The Caricature of My Family

Caricature of my family drawn by a Quebec City street artist, 1995

This past Sunday I put out my Christmas decorations, the same ones I’ve had for at least 15 years. A few years ago I gave away my Christmas tree and replaced it with a mini pre decorated tree purchased from Costco.

As time passes, there is a need to simplify, in all aspects of my life. Therefore, this week I decided to rummage through my storage bins first going through all the Christmas stuff I no longer wish to use. That done, I went to the souvenir bins, slowly looking at the contents and remembering their significance. I found a cylinder containing a drawing. It was a caricature of myself with my then husband and teenage daughters, taken in Quebec City, Canada in 1995, the latter part of the 20th century! For a fraction of a second my initial reaction was sadness, for a family broken by divorce, but then taking a closer look at the drawing my sadness turned into laughter. Firstly, the caricatures did not resemble us. But what was humorous, was where he positioned me in the sketch. The setting is a pool. My ex husband is between our two teenage daughters. On the left, my eldest’s little body is in a dive position, the youngest, on the right, is perched on a stool and my ex is in bermudas with a drink in his hand, his posterior facing my head. I on the other hand, am lying at the BOTTOM of the pool with only the top of my head and eyes above the water.

The above scene is humorous not because of how he interpreted our faces but rather how he captured us as a family. My eldest, ready to dive, describes her nature, a go-getter. My youngest, a more layed back personality, is shown sitting. As for my ex, he’s the king, holding his cocktail with his posterior pointing towards his wife, “moi”, who is almost fully engulfed by the water. The disconnection between us is so obvious.

Perhaps my reaction to what I saw in the drawing was not only sadness and amusement but something deeper. A feeling of being in a good place and with a healthy sense of humour. But most of all, finally accepting the revised version of “My Family”.