It doesn’t have to be a minivan. Those things annoy me on any vehicle. Look! There’s Mommy, and Daddy, and Bobby playing baseball, and little baby Jimmy, and Susie who just loves cheerleading, and oh! Spot the Dog and Fluffy the cat. And is that a pet bird?
Meanwhile, Bobby’s in the back seat thinking about his real family structure: Mommy on her third husband, and his real Daddy he gets to see on weekends with his other new Daddy, his half-sister Susie, forced into cheerleading to fulfill her mother’s dreams, and seriously, where did little baby Jimmy even come from? Spot the dog who eats his own poo, and Fluffy the cat who roams the house anxiously meowing. Probably tortured, looking for that mysterious pet bird Bobby didn’t even know he had.
At first I saw that proud display of stick family love as obnoxious screams of, “Hey! Look at me! Look what I have! Look what I’ve accomplished!” Those stickers seem to portray an illusion of that put-together, happy family, perfection, that how-does-she-do-it-all mom. Everyone smiling, permanently thrilled to be going wherever that minivan takes them.
And I suppose there is nothing wrong with that. But us stick-family observers are smarter than that. We know life inside that van isn’t all puppies and rainbows. And if it is? Good for them. Or perhaps it’s time to get some help; they’re probably in serious denial.
I will not pretend to know what motivates someone to plaster those creative stick figures on the family vehicle, but maybe there’s more to it than what I am giving people credit for. I mean, yeah, life sucks super bad sometimes, but who hasn’t tried to put on a happy face, in spite of it all? Maybe this happy stick family reminds Mommy of everything she does have to be grateful for, especially on those bad days, the days she really struggles. Or maybe this is the first thing in life that Mommy and/or Daddy really feel proud of, feel like they did something right, and they can’t help but want to express that…somewhere.
So I’ve made the executive mental decision to stop judging the stick family families. I am 100% certain I will relapse, but at least I am making an effort.
My favorite stick figure family? One happy looking stick person next to a tent.
My favorite favorite stick figure family? One happy looking stick person trailed by eight stick cats.