Television. I watch a lot of it. Especially these day. As a new mom who decided to embrace breastfeeding… let’s just say I tune in while I pump out. I’ve binge-watched ‘Scandal’ and discovered why ‘Orange is the New Black’. While I anxiously await for ‘House of Cards’ to unfold in front of my eyes—I am forced to tune in to, yes, basic cable—and that’s where I fell in love with ‘Modern Family’.
Now, I have caught an episode or two in the past—enough to know why everyone is hot for Sophia Vagara and why Eric Stonestreet may go down as the funniest straight guy to ever play gay. But these days, I watch the show through Mom-colored glasses (which are a lot like rose-colored glasses, but with more smudges). I still laugh right along with all of the jokes, but now I find myself fighting back tears at the end of each episode. That’s when the life lesson wraps itself up in a nice narration brilliantly expressing the bond between a modern family.
What I have also come to realize is that the concept of a modern family isn’t just one that is made-for-TV. It’s everywhere we look. In every family. On every corner. In fact, the so-called “typical family” now seems to be more of the exception than the rule.
To give you an example, I need look no further than my own birth records. I was adopted when I was just 5 days old. To a mother and father who already had two biological children of their own. I was the only adopted kid on the block. My Mom told me my family was special. Looking back on it now, I guess we were also modern.
45 years later, I gave birth to a baby boy, conceived with love (and IVF). I used a donor egg to get pregnant, which is an example of modern technology at its finest. I know dozens of women who have gone through fertility treatments as well, including one of my best friends. She got pregnant after three rounds of IVF. Four years later, she and her husband adopted a little girl from China.
I’m close to two women who used surrogates to carry their children. I’m also great friends with a gay couple who did the same. My next door neighbor is lesbian, she and her partner have two sons. And in my circle of friends (both real and on Facebook) there are countless numbers of step-moms, step-dads, half-sisters and brothers… and even a few who call themselves siblings—believing relatives are those we are born to, and family are the people we choose to be with.
I guess what I’m trying to say, is that it no longer matters how you make a family. The important thing is that you are a part of one. Some will have it easier than others. There will always be the mothers who fall right into a pregnancy, and there will be those of us who will face an uphill battle. Some will carry their children. Others will pick up where the biological mom or surrogate left off. There are so many choices—which I like to call options—and thanks to medical advances there are more and more of them each and every day.
Now, I’m sure there are still old fashioned-families out there, it’s just that I don’t know many of them anymore. But the modern ones? They seem to be everywhere I look (including five nights a week on a cable channel near you).