...person who everybody in the room knows." Until someone comes in here and says, "Hey! I am the mom she's talking about!" I say we have a room full of victimless commenting criminals here. Some refer to personal experience, some to experiences of which people are aware thru someone else, and some, purely imaginary. (And of course I'm aware that I've just invited a comment from "The Mom!" heehee)

"Gallows humor" can be a very functional thing. I have a pretty high comfort level with it. As I said earlier, I wouldn't necessarily have predicted the specifics of what would show up here, but I was aware of potential for triggering certain things, which is why the disclaimer.

Blogger Circus Kelli said...

Ladybug -- I'm so sorry about your relationship with your Mother, and especially the hurt. Big hugs to you, doll. And, of course, Susie's right. Remember, Mother's Day is about YOU, too. From what you've told us, you sound like an awesome Mom. Drawing inspiration from you and Susie, I've started telling Punkin "Be kind to everyone. Do your best today. I love you." when dropping her off at school.

Greenie -- Oh man! That's a perfect card for my Mom. PERFECT... although I might change "all the times" to EVERY TIME. :)

Little Sister -- ((Hugs)) I wish there was something I could do to help, LS. I'll keep you and your family in my prayers.

Nilbo -- You go ahead and hope all you want for some of us to find understanding AND forgiveness. Some of us aren't up to that task yet.

Blogger Nilbo said...

Excellent points, Susie ... I think you may have gone to the heart of it when you talked about comfort levels. I'm deeply uncomfortable with negative emotions - not that I'm insensitive to them or to the people who are feeling them, but they trigger an automatic "fix-it" response in me that is sometimes not appropriate or helpful. Sometimes pain just has to "be".

I didn't mean to imply, either, that people were filled with hatred or were being horribly cruel - I used those in my example to illustrate how the comments were making me feel that level of awkwardness. I don't expect people to universally share my discomfort - and clearly you don't.

I agree that humour can heal - I live that tenet. But it can also reveal much about what we feel inside. And what happened, for me, is that I saw pain in some of the comments and my immediate response was to feel compassion ... and turn the conversation towards understanding and forgiveness. It wasn't my place to do so, and I'm sorry.

I'm also sorry if I seem like a killjoy. I'm so not. so:

Outside: "Mom, I can't begin to list everything you've done for me ..."

Inside: "... until the Zoloft kicks in and my hands stop shaking."

Blogger WILLIAM said...

It got pretty serious in here as far as maternal relationships go.

As my mom used to say "Some one always has it worse than you".

My new card
Turd in the punchbowl
At the mothers day brunch
Turd in the punchbowl
I hope my mom drinks a bunch.

Blogger Susie said...

nilbo, that's a good one. I'm glad you said what you did. What the hell are you doing, engaging your brain here? Is dooce closed or something?;) You didn't say anything at all here that required apology, from where I sit. I have no doubt that you are not the only one who read through and felt some uneasiness. No doubt at all. In your job, people get happy in your presence, and leave happy. Because of my job, I have had to get quite comfy with negative emotions. As you can perhaps imagine, that's why my posts are (usually) all about the goofy; not about my political opinions or personal problems, etc. Blogging is just a silly break. However, on another level, it is gratifying to me that folks can come and sit on my blog couch and say anydamnthing, as well. I could go on and on (big surprise there!). I'll just add that yes, forgiveness and understanding are called for; but when and by what means they are accomplished are not ours to say; and they won't be accomplished here, unfortunately.

Blogger Candace said...

Susie: it's not that I'm not card challenged, it's just that you and everyone else pretty much covered it for me!!

Sometimes I do get wallow-y in remembering my childhood and my past and current relationships with the various people in my family. But after reading some of these "cards" (and some of these sentiments are clearly coming from very bad places), I know (just as I always know) that I didn't have it *that* bad. Having a controlling, compassion-less father who has said many times that he should have stopped having kids after the first (I'm the fifth), who expected me to be perfect and when I wasn't I not only got yelled at but ignored for days, and who has emotionally and psychologically abused my mother for as long as I can remember...not the worst situation I could have been confronted with.

And I decided to (mostly) stop blaming him for who I turned out to be, and I will be (and am) a much better parent than he was.

Life's little joke: he's the BEST grandfather. *shrugs* Oh well.

Blogger Susie said...

Ah, William, my hero! Your mother's saying reminds me of something my MIL says, that her grandmother told her:
"If everyone in the world lay their troubles in a big pile, so that you could see yours and everyone else's, you wouldn't want to trade; you'd take your own back." That may not be 100% true, but it is often quite true.

Blogger Susie said...

misfit, that often happens, that the "worst" parents become the "best" grandparents. (Often, but by no means always.) I expect they're trying to atone; and since there's no rewinding and undoing the past, I say, "take what you can get," and don't rob your kids of a good-enough grandparent because you were robbed of a good-enough parent. (And I must add that a good grandparent does NOT criticize the child's parent in front of the child, or do things that are against the parent's rules for the child.) Sounds like you've come a long, long way:)

Blogger laurenbove said...

Wellll, my mom wasn't perfect but as I am now a mom, myself...I can see times in the future where my child might recall a thing or two he'd like to change.

Moms, Teachers...authority figures in genreal are just people and when we hold them up to a standard that's above what's normal, above human fallability...we're bound for disappointment.

I know some of the tales here are deeply hurtful and abusive. That's terrible and I am amazed at how beautiful and intelligent the children of these situations have turned out to be. It's a true testimony to the human spirit and nature.

Outside: I love you Mom, even though...

Inside: you were 19 when I was born, and not ready to be a mom. You did a good job and I'm glad I was born. Thanks!

Blogger Squirl said...

Susie, thanks for all the laughs and love on this blog. I just want to wish you a Happy Mother's Day.

When am I movin' in????

Blogger Susie said...

laurenbove, squirl, two of my favorite visitors:) thanks for your comments; laurenbove, thoughtful and insightful as always; squirl, I'm patchin' the holes in the inflatable matress, darlin';)

Blogger Circus Kelli said...

Oh! Hey! I just thought of one! And it's not evil or anything!

Outside: Dear Mom, thanks for giving me away...

Inside: But thank you more for welcoming me back.

No, seriously, my Bio-Mom would like this one alot. :)

Blogger Susie said...

CK, then make it and send it:) Good for you. And for bio-mom:)

Blogger Danikabur said...

I just want to add that the reason I had fun with this is because its nice to get off my chest what I sometimes really feel about my Mom.

I was very honest with the thank you for realizing my Dad was the best for taking care of us.

I DO love my Mom. Its just I always act like its no bid deal. Like I accept it completely. I act like it never hurt. But it so did. I don't want her feeling guilty and I don't want anyone else to feel bad for me. So I keep it in. It was just nice to let it out.

You are right Nilbo. There is no key to parenting. Parents wing it. There are a lot of things my Dad did wrong as a parent (or could have done differently) and I could probably make up a ton of these cards for him. The reasons I didn't though is I ultimately know he always tried to do what was/is best for me.

I am who I am today because of ALL of my experiences in life. If I had the oppurtunity to change something in my life I would pass on it because I would no longer be me.

Blogger Susie said...

danikabur, very well said. I completely get where you're coming from; no malice. And this is a perfectly well-hidden little spot to make fun of things that really aren't funny, and vent a little bit, without hurting anyone's feelings. I enjoyed your contributions.

Blogger _Summer_ said...

I'm glad I'm not the only person who winces when the time comes to select a parent's day card.

I've long since abandoned pre-packaged sentiment, in favor of saying, merely, benignly, "Happy Mother's Day."


Post a Comment

<< Home