Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Life ain't like Ozzie and Harriet

I read a statistic recently that only 25% of families in America are of the "nuclear" variety. (That's nu-cle-ar, not like Homer Simpson's "nu-cu-lar") Mom, Dad and a coupla kids, all in the same house.

At first, I found this statistic to be kind of sad. My mind automatically wants to think that this is the appropriate family structure. Any other kind must be missing something.

I thought about single moms raising their kids. I was raised by my mom, by herself, for many years. I think I turned out okay. Bucking the statistics...

I thought about step-parents loving their blended families. Statistic shmatistic.

I thought about the new generation of grandparents raising their grandbabies, for whatever reason. Although I am eternally thankful that my grandma did not raise me while she was my grandma, I know that many of the grandparents did not have the proper choice as to whether or not they wanted to raise their grandbabies. And they're doing the best they can.

I thought about Matt Logelin, and others like him. Thrust into single parenthood without any say or choice. It makes my heart hurt.

Then I thought about what I go home to every day after work. Wait a minute, I'm not in a nuclear family! It's just Handsome and me at the ol' homestead. And it might be that way for a long time.

And I'm okay with that.

I wonder what effect watching Ozzie & Harriet (or Leave It to Beaver, or The Cosby Show, etc.) had on people who were not themselves part of a nuclear family. Did they think something was wrong with their family, because Dad had blazed out of the picture early (or, worse, stayed in it but in an alcoholic hurricane)?

Or maybe The Brady Bunch was the true trailblazer, showing that there is life after ... widowhood? divorce? Mike Brady was apparently a widower but there was never any mention of what situation Carol survived.

What's more intriguing is that that show was inspired because of a statistic from the Los Angeles Times produced in 1965 saying that 40% of marriages had a child, or children, from a previous marriage.

40% !!

But they never talked about it on the show. It was taboo.

So, news folks, don't make me feel like I'm some kind of weirdo for not having the proper American nuclear family. Apparently, it's never been that way.

1 comment:

Amy said...

Great POST! I so enjoy reading your writing and opinions. Not sure how strong your faith is but I'm one to believe in the higher power and that through prayer all things are possible.