January 25, 2019
Co-parenting isn't always easy, but five-year-old Willow Mengon's two dads sure make it look that way!
On Saturday, Jan. 19, Dylan Lenox (Willow's stepdad-to-be) posted a series of now-viral photos to Facebook showing himself, the little girl and her biological father, David Lewis, before a daddy-daughter dance. The pictures, which were taken by Willow's photographer mama Sarah Megnon, show two proud papas posing together with the little girl it's clear they both adore.
Dylan, who refers to himself as "Daddy, Daddy Dylan, or Bonus Dad," explained in the caption that he and David "are not a same-sex couple, but we do share a daughter." Dylan is engaged to Sarah, Willow's mom, and as you can see from their impromptu photo shoot, he's on very friendly terms with his fiancée's ex-husband.
"We have molded ourselves into one unique family...for the sake of our children to know the power of love," Dylan wrote. "Not only did I gain a daughter, I gained a brother and a best friend."
Dylan went on to explain that he, David, and Willow's mom don't subscribe to "the foolish 'norms' that the media has shoved in our faces" when it comes to co-parenting. David "stays at our home when he visits, because family is always welcome," Dylan wrote. "He is not an outsider, he is and will always be a part of my life for the simple fact that we share the same daughter!"
Willow's mom realizes just how fortunate her family is that Dylan and David get along so well. "This is like a dream situation for a divorced parent," Sarah told KCEN-TV. "I know it's rough for a lot of families out there, but you just have to find a way to make it work for your kid. We had to work at it and I think that's really important for people to know."
It's also important for Willow's dads to set the right example for her. As David put it, "She's going to gauge the men that she dates off of our behavior...So, if we treat her with respect and treat her mom with respect in the process, you know it's one thing to tell your kids something but to show them every day is something different. We want a strong young woman who knows how to be treated and that's going to be based off the example we set."
And Dylan and David's commitment to amicable co-parenting is nothing new for them. After the daddy-daughter dance photos went viral, Sarah shared an older photo on Facebook to show Willow and her dads have had "such a unique dynamic from the start."
In the caption Sarah wrote, "This has always been such a unique dynamic from the start...Hope it inspires others that may be struggling right now with co-parenting or their own blended family."
When it comes to co-parenting, experts recommend befriending your ex's new love—just like David did with Dylan. Because as Christine Carter, Ph.D., a sociologist and senior fellow at UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Center and the author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents, told Parents.com, "The unknown is scarier than the known."
"The best case scenario is that your children form a secure attachment to [the new stepparent]," added Carter. "That will make them happier in the long run."
We'd say based on Willow's daddy situation, she's got one happy future ahead.