I wondered what they were all talking about. I mean, I understood that my boyfriends were handsome, sure. Some were incredibly kind, smart, and funny. I enjoyed being around them. But I didn’t get that *thing* that all my girlfriends were talking about. Where I come from, it isn’t easy to be ‘out.’ And really, there are still so many places, all these years later, that feel the same.
But, being outspoken is one of my favorite traits, and so out I came.
My wife and I grew up together. We rode the same school bus, lived a mile from one another and went to all the same schools, me a couple of years behind her. Never having really been in the other’s close orbit, we knew each other tangentially at best. Fast forward 20 years, we’re married with a 2-year-old.
But us, as a couple, coming out in our hometown where her parents still lived, was an experience that felt like it set me back nearly two decades. All is fine now, but it was a strange experience.
But times have changed, and my family and I went to Madeira’s very FIRST Pride picnic this weekend. We had no idea what to expect. Would we be the only ones there? Would people be welcoming? We brought along another two-mom couple and their toddler and made an afternoon of it. It was lovely. We met other couples with children. We saw our daughter’s schoolmates and their parents. We tossed water balloons. We took photographs. We donated. We thanked the PFLAGG parents.
Everyone has been incredibly kind to us since we moved here in January. We’ve not felt stares or whispers like we did in our own hometown. We were cautioned when moving that the region is “super conservative.” We wondered how we would be received. And like the picnic, we couldn’t feel more welcome. That said, we choose pride every day. We choose to be proud of our family, as all families should. Regardless of the makeup, all families can and should be celebrated.
We’ve talked about familial make up with our daughter since she was able to understand. Mommy, Mama, and Me, We’re Different We’re the Same, Happy in our Skin, You Hold Me Up, A Tale of Two Mommies, and When God Made You are a few of our favorite reads. We wore out our copy of Todd Parr’s The Family Book. If you ask Rae about her family, she’ll tell you about her two moms, her three sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We’re surrounded by people who celebrate her, us, our family.