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casheroo's avatar

How do you thank someone for doing so much for you?

Asked by casheroo (18086points) May 23rd, 2009

I honestly don’t even know where to begin with thanking my parents for all that they have done for me over the years.

They are doing my family a huge favor, and have emotionally supported me all my life. I know some people will say “That’s a parents job,” but I know not everyone believes parents should do as much as mine have, because of all they have done to help my brother and I.
When a thank you just isn’t enough, but you have nothing else to give…what can you do?

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41 Answers

CMaz's avatar

Say, “Thank you.” It really hits home, more often then you think. And, sometimes it can be harder to say than it seems.

dynamicduo's avatar

Express your love. This is what I do with my mom. I have similar thoughts as you regarding my parents, so I express my gratitude to them in words, and as well I help them with their needs whether it’s a drive to the airport or planting the garden or fixing the computer. In recent years both my parents have become more expressive, and I appreciate that in our relationship, it makes me feel secure that if anything were to happen, I would not berate myself over not having said something to them.

iAmLuca's avatar

I have the same issue, but i find, utilizing your ability with whatever your strengths are…

ie: mine are with enterprising new businesses and with development, i have decided to set my mum up a company to keep her busy in her old age. She has always collected antiques but never managed to set up a system of selling anything.
So, i am thanking my mum by giving her an opportunity to be happy with an online store.

Your parents will always be looking out for you, that is ‘their job’ as it will be mine to my future kids, but appreciation is the act of thanking either subconsciously or otherwise.

What are your parents passions and what do they wish for that maybe they never achieved when they were younger?

That may give you some options to really pull some strings…

gooch's avatar

Hugs, kisses, & thank you. I am a parent of three grown girls and I never feel so good as when they do that because I know I have done a good job and they are grateful to have me as a parent.

Fresh's avatar

Tell then u love them ok!!!!!!

PandoraBoxx's avatar

I have to agree with @dynamicduo; pay back what you get in kind. Be helpful and appreciative, to your parents and to others that matter to you. The things that I treasure most are thank you notes written from my daughters, especially my youngest. They come from her heart.

knitfroggy's avatar

My parents have done so much for me all my life, like above and beyond what they should have. I tell them thank you every time they do something for me and sometimes I’ll just send a little card out of the blue. And I’ll go over and wash the dishes and vacuum for them sometimes, just to be helpful. They aren’t old, but they are getting there.

Saturated_Brain's avatar

For me, hugs are the way to go. To actually want and feel safe in physically getting close enough to anyone such that you don’t mind rubbing your body against theirs is the way to show that you trust and love that person. And to do it well, hug really tightly and for a long time.

That’s what I did just today to my mom. We had a very personal discussion, we lay the boundaries of our expectations on each other, and after that, just before she was able to take three steps away from me, I walked quickly behind her and hugged her like I’ve never done before. It felt good.

Same thing happened with my dad not very long ago. He was buying me stuff, and I had always been somewhat afraid of him. However, I knew that he bought me more than my mom told him to buy for me, and for that he’d probably get a scolding from her. I stood by the car for a while, hesitated for a bit, before just giving him a hug. I could tell that he was surprised, but he laughed happily and hugged me back. That’s the closest I’ve ever felt to my dad before. I should do it more often..

Yeah.. rather personal here, but I’m sharing them just to prove my point. A lot of the time, words are cheap. Actions say what you want to tell people much more than you can possibly believe.

Kayak8's avatar

When I was in a similar situation, I purchased a copy of the Little Prince (book). I made a card to go with it using an illustration from the book that I found online(and I attached a little bell). Inside the card, I used a modified quote from the book:

“In one of the stars I will be living, in one of the stars I will be laughing and when you look up at the night sky, it will be as if I had given you, instead of stars, a lot of tiny bells that know how to laugh . . .”

Obviously, you have to have read the book for the above to make much sense, but it essentially becomes a message that “your parents have sent you out into the world, having really taught you how to love, and their reward will be to hear your joy in all you do.

MissAnthrope's avatar

When I feel gratitude like that, I try to do something thoughtful for the person. I never have much money, so I can’t buy gifts willy-nilly, but I like to think of something the person needs or enjoys that I could provide for them. I might bake something special for them, offer to clean up their computer, make them a tailored mix, or sometimes I get crafty/artsy and will make something for them.

Basically, my idea is that even though I can’t repay the person financially, they know I’ve put thought, time, and effort into doing or making something nice for them.

gailcalled's avatar

You do unexpected, loving and small things all the time until they die. You surprise them with unbirthday gifts or just pick them a bouquet of flowers. You don’t ever need to spend any or much money.

basp's avatar

One of my sons writes to me how he feels on special occasions. He might not have enough money to get a fancy gift, but, he will write (sometimes rather clumsily) his thoughts and appreciation. That is very special to me.
My other son has a speicial “mama hug” that he gives me at times when I really need it.
Every family is different. Do what feels right to you. Be honest. Be real.

casheroo's avatar

Thanks for all the responses. Today is just a really emotional day and I’m so awful at expressing myself. I just turn into a jello mold of tears.

basp's avatar

casheroo….....parents understand jello molds of tears….it’s covered in chapter six of the parent handbook.
Good luck…..

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Now you’re making me tear up…daughter just came downstairs, planted a kiss on the top of my head, said “I love you, mommy” and headed off to make breakfast.

dynamicduo's avatar

@casheroo I know very well of the jello tears, aren’t we in the same Easy Cry fanclub?* :) I’ve found that expressing my emotions more gives me more chances to hold back and manage these tears, and as a result I’ve been developing a greater control over my emotions as a result. Those around me know very well that my tears don’t mean anything bad is happening, so they accommodate me well. Practice really does make perfect.

*Example: I started crying yesterday while describing the very emotional opening scene in the Star Trek movie.

bythebay's avatar

I am also in the Easy Cry Fan Club.

Be the best daughter and mother that you can be. Be supportive and kind, hardworking and humble. Show them that they’ve taught you well and express your love often and without reservation.

Do the unexpected as mentioned above, return the favor of unconditional love and support. Be strong, be happy, be wise – no parent would ever want more.

basp's avatar

by the bay…....if I could give you a hundred lurves for that answer I would!

sakura's avatar

A simple thank you is often enough, as the word isn’t used as much as it should be now a days! You will be surprised at how much it can mean too!
If you really want to give them something give them your time, help them out as they have helped you, it is a parents job to look after you but more often than not some go beyond the call of duty!! You are very lucky and its nice to think you don’t take them for granted.
GOOD LUCK what ever yo decide to do!
loving @bythebay answer double lurve to you (sorry not sure how to whisper yet)

Buttonstc's avatar

While it may be difficult to express these feelings to them verbally in their presence without being overwhelmed it’s clear from what you have written here that you do have ability as a thoughtful and articulate writer.

Perhaps you could expand upon some of the thoughts which you have already shares here and write them a letter either separately for each or both together expressing your gratitude.

My inspiration for this idea comes from some of the (now) adult kids of my oldest friends from back in college days.

Their oldest girl and boy wrote a letter toveach parent expressing how much they appreciate them and recognize how fortunate they were compared to some of their friends and classmates and friends with divorced parents or so career-obsessed they barely had time for them.

These framed letters now hang in a corner of the den as a loving testament to the power of love.

Perhaps something similar may fit the bill for what you’re trying to do.

Whatever you do out of a loving heart will mean more to them than you can imagine, i’m sure.

_bob's avatar

Well, if you want an specific example, I give mine a big-ass TV my first Christmas after college.

gailcalled's avatar

I have a treasured framed letter from my daughter when she was about 6. It says, ”Alison. All About Love.

Love looks like my Mother and her hearts all over her dress. She smells like rosy perfume and she floots. THE END”

There is a picture she drew at the bottom; I am in my dress with the red hearts. I am flooting.

Loried2008's avatar

I say YOU ROCK MY SOCKS but hey I just try to make it personal :) thank you says a lot

figbash's avatar

Awww, Casheroo. I get this way sometimes too. I become overwhelmed with gratitude for my parents and have no way to express the gravity of how they’ve changed my life. I’ve said ‘thank you’ a million times but it never felt like enough.

BytheBay is right – they’re parents and they really just want to see you happy, thriving, treating other people well and carrying forward the best things they’ve taught you.

It sounds like you’ve already articulated, if not written, how grateful you are for them. It’ll be a cry-fest, but you should consider sitting down and writing them a letter thanking them for everything that they’ve taught you. I think you may point out some things they never knew you picked up on, or maybe they don’t know that you do ______ and ______ (always give the larger piece of cake, hand out change) because you learned it from them. Be broad, but also very specific about little traits and customs. I think this would be an incredible gift, and something that will really allow them to see how much they’ve succeeded as parents.

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

Say the words, write the words, leave a simple voicemail of love. Like most people have mentioned above, just to being acknowledged by people you love is a tremendous feeling.

May2689's avatar

I know it may sound a little bit material, but I think a good way of thanking my parents is to give them my first paycheck. And Im not just talking about any paycheck, I’d give them the one from the job that I want to do for the rest of my life. Its wouldn’t be close to thanking them for all they’ve done for me, but at least I think it shows gratitude, that without them I wouldnt be where I am today.

gailcalled's avatar

To be fair, here are the two framed notes from my son.

!) Aged 8: Dear mommy, I’m very sorry, I didn’t write a birthday card on your birthday, so I’m writiing now. Happy birthday on December 30th the last day of the year. Love, John


(Signed) The Lingerie LIberation Army”

He went on to be a professional writer, editor and photographer for acacemic journals. He always forgot my birthday, which was 12–31.

Jude's avatar

Pour it all out in a letter…

knitfroggy's avatar

@gailcalled Those are adorable letters. I wish you’d post a pic of the one where you are flooting…it’s adorable…and I’d love to see a momma in a red heart dress floot!

gailcalled's avatar


Sadly, Alison wrote and drew with a red magic marker. Even though I have kept it out of the sun, it has faded quite badly. Imagine a stick figure drawn by a kid; add scribbled black hair. a smile and little red hearts on the triangular dress attached to the body, which is hanging in 2D, ready to slide off the paper at any moment.

ram201pa's avatar

Look your parents right, straight, smack in the eye balls and say, “Thank you for everything you did for me. Thank you for being my parents. I appreciate everything. I love you more than you ever know.”

This from a Mom whose son and daughter did this to her. It took me to my knees.

gailcalled's avatar

Another poignant moment for me was when I apologized to my adult children for any mistakes I had made with them, any unfair treatment, any issues I had not discussed with them, etc. I then bared my chest and waited for the slings and arrows. To my astonishment, they both teared up.

Buttonstc's avatar

I do trust that it was a metaphorical “baring of the chest.”. :)

lady4life's avatar

When you do well in life..when you become a beautiful well developed human being that is gratitude’ve shown them what their love has done for you..I am sure your parents are proud of you and they are glad that you shine..your love back is the greatest gift..

I hope you allow them to read this..{beautiful}

Kraken's avatar

I say thank you. Thye know I mean it.

MaryW's avatar

Say Thank you often. Add a hug when something touches your heart. Smile when they enter a room. Become a super person. Watch what little things bring them pleasure and suprise them once a month without being asked. Weeding a garden, dusting above cabinets, cleaning behind heavy objects, sprucing up the car. Do not throw anything out though or get into their personal stuff !!! :-) Help to change sheets on the beds. Can you tell I am 65? It is harder to bend and reach…good for a person but harder.

Crossroadsgrl's avatar

yes , TELL THEM :)
cards are something my parents LOVE

spend TIME with them, take them to dinner now and then….just “give it all back”

Crossroadsgrl's avatar

and then do the SAME for YOUR kids !

that’s what it’s ABOUT….passing the good stuff DOWN, through the generations…and getting rid of the crap

so keep it going :)

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