Modern Family

June 5th, 2012

Last Thursday the U.S. Appeals Court struck down a provision of the Defense of Marriage Act, another paver on the path to same-sex marriage. Fortune says 28% of U.S. households are now one person, double the 1960 rate. Like it or not, we’re headed toward a new definition of “family.”

My LA neighborhood embraces all kinds, and I marvelled at my microcosmic example of how times have changed for American families.

My daughter is one of two girls on a city baseball league (its own little marvel, thanks to Title IX). Here’s a recent exchange from the bleachers:

Dad 1: “Who are the parents of Boy 1?”

Me: “That’s Mom 1’s son. There’s no dad in their family, it’s just her.

Boy 1 is our speediest runner. His father is an anonymous sperm donor, just like the father of my beautiful girl.

Me: “And whose kid is Boy 2?”

Boy 2 is our most naturally gifted player. He’s clearly of South American descent, but I hadn’t noticed any parents who look like that.

Dad 1:Oh that’s Dad 2’s kid… and Dad 3’s,” he says, signaling toward the guy keeping score.

Pretty soon the game is running overtime, and I hear Dad 1 struggling with drop-off logistics on his cell. So to I offer to give his kid a ride home.

Dad 1: “Oh cool, that’s great, Sam will be there.”

Dad 1’s kid and mine used to go to the same school. I don’t know him well, but — and not to gender stereotype — he’s a pretty manly guy. So I run home and check my old school phone directory. Sure enough, there it is in plain ink: this boy, too, has two dads.

We’re 4-for-4. Who knew the non-traditional family would become as all-American as baseball, apple pie, and Chevrolet?

Compare your definition of family to the norms in your community. Sometimes I feel inauthentic referring to what I have as a family, since my nuclear family is just my daughter and me. But all families are different. What defines us is our commitment to love, to respect and care for, and to expect the same in return, through thick or thin.



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