Just before our son turned one, my husband and I decided to do what so many other couples before us have done – move to the suburbs. It was a hard decision. Were we ready to leave behind our friends, favourite restaurants, and other conveniences the city offers? Were the burbs ready for us – minivan driving gay dads with an adorable son? Would people figure out our family dynamic, or would they constantly ask us if we were “giving mom the day off”?
Before our lives as dads, we lived in a great condo in the midst of the city. At 700 square feet, with a 400 square foot patio - we thought we’d hit the urban real estate jackpot. Until we realized that housing two 6’2 dudes, two large dogs, and a baby might be a bit tight.
Our fears of being two gay dads out in the suburbs kept us from making the full plunge. So when we started the adoption process, we sold our condo, and bought a three-bedroom townhome on the eastside – not quite the city, but not quite the suburbs either.
On paper, the place was great. However, once we moved in, we noticed something about the neighbourhood. There were no kids playing street hockey, riding their bikes, or doing chalk art. We soon understood that having kids has a way of changing your awareness of what you want and what you find important.
We knew leaving for the suburbs meant entering a new phase in our life. In reality, our life before kids was pretty gay (and not in the inappropriate high school use of the term – more in the fabulous, yet somewhat clichéd double-income, no kids sense). It was about dinner parties, going to the gym, the theatre, the bars, and spending weekends as the guests of friends who had cabins on the lake.
After our son was born, our life was completely different, and we knew it was time to take the plunge. So we did it – we bought a house in the suburbs.
On the day we moved in, not only were kids playing in the street, but the neighbours brought muffins (and wine!).
We rapidly discovered that kids don’t just change your awareness of what you truly want – they also have a way of helping you make new friends and new connections. You hang out at the same parks and festivals, your kids take the same classes or play on the same sports teams, and you eat at the same kid-friendly restaurants. Together, you celebrate when your kids score their first goal in soccer or “graduate” from pre-school. And you commiserate over coffee (and sometimes wine) when you’ve only slept for two hours thanks to a teething or colicky baby.
Moving to the suburbs made us realize that the saying is true – it takes a village to raise a child. And even though sometimes it feels to us that we are the only gays in the village – our village has wrapped its arms around us. We’re not the gay dads. We’re just dads, and we’re all in this together, raising our children to be the best they can be.
We found a whole new circle of friends and a new life here in the burbs, which is just as fabulous, if not a bit different than our life before.
And we love every minute of it.