Turns out, it's not a fantasy after all. Sometimes, if everyone is on board, divorced parents can put their differences aside for the sake of the kids with amazing results.
On Saturday, Emilee Plaayer posted of her family wearing customized team jerseys at her stepdaughter Maelyn Plaayer's soccer game.
What's special in this case? The family includes both of Maelyn's parents — and their new spouses. Each jersey was customized to show who each grown-up is to Maelyn, 4.
These two couples win the World Cup in co-parenting.
Not surprisingly, the photo has received, so far, over 32,000 reactions and been shared 82,000 times by admirers of the four parents. Emilee says this is the norm for the family (not the going-viral part, but the hanging-out-for-the-kids'-sake part). Still, it's far from the norm for most divorced-and-remarried families.
The roster: Emilee (Maelyn’s stepmother), Ricky Plaayer (Maelyn’s dad), Clara Cazeau (Maelyn’s mom) and Alex Cazeau (Maelyn’s stepdad) all try to get to Maelyn's soccer games together. Clara thought the shirts would be an excellent way to show support for her daughter, and they all loved the idea.
We're hoping these guys write a guide to co-parenting well. And fast.
“Alex, the stepdad, is in the Army and stationed in Fort Bragg, but every time he is home all four of us attend,” Emilee said. “On a regular day it is the three of us, and we make it a point to sit together and cheer her on as a family.”
And the family fun extends beyond the goal line. Emilee and Ricky have one more daughter, Everlee. Emilee reported that Everlee gets just as much love from Clara and Alex as her big sister Maelyn does.
Get this: Clara was even there to cheer Emilee on when she went into labor with Everlee. That is one amazing bond between a bio-mom and a stepmom, no?
Soccer, childbirth, birthdays, holidays — the foursome and the two sisters are "literally always doing things together." How do four adults turn out so evolved and sane? Asking for a friend.
Clara said the key to co-parenting success is putting differences aside, period. “Let go of any past feelings you may have and make it work for the sake of the child,” she said. “Stay strong. It is work every single day to keep this going.” At least she admitted it's not always easy. We were beginning to think they were magical unicorn co-parents.
Emilee's advice echoed Clara's. “Always respect the people involved because how you treat the other parents is a reflection of who you are,” she said.
Disclaimer: This approach won't necessarily work for everyone, but it's a nice goal. Do not try this at home if 1) your husband's ex-wife is still writing him love haiku on Twitter or 2) anyone involved has a restraining order. That's just good common sense.