As Pride Month comes to an end, we're celebrating the love of two beautiful ladies that I'm proud to call my friends! Thank you so much for sharing your story with us!

Meet the Abbys.

Nook: Tell us about your experience starting your family.

Laura Abby: We knew that creating a family as a same-sex couple would be a long road, and for the most part we were pretty pragmatic about it. We chose a sperm donor, we did all the appropriate fertility testing, and we overcame every obstacle that stood in our way until our two beautiful boys were earth-side. Families can be created in myriad ways, which is really a miracle. Of course there were times when we wanted to feel sorry for ourselves, when the realization crept in that some couples could create their babies without medical intervention or a complicated legal process, but we also felt fortunate to have the support of each other, our families, and to have the means to create our dream family. Most same-sex couples will tell you that the healthcare system has excluded us when it comes to family planning, and we are on our own financially if we want to be parents. It’s taboo to talk about the expense of fertility and adoption because—especially as women—we’re supposed to focus on the joy of motherhood, but these factors have a huge impact on our relationships with ourselves and each other. The children we create are wanted and loved, and our boys were worth every long commute to the clinic, every invasive medical procedure, and every single penny.

Nook: The support you've had has been so amazing to see and what you said about the focus on joy in those early days of motherhood is so poignant. The reality is that it's not always joy and that should be okay. Thank you for shedding light on that. Your journey bringing your boys into this world wasn't an easy one and we saw that you kicked off Pride month by officially adopting them. Tell us more about that!

Laura: The recent changes to the Supreme Court were a stark reminder that our family’s rights—and therefore our safety—are never something we can take for granted. Adopting the boys was an expensive and invasive process, but it was a necessary step to make that final leap and know that our legal rights as parents are protected. Full stop. I wish I could tell you that we felt proud and excited but all we felt in the end was relief.

Nook: Thank you for opening up and sharing. It's an unfortunate reality that you had to go through that much of a process for your own children. I can imagine the relief you feel! You're both busy moms and I know there's no real answer to this question, but how do you "balance" being moms with opening up and running your studio?

That old fable about boiling a frog comes to mind. That’s what it was like starting a small business as moms to a then 1-year-old child. Now we have two wild little boys and we just keep doing our best in business and in motherhood. But there is no balance, it’s a ridiculous word used to make parents feel inadequate. Sometimes the business doesn’t get the best of us, and sometimes the boys don’t get the best of us, and sometimes we drag them to work with us and they play and they greet our clients and we feel incredibly fortunate to live this dream.

Nook: Gosh, you're right! Maybe we should change it to "how does it feel being amazing and doing what you love every day?" Well, it's coming on the end of Pride Month and at the end of the pandemic. How did you and your family celebrate this year?

Laura: We used to participate in family-friendly pride parades whenever possible, but Pandemic life has slowed that tradition down a bit. We do host a Pride Ride every year at our fitness studio (The Studio @ Beacon) which raises money for various LGBTQ philanthropies. We also get dressed up in our pride colors every year and celebrate with family and friends, because it’s a great time to remind our boys that they are loved, that they were created in love, and that they are free to be proud of who they are.

Nook: That sounds like fun! Your family all seems really close. Outside of the pandemic, how often do you get to see each other and how much do you travel?

Laura: We are always with our families. They are our best friends and favorite travel companions. We plan trips together throughout the year, spend holidays together and try to visit each other whenever possible. We did this before kids, which of course was a bit more relaxing, but now we have all leaned into the chaos and we love that our boys get to grow up around their grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles.

Nook: I love that so much! I often say having a sense of humor is a requirement of parenting. I think I'm gonna add "leaning into the chaos" to the mix, too. I've only got one more question for you. We're kicking off our "Love is..." campaign by Celebrating Pride, so thank you, again, for being a part of this with us. How would you finish this sentence? "Love is..."

Laura: “Not what you feel, it’s what you do.” This is a quote from Dr. Edith Eger and it resonates with us as parents, partners, and as members of the queer community. There are still families that won’t accept their LGBTQ loved ones, and they try to mask their behavior in love or religion, but all they’re doing is stealing joy from someone they claim to care about. Love is the thing you do for someone, which includes showing up for them even if it’s hard, even if you don’t fully understand who they are, even if you disagree with their choices. You show them the best of you even if it’s a struggle and you hope that someday it clicks and you realize that seeing them happy is making you happy, and that there are a billion different ways to be.

Thank you to Laura and Sam Abby for sharing their story with us.