About a thousand years ago, I first experienced Provincetown at the very tip of Cape Cod when my husband brought me to visit his childhood music teachers. These teachers were a couple, two men who my husband refers to as “why I teach” and “how I teach,” respectively, who owned a house in Ptown where they would spend every school vacation until they moved here upon retirement.
I must have been barely twenty years old when I first came here, and as a young gay man, I found tremendous possibility in the acceptance and equity of this beautiful town by the sea. I think it was a combination of seeing men walking down the street hand in hand without fear and the opportunity of getting to know these two influential teachers from my husband’s past that showed me the potential for happiness that lay in my future as a fledgling Gaysian.
Nearly two decades later, my husband and I were married with children, and we visited Provincetown during Family Week, a week-long celebration of LGBT-parented families. Before that, Ptown was a place of sanctuary from our regular lives where living openly as gay men felt like constant work; now with kids, it still represented that and it took on additional meaning. The town embraced our kids as lovingly as it had us so many times before.
At the end of that first Family Week, my husband and I were looking at property, trying to figure out how we might swing a second home in town so that our kids could get to know this wonderful place more intimately as they grew older. When we walk down the street in Ptown, there are other families that look just like ours; when we go to the playground, there are other kids of color with two dads, and nobody awkwardly asks where their mother is.
For the past fours years, we’ve enjoyed getting to know the town in a new way, this time with kids in tow, and it’s been incredible. Our kids smile from ear to ear when we pack the car up and make the circuitous drive to the end of Cape Cod, and as they walk through town, they love waving hello to the people they know.
Tonight, we bundled up in our heaviest winter gear and headed into town for the lighting of the lobster trap Christmas Tree. As I stood in the crowd, fighting a potential hernia to hoist my daughter into the air so she could watch a crane lower the giant tree topper made of tinseled fishing buoys, I glanced up at her face. She was beaming with joy. She was so excited to be experiencing this moment with the crowds, and she was probably thinking ahead to dinner at her favorite restaurant where one of the bartenders is a black woman that shares her name who always gives her the biggest hug when she comes in. In spite of the freezing cold and the pain creeping into my muscles from holding aloft our ninety pound daughter and our hyperactive son doing cartwheels around us with snot running down his face, it was a moment I wanted to savor and one that I look forward to repeating in many ways as our kids grow older.