We've all seen them stuck to the rear window of a passing mini van, stick family decals of all types…the 'Disney' stick family, the 'Star Wars' stick family, even the 'Zombie' (?) stick family. Many of us mamas (and papas!) proudly display the members of our families…kids, babies to be, dogs, cats…even goldfish…for all the motoring world to see!
Personally, I think they are sweet…and yes my SUV sports two little girls dancing and skipping rope along side our three cats, Rossy, Cody and Boo! However, lately I have seen a lot of online bashing of our fun little stick families from those who think they are tacky, silly or just 'don't care who is in your stick family' …and that's fine.
BUT here is why I say to you families who share the contents of your vehicle with me as I drive by …'Sticker Away'.
When this trend began, I had recently split from my husband and was living in a small condo with my three year old daughter. It was an extremely difficult time for me and having come from a large family, with parents still together (maybe a modern day 'Huxtable' household, if you may) I was feeling like I had failed. My daughter and I, on our own, was NOT the family I had dreamt about having all my life, it wasn't the plan and getting past what was 'suppose to be' was perhaps the most difficult part of the whole divorce.
During this time, I started noticing the sticker decals and so did my daughter. We would love pointing them out and discussing what this or that family had in it. 'A mom, a dad, a boy and a girl'; 'A mom, a dad and three girls', 'A mom, a dad, a baby and a dog'….'A mom and just a girl'. I soon realized that what it was teaching my daughter was that families came in all shapes and sizes, that every family was different but that no family was less important or had less love for one other.
When I met my new partner and a few years later added a second child to the family. The lesson of the 'stick families' became even more important. For my daughter she has two daddies, she has a new sister (we don't use the term 'half' sister), and quite recently found out another is on the way, and she has pets that are like family members to her. We aren't the 'perfect' family that I had invisioned …we have two homes, we have three last names, we have 'ever other weekends' and really three cats is one too many …and it can be messy, and tiring and difficult but it in the end we are the smiling family you see stuck to my rear window. We are different like every other stick family out there, and what I have tried to teach my daughter since those early days when she was just three looking at the stick families on cars is that it's TOTALLY okay (even cool!) to be different.
And maybe most importantly, she extends this acceptance to other families that may not look perfect from the outside.
Stick mama of two and a half.