A Modern Family, Sort Of…


His Mom planned a special event for his fifth birthday. After that, he’d start kindergarten, and that meant launching him into life… this little boy was on his way to becoming a ‘creature of the world’. It’s an emotional milestone for any parent.

Thus, a family event seemed to be in order to celebrate his birthday.

Turns out, this would be no classic family gathering. You see, he has three parents, well sort of, and six grandparents, sort of, and a still larger extended family, sort of. That is, three people qualify for parental status and six more for third generation status, and many more that may someday be eligible to claim familial status of one kind or another, including a one-year-old niece, well sort of… which mean’s he’s an uncle… well sort of.


Confused? It does get better. Trust me. Here goes.

Let’s begin with the invitation list for the party. It looked like this:

His Dad was invited, of course. His Mom and Dad are separated. His Dad arrived with his girlfriend. The best part here is that all three adults get along just fine, most of all because they agree on one important thing: it’s all about their bright and bubbly five-year-old, and not about any of them.

Then there were the grandparents. His paternal grandparents live in another city and couldn’t attend the birthday party. Four other grandparents did. Hold it: most kids only have four grandparents, you say? Not these days.

His grandparents on his mother’s side are also divorced. His grandmother arrived with her husband. And the little boy’s grandfather arrived with his partner. Two are bona-fide grandparents. Let’s call the other two step-grandparents. Happily, all of them get along just fine too, in large part because they also realize it’s all about their handsome and precocious grandson, not about any of them.

That’s genuine maturity by all of them, don’t you agree?

Oh, yes, we did say the little boy’s an uncle. Well, yes, that’s another “sort of”. You see, his Dad’s girlfriend has a daughter. She’d be eligible to become the little boy’s stepsister once his Dad marries her mother.

My Extended Family

Hello? Are you still there?

Now, the uncle thing comes up because his Dad’s girlfriend’s daughter is a mother, too. That would make the baby eligible to become the little boy’s niece. Well, sort of…

Why do I keep saying “Sort of”? That’s because almost nobody mentioned above is married… yet.

So there you have it: the story of the modern extended family in the 21st Century.


And it’s all perfectly clear now, right?

Oh, in order to keep track of who’s who, and what’s what, it might a good idea to refrain from writing anything down, just yet. This is a moveable feast, you see. Rumors of wedding bells persist. Better just enter all of this into one of those other symbols of the 21st Century that’s easily updated: an iPad or something equivalent.

This is a true story… well sort of.


“A Modern Family” is Copyright 2015 by James Osborne. All Rights Reserved

imagesI mage Credits: Courtesy of Google Images

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