By: Joey Uva
Today is the 4th of July, Independence Day for this great country of ours. Trevor, Grace and I have been in Lake Arrowhead for a long weekend. We rented a cabin with some of our family members to enjoy the outdoors, watch the fireworks on the lake, and spend some quality family time together.
Our convergence to the beautiful Southern California mountains with family members has me thinking about the 21st century American family, and how different it looks from the mid-20th century.
First, let’s start with me. I am first-generation American on my mother’s side; she was born and raised in Managua, Nicaragua. I have three brothers. My oldest brother is married with two children, Garret and Caitlin. My second oldest brother is gay like I am. My youngest brother is married with four children, TJ, Jason, Ashlyn, and Alora. My partner Trevor and I have been together for five years. I am a very proud uncle, and my nieces and nephews love their uncle Trevor.
Grace, my daughter, is 1st generation American on her mother’s side; her mother was born and raised in South Africa with her parents and brothers. Grace has two loving and supportive families on both her mother’s and father’s side.
My partner Trevor’s family has its own set up that breaks from what was seen as the 20th century American family. His family started out as what a lot of people would consider the traditional American family. He grew up with his mother, father, and one brother in a mid-income family in Orange County, California. He was 29 when his mother passed away due to a long battle with cancer. His father, Gary, remarried shortly after, to a woman he had known since childhood. Trevor’s brother Tim is married to Maureen and they have two children, Carter and Taylee. Trevor, Grace and I love spending time with them.
Trevor’s step-mother is Leslie. Leslie has three children from a previous marriage. There is Annie, Ben, and Kelly. All of Leslie’s children are married and have children. Trevor and I are proud uncles to, Isaac, Adam, Mallory, Dustin, and Riley.
Our blended family of dads, moms, step-parents, step-children, brothers-in-law, sisters-in-law, cousins, aunts, and uncles is not the typical family that many of us in our 30’s, 40’s and 50’s grew up with or watched on television. Our family accepts Trevor and me as gay dads and uncles. We are truly lucky.
When being a father became a reality for me, I knew that I wanted my child to enjoy having plenty of family around. More than family, I wanted a family full of love and support. As a gay man and father, that was very important to me.
Yes, the traditional American family has changed. Our family has embraced this change and found that with a lot of love and understanding, family is really a lot more than blood and biology. Our family has disagreements, misunderstandings, and challenges just like any other family. But, the greatest thing our family has is love. I love our American family.