WINTERLAND, N.L. — Mother’s Day is doubly special for three-year-old Brooklyn Murphy-Robar.
That’s because she has two moms.
She calls Tracy Robar maman (the French word for mom) and Sherry Murphy-Robar mommy.
The small family lives very happily in Winterland (population 337) where they feel accepted, valued and where, “Brooklyn is being raised to be a contributing and proud member of the community,” Sherry stated.
Sherry admitted that she and Tracy weren’t sure how well they would be accepted. Their family’s configuration is relatively unique in rural Newfoundland and Labrador.
“We were really worried about moving back to a small town and raising Brooklyn,” Sherry stated.
“Worried about how the community would respond to a same sex couple because there isn’t a lot of it out here. However when we go out in the community the acknowledgement is there and the positivity is there. It’s been really supportive. No-one’s been negative towards us.”
Sherry is seeing a shift in attitudes from when she grew up in nearby Burin.
She didn’t come out until her 20s but recalled, “There wasn’t a whole lot of talk about it when I was growing up. Now we’re seeing a lot more awareness. When we show up to pick Brooklyn up from daycare, the kids will say, ‘Brooklyn your other mom is here.’ Kids are being taught that there’s all different types of families.”
The most awkward element of their two-mom life has been for the community to grasp the corresponding shift in language diverse families necessitate.
“When we first had Brooklyn,” Sherry recalled, "people were more uncomfortable with what to refer to us as. I even had some people who asked, ‘who’s the dad kinda thing.’ They didn’t know how to address us.”
The couple finds that shifts from the top of organizations in the area trickle down and help morph resident’s attitudes. Marystown Central High School permanently flies the rainbow flag.
“Even in daycare,” Sherry acknowledged, “the paperwork has changed to ‘the parents’ as opposed to saying ‘mother and father’, so that’s pretty cool.”
Sherry and Tracey have no thoughts of moving to a larger center such as St. John’s where they would likely find a larger community of same sex families.
“We’re pretty comfortable here,” Sherry maintained.
They are so comfortable, in fact, they are planning to add a second child to their brood.
“We had a portion of Brooklyn’s donor’s sperm frozen and we are planning on using it this summer. We haven’t told a lot of people yet, so this will be breaking news,” Sherry giggled.