We all know parenting is no easy feat, but co-parenting? That’s a whole different ball game.
One unique family from Waco, Texas is changing the game with a viral photo this week, encouraging people that co-parenting can be done well and be so fruitful for all who are involved.
Dylan Lenox took to Facebook with a gorgeous photo of himself, his soon-to-be step-daughter, 5-year-old Willow, and Willow’s biological father, David Mengon.
“No we are not a same-sex couple,” he writes, “but we do share a daughter.”
Dylan is engaged to Sarah Mengon, the ex-wife of David Mengon, and mother to Willow.
Sarah, a professional photographer, captured their tender relationship in a series of photos as they sent Willow and David off to a daddy-daughter dance at her school in January. Dylan can be seen to the left of Willow wearing a baseball cap, while David is on the right with a beard.
“We have molded ourselves into one unique family, [if] only for the sake of our children to know the power of love. Not only did I gain a daughter, I gained a brother and a best friend.”
The touching co-parenting tribute has been shared over 152,000 times.
Dylan says that when both parties care more about their children than they do about their anger or issues with their ex — the way society often tells us it has to be — then “walls will fall, life will be free of hatred and remorse, and our children will conquer the foolish ‘norms’ that media has shoved in our faces.”
He continues, saying that David stays at their home when he comes to visit, “because family is always welcome.”
“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!”
Touched by Dylan’s words, David told TODAY that he was “blown away” when he saw the post.
“We have respect for each other, but seeing it all written down kind of makes it real.”
David admits it wasn’t always rainbows and butterflies.
Four years ago when he was just coming to terms with becoming a divorced parent, he had to meet the new man in his family’s lives.
“It was really challenging at first,” David explained. “There was a lot of pain and hurt on my side just seeing my daughter with another guy.”
“He came out with Willow in his arms, and it crushed me immediately. Then as I got to know him and find out who he was as a person and realized it was never a competition of ‘who’s the better dad,’ I started to gain a lot of respect for him.”
Their intentionality and mutual respect [speak] volumes in their love for Willow, and for each other.
Dylan ends his post by giving credit to Sarah, without whom any of this would be possible.
“Of course not a single moment would be like this without Sarah…and her kind and generous heart! Willow Grace, you are loved by so many people in this world and your Daddies love you!”