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“Join the Phenomenon and be a Family that STICKS Together!”

Tuesday, May 29, 2012
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Picture from here

Of all the ways everyday life has of reminding me that I’m a widow, the family car decal is one of the most tangible.  It seems like I can’t drive anywhere without being stuck at a stop light behind one of these irksome stickers.  The concept confuses me.  Why do people advertise their family status on the back of their car?  The rear window is not a Facebook page, a dating profile or a family tree.  Yet, many people post stick figures on there with just enough detail to let you know how happy and well-rounded their family is. Apparently, it is all the rage.  As one family decal website declares, “Join the Phenomenon and be a Family that STICKS Together!”

Several times per day, I spend a couple of minutes staring at some stranger’s seemingly perfect life-- happy dad with golf clubs, smiling mom in workout gear, small boy with a baseball hat and adorable girl on ice skates.  It’s yet another message to me that my family is different.  In a time when it seems that society is more inclusive and open-minded than ever, how is it that the rear window of a car can make me feel so bad?  I know I could customize a decal if I wanted one as you can purchase each figure individually.  Yet, why can’t I help feeling that I can’t be included in this “phenomenon” without others behind me at a stop light wondering what happened?

Let’s be real.  Have you ever seen one of those stickers with just one parent figure?  How about one of a divorced family where mom and kids are on one side of the window and dad and his new girlfriend are on the other?  Notice any with two mommies or a child in a wheelchair or even one with no children at all?  What about one with a daddy figure in a hospital bed or represented as a headstone?  Hmmmm…I’m calling BS on this “phenomenon.” 

Widowed families ARE different.  We will never be the perfect example depicted on a car window but if there is one thing we are good at, it’s sticking together.   My family may not have a real life daddy but we certainly have a lot of other people who keep us together.  Grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends all help us to get through the day (but I guess you wouldn’t be able to see out the back window if I included all of them).  Now that I think about it, WE are the phenomenon of a family that STICKS together.  Car decal or not, we should be pretty darn proud of that.


Sticks can be broken.. True Love lasts forever..

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