Hi, I’m Adrienne, the sometimes bitter divorcee. I’m sitting behind you at a red light and I have to stare at your happy family outlined in glaring white decals on the back of your minivan: Dad with his grilling tools, you with your shopping bags, and your sporty boy and girl, flanked by an obnoxiously cute dog. Yes, I get it: Your family is perfect. Intact. Whole.
I’m not going to put my family layout on my car because what would that look like, with me on one side, my ex and his new wife, her three kids, and their new baby on the other, and our two kids pasted to the middle, halfway between us? Maybe we could even put my ex’s new wife’s ex somewhere on there too? Who can keep up? The whole lot of us are a family of some sort, but it’s not the kind you brag about.
Let’s be real: I know your family isn’t perfect even if it is really great. Even if your marriage is going strong, you’ve faced hardship and strife. Your kids may be wonderful, but I’m sure they drive you around the bend at least some of the time. Maybe your stickers are just your way of showing how grateful you are for the best parts of your life.
But I feel like you’re showing off. Your family is superior to mine because you have a spatula-wielding dad in the picture. It’s your right to decorate your car however you wish, but keep in mind all the families who are families, even if there are no kids, even if a parent or child has died, even if the grandparents are raising the child, even if the family configuration is one of many other scenarios that don’t play out well in stick-figure form.
You can read about my family, a little worse for the wear, but definitely not broken, in Giving Myself Away, coming soon from Assent Publishing. Thanks for visiting, and please let me know how you feel about family stickers.