Back to Family Week
In 1997, the opening event to kick off Family Week was a bagel brunch hosted at the beach house of two dads. It was my first time to Ptown, first time encountering other families with gay parents. Like any teenager forced into an awkward social situation, I bristled at my mother's insistence that I join the teenagers on the porch. "Go. Out. Side." she said through gritted teeth. I was going to turn 13 in a few weeks, but the signature Mom Glare Stare still worked on me.
On the back porch, about eight kids around my age sat on the porch swing, making small talk. The girl in the center of the bench appeared to be the leader, the most confident, and the only person who initiated a conversation with me. Still, I heaved a sigh of relief when my mother told us it was time to start the long walk down Commercial Street to our B&B. As a group of us exited the gate, I asked The Cool Girl where she was staying, and we were staying in the same small inn. It was fate, and I launched my campaign to win her friendship. She would say I annoyed her until it was easier to be my friend than ignore me. My tenacity paid off - 22 years later, The Cool Girl is still my best friend.
Sarah grew up in Southern California, I in Northern Virginia, so we faced the trials of life, graduations, marriages, babies, divorce, all from opposite coasts. Early on, we spent countless hours on the phone, sent thousands of emails and internet chats, and at best, visit each other once a year. We centered our friendship on support from afar.
Now that we are adults, my friendship with Sarah means more than ever. Taking those first tenuous steps out to the back porch led me to the best friend I could ever ask for.
This year, Sarah and I will reunite in the place that first brought us together. Family Week looked a lot different when we were teens - the workshops focused on how to tell your teachers or friends that you have gay parents, or how to field rude questions from the press. Our generation of COLAGErs faced very different circumstances than today's group. Where we were a tiny group of 10-12, the group has now grown to hundreds. This will be the first Family Week Sarah and I have attended together since 2001, and we're contributing to that number by bringing our kids, parents, siblings, and partners - some for the very first time. My younger sister will experience COLAGE camp and take part in some of the same activities that brought Sarah and I together.
When our parents brought us to Provincetown 22 summers ago, they were hoping we'd have a fun time, leave them alone for a little while each day (thanks workshops!), and feel more comfortable having a different kind of family. I'm sure that they didn't expect to add so many members to our own, but again, that's why it's called Family Week.