I traveled for business yesterday with a woman that I knew already, but not well. 8 hours in the car together gets you to know each other pretty darn well. And yes, if you are wondering, I did ask her permission to blog her story and she said YES, THAT'S SO SWEET!
I had a coworker at my prior employer that did this same thing with her ex-husband, so now I have met two courageous, selfless women that made this work. I'm so excited to share it!
My friend had a child when she was in her early 20's. She unfortunately later divorced her daughter's father and relocation moved her out of state from him. He didn't have much visitation with the little girl after the age of 4 but didn't ask for it either. When she asked for financial support of her daughter he terminated his parental rights. Awesome.
My friend buckled down as a single mother and raised her child. When her friends went out on Friday nights, she stayed home. Sounds familiar. She didn't ask her parents to babysit (or anyone else for that matter), she did it all on her own.
Flash forward a few years and she had a chance meeting with her now husband. He was also a single dad of a daughter and had full custody of his child as well. They had a LOT of things in common and had an instant connection. But somehow, through all the lust and desire, they held strong in their first commitment to raise their daughters. Without drama. Without having to change schools, "learn to live" with a new sister, learn to understand a new parent. In short, her words were to me "Why would I MAKE my daughter blend into MY life. I made a decision to bring her into this life and give her my full, utmost attention~ always doing what was best for her. Why would that be best?"
I was floored. Women I know don't usually do this. Nor men, for that matter. Most people just can't or won't make that type of sacrifice for their children.
So they did. They did not get married. They did not move in together. Instead what they did was visit each other, with their girls. If one had a soccer game, they all went. When my friend's daughter made homecoming queen, he walked her onto the football field. He was present in her life, just like a father should be. And my friend was present in his daughter's life, just as she a mother would be.
Present. Such a simple word. I think what most parents forget is that saying one thing and doing another is a complete contradiction to children. They are simple. Show up. Be there. Be present, not distracted to them.
After both girls were grown and moved out of the home, I'm happy to announce that after 9 years of dating, they married. Not only that, but he adopted her 21 year old daughter ~ they made the decision together! How amazing is that!
Now, they are a happy, healthy couple. Their daughters know their love for them. Nobody is jealous. Nobody is fighting. Bliss.
Hubs and I have said it time and time again. No divorce. Ever. No coparenting. Ever. It just won't happen. Our little guy is far to important to drag through the drama of steps (and of course we will become ex's). His happiness is first, no matter what.