Airbrush that Minivan, Please

OK, since the last photo got lots of comment, I can’t resist adding this one. Again, it’s my son and his daughter in a museum. Right after the photo was taken, they were told “you can’t do that” by a guard. Ethan, my son, puzzled a moment and asked why not. “This is a museum, not a playground,” was the answer.

“In our family we ________(fill in the blank).

We can fill in the blank, because we’ve all been told that in our family we do certain things in certain ways. I’m assuming the guard’s family only has fun in appropriate places like playgrounds. The danger is that once we’ve decided what it is that we do, as a family or an individual, we resist other choices.

I have a good friend who never-ever thought of herself as the tan-minivan-type. When she had three kids under the age of seven and the only car she could afford was a used tan-minivan, she seriously thought about not leaving her house for the next five years. Her solution?

She scraped together enough cash to have flames airbrushed on the sides of the minivan and then drove it until it had to be towed to the junkyard because, by that time, she had become known as the cool mom with the flaming van.

Story has a powerful hold on us. We expect our lives to turn out like the stories we’ve heard. If those stories don’t include clowning in museum or driving a dull car, we won’t.

How do you______ (fill in the blank)? Is the result freeing or restrictive?



Filed under Family Stories, Funny story, Story Motif, Story pegs, Why Stories?

5 responses to “Airbrush that Minivan, Please

  1. Indira Ganesan

    In our family, we don’t often go to museums. My mother’s feet get tired, dad gets bored. With a kid, my dad would have loved to clown around. As a teenager, I would had been hideously embarrassed. My mother would look at flowers. I love the temple lions!
    Thanks, Jerrie.

  2. In my extended family, belly laughs and clowning around are definitely frowned upon. I feel really happy that in my own small family here in Colorado, laughing, teasing, acting silly, running with dogs, faking accents, and other goofiness are DEFINITELY encouraged.

  3. Jeri,

    Another great picture! I cannot imagine a guard telling a father/daughter that they aren’t allowed to pose next to a foo dog and have their picture taken. There is taking your job seriously and there is taking yourself too seriously. One wonders how that guard has fun.

    In my own little family (comprised of my husband and me), all manner of foolishness is allowed, encouraged, and happens. Well, okay, my husband is the primary goofball and thank god he is in my life. That he is still a flaming goof at 72 should give one hope.

    Melanie Mulhall

  4. Kerry

    Love this story, I googled airbrushed mini van because I wanted to do this and it makes me so happy that I’m not the only mom that had that crazy impulse!

  5. I used to teach writing to kids for Writers in the Schools in Houston, and each year we took the kids to the Menil Collection. The guards there had wonderful senses of humor (as one little girl wrote, a “sinsehumor”). Those kids taught me a lot, like Blogmistress Amber’s mantra: If it’s not fun, don’t do it. Loved this photo, and all your recent posts.

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