My Modern Family,
It's a Sunday afternoon. My family and I are watching re-runs of the Modern Family show. If you have had the opportunity to see the show you know it's about three different households that are all related. Jay and Gloria, the "grandparents" are a couple with at least 20 years in age difference (Jay's oldest daughter is actually older than Gloria). Jay is a white man and Gloria is Colombian, (and a vivacious one at that). Jays daughter, Claire is married to Phil and they have three kids together, Haley, Alex and Luke. Jay's oldest son Mitchel is gay, his partner Cameron and he have an adopted daughter, Lilly from Vietnam. Gloria has a son from a previous marriage, Manny. Jay and Gloria also have a son between them, baby Joe. If you have managed to read this far without getting confused about the family tree you are doing great. If you're thoroughly confused... Just know it's one big happy multicultural, hilariously funny family.
One of my favorite episodes from season one was on, "Threading the Needle." There is this moment towards the end of the episode when the character Jay (played by Ed O'neil) hugs Phil, (played by Ty Burrell) and told him he liked him (love is a strong word between two dudes).
Then Cameron (played by Eric Stonestreet, and one of my favorites on the show) joined in, followed by Manny (played by Rico Rodriguez). It's a beautiful moment with the whole family in the same room sharing love, and strong like for each other.
This time while watching that scene I look around my living room at my own little modern family.
I am 26 years old, a glow in the dark, white female laying out on our futon. My husband, in his 40's, is a brilliant Mensa member and a black man. I was actually hand twisting his wiry locks while we watched our beloved show.
Next to us is my teenage step daughter. Her skin is a beautiful copper and her hair has the kind of natural curl women pay big money to imitate. My two year old was between pretending to read to us and entertaining himself with a toy on wheels. He has my complexion but, his hair has curls cherubs would be jealous of.
I am a mother and step mother to five children. My husband is yes, a bit older than me. Obviously we have different cultural backgrounds. My husband comes from a more privileged and well educated life than I. He is a Philly native, has a masters degree and has never been hungry a day in his life. His immediate family growing up was small. He grew up with two sisters. However, his extended family and the community around him was large and supportive.
I am a Midwest cowgirl from rural Oklahoma. Everything I know past 3rd grade, I taught myself. I know what hunger feels like. I put myself through community college while working two jobs. I grew up with five brothers and one sister. My extended family and community were considered outsiders.
My husband and I have vastly different backgrounds but, together we make a great team. He had been married before and came into our relationship with his four amazing babies. I had barely left the cowgirl life and became the 2nd wife with a full family instantly. When we met I was so non-committal about any and everything it was not even funny (Okay, maybe it was, a little). Poppa, (as I lovingly call my hubby) made me want to be committed (And not to a coo coo ward). We jumped in with both feet and haven't looked back.
On this lazy Sunday afternoon in our tiny apartment I found myself falling in love with my family all over again.
Watching Modern Family is one of our favorite lazy day activities.
I love the show's constant theme to celebrate each of the characters differences.
In my family I see our different skin colors and hair types. I've learned (and continue to learn) how to care for each and everyone's different needs, spiritually, physically and emotionally. I value each of my kid's differences. I value the differences between my husband and myself. We have a blended family in more ways than one. It's an amazing family too.
Throughout history the picture of family and what it means and looks like has morphed. Not too many years ago certain kinds of families were illegal, (in some places they still are) including my own. I am so thankful I live in a day and time where I can have the family that I do.
Family isn't always blood related. Family is not defined by money, race or sexual orientation.
Family is differences coming together in love, to make a beautiful bigger picture.
I love and celebrate my family, my "modern" family.