Before my life changed, I never would have envisioned it to look the way it does now…
There are moments in time when life seems perfect. One of those moments for me was 18 years ago when I was being wheeled out of the hospital holding my newborn daughter. My husband was by my side holding our two-year-old daughter’s hand while she skipped happily along.
An older couple walked by us and I heard the wife comment to her husband, “Isn’t that just the prettiest picture?” He looked at us, then nodded and smiled at her.
Yes, our family certainly was the prettiest picture. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always stay that way. Our family certainly did not. Ten years after that day, our lives changed drastically when my husband and the father of those little girls passed away.
What does a family look like?
While my husband was still alive, the four of us watched the first few seasons of “Modern Family” together. I always thought they were such a cool family; the dad with the young wife and her little boy, his daughter with her husband and their three children, and his gay son with his life partner and their little baby. Their large family always looked like they were having so much fun.
That was TV. We were certainly not living the life of a sitcom. The four of us were just leading the life of a regular family.
Then everything suddenly changed and our lives became more like a sad drama or a medical show.
We were now a family of three, not four. It was as if we were missing a limb. Of course we were still a family but life changed. Our family felt very small, although the love between the three of us was enormous.
The expression, “the days are long but the years are short” definitely applied to us. Suddenly, my little girls have grown into amazing young women.
Somewhere along the way, life changed again. Although we are officially still a family of three, we have created an extended family as well.
We have grandparents and aunts, uncles and cousins but recently I realized we have more.
A couple of months ago, we went out for a family dinner before my youngest went off to college. As we were all talking and eating, I looked around the table. It was not a table for three as it had been for so long, it was a table for six. My boyfriend joined us, as well as my older daughter’s live-in girlfriend (she came out a few years ago), and my younger daughter’s boyfriend. Not in attendance (but whom I also consider part of our extended family) are my boyfriend’s two adult daughters, one who has a live-in boyfriend.
My first thought as I looked at our table was, “Well, this is very Modern Family.”
The widow with the divorced guy and four daughters between them, some with significant others, one being same-sex. Granted, none of us know if or how long any of these relationships will last, but right now we are a pretty big group.
Eighteen years ago while strolling out of the hospital, I could never have envisioned where life would take me. It is so very different from where it was back then. Life changed and we had no choice but to roll with it.
At the moment I am pretty happy with my very own Modern Family.
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Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.