7:30 a.m. – Wake up, throw on sweatpants and other necessary “dad garb,” wake up my son aka Sleeping Beauty.
7:45 a.m. – Dress Briggs, prepare breakfast, eat, get Briggs pumped to kick ass in school.
8:15 a.m. – Pile into the car, talk as much as possible with Briggs knowing I won’t see him for a few days.
8:35 a.m. – Drop Briggs off at school, give him a lingering hug and my sign-off “I love you more than anything else in the world.”
8:55 a.m. – Return home, hop back in bed, shut phone off completely, catch up on much-needed sleep.
12:00 p.m. – Wake up, change identities. “Weekend Single Frank” is now in full effect. Let the games begin.
Saturday – Monday:
(What happens during the weekend stays in the weekend.)
3:15 p.m. – Change identities, pick Briggs up from school, be the best parent I can possibly be until Friday.
Did you follow along? This is my weekly routine that has developed from being a recent divorcé, with a child. I have two distinct lives that have yet to merge. One might say I’m like a gay Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde, but I prefer the term “Double Agent Me.” I switch hats twice a week, and have become a master at balancing both. I have achieved the yin-yang of being a single, divorced gay dad. Here’s how:
Finding gratitude within a tragedy is very difficult to do, but it’s essential after a break-up/divorce involving children. One of the first things I realized was that I would be seeing half as much of my son, but that also meant by default I’d spend half the week alone. I only allowed myself a short amount of time to isolate and grieve. During that time, I made some amazing new friends that would comfort me and be there when I needed someone. Then I started to take advantage of my “time off” and slowly began to find myself, again.
Before I was partnered and married and all of that, I loved to go out. I wasn’t necessarily a club whore, but I definitely enjoyed cutting loose occasionally. Usually a little too loose. Over the years, I cared less and less about the scene, and starting #adulting on a regular basis. Then I began to hate the scene, because I felt it was in direct opposition to my personal relationship/family goals, so I didn’t step foot in a bar for years (vacations not included). Fast forward to my separation, and suddenly the gay clubs seemed like Candyland.
The first time I entered a club as a single man, I was silently terrified. I didn’t pregame sufficiently, so I ordered a Grey Goose on the rocks to help me deal with my anxiety. Within an hour, my friends and I were dancing our asses off and I felt like I was 21 again. Several drinks later, I noticed a very handsome guy who was also recently single. We talked (as best as I could) and flirted, and I went home with his phone number and felt completely rejuvenated. It gave me the confidence I so desperately needed and missed. It reminded me of what I am capable of, and what my future has in store.
Week after week, I garnered what my limits were and what I wanted more of. I went overboard a few times, and learned some valuable lessons that most learn earlier in life. For instance:
And the list could go on forever. Part of my experience was going to the mall and discovering the fine line between clubwear and “WTF does that Daddy think he’s wearing?” It took a few attempts, but eventually I shed my J.Crew Stepford Gay look and found my party “uniform.” My closet is now a strange hybrid of clothes that could easily be for four different people. It has a multiple personality disorder, but fortunately, I do not.
When my son is with me, I shut out the scene completely. That is my precious time with him, and it will always be that way. It’s also when I consider myself to be at my peak best self, so I nurture that side of me as much as possible. I know for a fact that my life will eventually even out, and I will consider this period to be transitionary. In the meantime, this weekend warrior is living it up – cautiously. No matter what I’m doing, the fact that I’m a parent comes first, and no amount of fun is ever worth forgetting that.