February 19, 2017 – Modern Family

I don’t watch much TV so I’ve only seen snippets of the currently popular show who’s title I plagiarized for this post. However, between the snippets I’ve seen and the chatter I’ve heard at work, I have a pretty good sense of the main point of the show. It’s essentially a 21st century take on shows like Leave it to Beaver or Eight is Enough or The Waltons. The update includes a gay couple, a Hispanic-Anglo mixed marriage that also has a significant age difference between spouses, and a “normal family.” The show consistently receives critical acclaim for pushing the definition of family and raising awareness of social issues related to cultural expectations. Personally, I don’t think it’s a very revolutionary look at the definition of family. Like most teens of my time (going way back here), I did watch a lot of TV back in the day. Some of the shows I watched religiously were already breaking ground decades ago—shows like All in the Family, Good Times, One Day at a Time, and Three’s Company. All these shows represented “modern families” for the times.

Thinking about these shows recently reminded me of how much I enjoy my “modern family.” I’ve spent the last couple months wrestling with a lot of things between work and home including some members of my “modern family.” The great thing is that they have also been wrestling with my wrestling and always step up to let me know how much they love me and support me regardless of where I’m at emotionally, mentally or physically. It’s made a difficult time much easier on me and, I know, harder on them. That simultaneously saddens me and instills a gratitude I can’t adequately express.

Two incidents this weekend made me think of this topic. #1: Today, we had the pleasure to spend most of the day with one of our daughters and her fiancée. It was a good day doing nothing special and everything special at the same time. The weather was perfect with the sun shining almost as beautifully as our daughter’s radiant face every time she looked at her fiancée. The hope, joy and love expressed so frequently throughout the day without one of those words ever passing anyone’s lips is energizing beyond comprehension. I needed today in so many ways and I thank my modern family for being there yet again without even knowing it.

#2: Friday night we spent the evening with old and new friends thanks to the efforts of one of our dearest family members who isn’t “related” to us. We celebrated our 26th friendiversarry with these family members last year. Due to the nature of military lifestyles and our good fortune of being physically located nearby to these “family members” for 23 of those 26 years, we are closer in most ways to this part of our family than to what some might consider family by traditional cultural definitions. During our Friday night engagement, we separated into guys’ and girls’ groups at the end of the night and delved into some interesting conversations. After one of my diatribes during this debate session, my “brother” told me about an episode from very early in our relationship that he stated left a significant impression on him and helped to shape our relationship. Ironically, I barely remember the episode even after our discussion. I don’t’ care to remember it because I thought I was being overly sensitive and whiny at the time and needed to look past the moment in order to not allow my self-interest to distort my perspective of my brother. I love him and didn’t need my pettiness to get in the way of that. Now, if only I could apply that same concept more uniformly with all the people I love I’d be in much better shape. Here’s to making a stronger effort with my modern family.

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