Picture it, Dedham Massachusetts, on a warm day in September of 2010, a car pulls up to a driveway. A driveway that leads to a home fully prepped for a new arrival. Fully prepped for a new chapter in the homeowners’ lives. Two dogs waiting by the door as if someone was bringing them the biggest dog treat ever. Then a little 2 year old boy named Charlie comes running in his new home with his daddies, already overwhelmed and exhausted from all the prep and the anticipation of this moment, but so excited at the same time. No this was not a family memory from Sophia on the Golden Girls. It is my family story, and it took me to Family Week.
Just recanting that single moment in time brings tears to my eyes. Happy tears but tears none the less as this was the day that our lives changed forever. Besides creating a safe and nurturing home for our son, full of super heroes, trucks and blocks, we wanted him to have exposure to other families that looked like his. My husband and I wanted him to know that the way our family looked was perfectly ok and we knew getting this message into his little impressionable mind while young was of critical importance. But where should we turn?
We had many great summer vacations to PTown under our belts as a couple already, so we vaguely knew there was a week dedicated to families. We were delighted to inquire and learn more about Family Week in Provincetown run by Family Equality Council. But we were nervous. I remember we both chuckled and said to each other “Oh my God, we are now those people.” We realized we would now be the annoying people roaming around our gay haven with strollers, bibs, beach wagons and huge bags full of stuff for any possible emergency that might arise. But we registered anyway and went down with as open a mind as we could and kept our fingers crossed.
We never could have imagined just how wonderful the experience of Family Week would be for our family. The activities were laid back and so much fun. There was stuff to do all the time and plenty of “open time” for you to just explore and have fun on your own. The staff was amazing and super helpful. Once you have tried to have a beach picnic in the rain with smores on an open fire, you bond with people. Simple as that. During the week we met some great families. Families just like others and families that might have looked a bit different. It did not matter, our kids were all having a blast and we were able to form a network. A network of dads who shared a common goal. Little did I know how special this network would become. Over the last 2+ years, our gay dads network has grown to nine local families and 4 more that live out of state. We laugh, we fight, we cry, we get together for holidays and the kids birthdays. We get babysitters and go out as adults for special nights on the town in Boston. We share everything on Facebook and most importantly, we are there for each other. Someone needs a juice box, here you go. Someone else needs a wipe or a spare diaper, no problem. We have become an extended family and support system for each other. I bet that is exactly what the dads had in mind 30 years ago when they created Family Equality Council. We are so proud to be carrying that torch now and we are so grateful for everything this wonderful organization has done to help our family live, learn, grow and thrive. We are proud to now be the annoying ones helping change public perception both in our own gay community and outside.
Thanks for letting me share my story with you today. I hope to see you on the beach this summer.
– Ted Cormier-Leger, Senior Regional Development Officer for the YMCA of Greater Boston