We are a modern family. Over the last 8 years, people have been interested in our family dynamic. Emergency Contact forms usually aren’t ready for us. Apologies if the introductions were a little awkward at first but I promise you, you didn’t offend anyone.
We’ve been at this for a while now. You may have met both dads, at once, standing next to each other (gasp!). Confused? They are both her dad, one is her biological father, yes, he’s also my ex-husband. The other is my husband and her “bonus” dad. They are equal opportunity cheerleader, embarrassing adult, and disciplinarian. They have their own unique relationship with her and even figured out how to show up as friends to one another.
RELATED READING :: How Divorce Taught Me to Help my Children Process Emotions
About showing up, we show up to everything, at least one of us, but mostly all of us. We love showing up for her. Class parties, parent-teacher conferences, gymnastics classes, volleyball games, basketball games, awards ceremonies, all of it! We invite grandparents, maternal, paternal, bonus, to any and everything, capacity permitting. We are the folks taking up a whole row or bleacher. If it gets too intense, you will find the dads standing. And pacing.
Someone often gets left off the email. But we roll with it, holding out hope that schools and extra curriculars will think about updating this soon. But never fear, you can call, text, email ALL of us. Or just one. We coordinate well amongst each other, most days. There’s been a forgotten uniform shirt or mad dash to an event that is starting :30 earlier than we expected but nothing that’s garnered the silent treatment, yet. Keeping one another up to speed on what’s happening at school or with activities and friends is a big part of co-parenting. There was a STEEP learning curve in the beginning.
You see, no one planned to get divorced, but her dad and I ended up, well, divorced. And while we couldn’t see ourselves married to one another for-ev-er…we do enjoy co-parenting our daughter. We make time to not only text about the next thing but align on the big things. We also make sure we support one another whether she’s HAD a difficult time or is BEING difficult. Nothing like going to the “Disneyland” parent after you’ve been grounded at the other house, am I right? Like all things worth having in your life, this modern family takes work. Work within healthy boundaries, purposeful communication, and a genuine appreciation for the role each person plays.
Over the last 8 years, people have been interested in our family dynamic. Folks can’t quite figure out whether it is weird or inspiring that we all get along. We hear “Your relationship is so unique!” or “It’s so great to see you all together like this.” My personal favorite, “the guys seem to really get a long.” Long time and new friends are curious about how we make it work. Others just think it is cool we can all hang out, and even take family trips together. Yes, we have been summer vacationing together for many years. It’s a family trip and this is our family, weird or not. We also do all major Holidays together, I can’t imagine our daughter not having her dad around on Christmas morning, and I make sure both dads are celebrated on Father’s Day. They knock it out of the park on Mother’s Day every year too. I am sure a lot of dads would appreciate a co-pilot on that endeavor.
So don’t worry, you won’t say anything we haven’t already heard. Our daughter doesn’t get offended when you ask “which dad?” And she isn’t comparing her modern family to your “conventional” one. She makes us all proud of the person she has become navigating her family looking slightly different than those around her. She needs all of us. And we are all in this for her.