For Maelyn Plaayer, having both her mom and her dad as well as each of their spouses cheering her on from the sidelines is just part of a typical Saturday afternoon soccer game. However, for many kids with divorced parents, this is something they can only dream of.
Ricky Plaayer and Clara Cazeau's outlook on happily raising their daughter together, even though they are now apart, was captured in a candid snapshot of the pair sporting matching jerseys along with Maelyn's stepmom and stepdad. Emilee Plaayer, Maelyn's stepmom, posted the now-viral photo on Facebook to inspire others, and their message is resonating with many families.
"Because of us, I will never believe coparenting can't work! I KNOW through experience it CAN WORK!" she wrote. "Choose to do what's best for your child and everything will just fall into place."
The family doesn't just show their support for Maelyn and respect for each other during brief photo ops on special occasions but have worked to make this teamwork the norm for their blended family. "Alex, the stepdad, is in the Army and stationed in Fort Bragg, but every time he is home all four of us attend [her games]," Emilee told The Huffington Post. "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."
Clara explained that the exes have not only let go of any past feelings for the sake of their child, but that they also work with the help of their spouses to keep the positivity strong every day. "We do all birthdays together for Maelyn," Clara said. "We also go to each other's birthday dinners with their own families, we do holidays together, we go to one another's houses, we are literally always doing things together."
As Maelyn's stepmom, Emilee explained that one of the most important aspects of coparenting to her is the example she sets. "Always respect the people involved because how you treat the other parents is a reflection of who you are," she said.