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Thank you to my readers who nominated me and then voted for me in the 2017 Brodie Awards. My blog post “Taking Back My Power” won for Best Discussion on Parenting.

This is my second win. Back in 2015 my post “Speaking To The Kids About This Mormon Gay Thing” also won in the category of  Best Mormon Parenting Piece.

Very cool. Thanks again.

I’m especially honored because I really haven’t written much this past year. I’m still around. As this blog’s name implies, my writing has been an amazingly effective way to release angst and frustration, but the less angst I feel over time the less impulse I have had to write.

As the saying goes, it has gotten better!

I don’t delude myself into thinking anyone’s out there regularly pondering “What happened to Dads Primal Scream?” But for anyone reading this who is now where I was 12 years ago it might be helpful to hear how some things have changed.

First, referring back to my “Taking Back My Power” blog post mentioned above, the party mentioned was extremely successful. I had about 30 – 40 friends stop by to help me welcome my son home from his mission. I was a little disappointed that none of his  Mormon friends or family came but my kids were all there. They were gracious and kind to all my gay and ex-Mormon friends. I was so proud of them. My son greeted everyone with a hug and socialized cheerfully. I highly recommend this sort of celebration to fellow outcasts. Make your own party rather than fretting over the treatment you’ll get at the tradition events.

I could never have imagined this 12 years ago.

Secondly, I have two adult kids now living at home ages 18 and 20. It’s been a challenge figuring out how to treat them and what my expectations should be. The big news out of all of this is that my ex-wife and I talked (well, it was more like e-mailed and texted) and put together some rules and expectations for our adult children living at home, most of which we agreed upon together. Then, we took the two kids to lunch and gave them copies of the document and got their feedback. In 12 years of divorce, this is only the second time my ex-wife and I have sat down together and presented a united front to our kids. It’s pretty monumental. The first time was 10 years ago after she won the move-away court battle and much less congenial.

I continue to have my minor children 50% of the time and the older ones stay when and where they want. One ends up with me most of the time, and the other one tends to sleep more at his Mom’s. We’re only a mile apart so they still spend time at each house.

I joke that my weekends with my kids are spent being “Uber-Daddy,” driving them to and from events, friends’ homes, etc. The older ones haven’t really materialized into reliable resources to help with that like I fantasized that they would. They have their own jobs, activities and busy lives.

All my kids show love and respect towards me. Two of them tend to lean more towards Mormonism and the other two don’t. They see it as a boring interruption to their lives and have expressed doubt to me. If I’m being honest it doesn’t even matter as much to me anymore which way they lean. Even the ones who are active in church bring their friends around my home. Their friends all know I’m gay and not LDS and it doesn’t seem to matter. Weekend friend gatherings and sleepovers still happen at my home.

Personally I’ve been doing really well at work. Financially I’m in a good place and not living in a constant state of desperation and anxiety like I used to. My income has increased and child support has decreased with each kid turning 18.

I’ve been dating more. I’m finally able to have guys over with my kids also around and to arrange dates on my kid weekends so that has helped. No one I’m dating is a keeper yet, but I’m not really stressed out about it like many guys I know. I suffer from a rare condition of not really minding being alone. Of course I’d love to find someone I’m compatible with, who lights my fire and with whom I can share an amazing future with, but it hasn’t happened yet.

My  happiness, contentment and peace isn’t dependent on that elusive guy.

I had a life-changing experience recently, an experience which merits its own blog post. Coming soon! I continue to hold a deep sense of gratitude, insight and personal power from this experience so I can’t wait to write about it and get reactions.

Not only does it get better but the growth that comes from those extremely challenging, tense and troubled times of failed relationships, divorce, coming out, professional failures, leaving the faith of my fathers and feeling so very alone and emasculated in this life has nourished a garden of wonderful relationships, strength and peace.

Until next time.