As someone with experience at being a stepparent, I can assure you that the position offers as many rewards as it presents challenges. It can be tough finding a place for yourself in the life of a child who already has two loving parents, and it requires quite a bit of effort on every single adult’s part to make things work – and you have to want them to work, otherwise, chuck it all now.
Which is what makes these photographs all the more lovely, unusual, and seriously #goals.
Sarah and David Mengon divorced when their daughter Willow was just a baby and have worked hard to stay on good terms and to co-parent peacefully, and have found success that has made life happy for all three of them. When Sarah met and fell in love with Dylan, they all knew they would have to work even harder to make sure their little girl had all of the love life had to offer whenever she wanted it – and whoever she wanted it from.
Dylan, Willow’s soon to be stepfather, posted the photos to Facebook. They were taken before her father-daughter dance, and in the post, he refers to her as “our daughter.”
“The guy to the left is myself (Daddy, Daddy Dylan or Bonus Dad), in the middle is of course our Princess Willow and the guy to the right is David (Daddy, Daddy David or biological Dad). No we are not a same sex couple, but we do share a daughter. David is Sarah’s ex husband and I am the Fiancé. We have molded ourselves into one unique family, of 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. Thank you Sarah for letting this all happen!”
“When we care more about our children (on both sides of the party) than the way society has taught us to be towards (ex’s/baby mommas/daddy’s) 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 stays at our home when he visits, because family is always welcome. He is not an outsider, he is and will always be apart of my life for the simple fact that we share the same daughter! Of course not a single moment would be like this without Sarah (mommy) and her kind and generous heart! Willow Grace you are loved by so many people in this world and your Daddies love you!”
“FYI David is SINGLE.”
David is in the military and struggled at first with the knowledge that Dylan would be there every day for his daughter when he couldn’t. But once the two got to know each other, they developed a friendship separate from their identities as “Willow’s dads.” All of the potential sadness, anger, jealousy, and guilty melted away, replaced by a genuine happiness that “their” daughter would grow up with so much love in her life.
Dylan told Scary Mommy that he “respected David because he’s the bio father, and he respected me because I was there for the daily tasks while he was gone [on deployment]. Everything meshed. We knew we were in this together.”
While David says that Dylan has “the biggest heart. He’s just another person who loves her with all his heart. And the more that I got to know him as a man, I knew it was all genuine.”
Both are military men, and they spend time together outside of their coparenting duties as friends. Not only that, but they often gang up on Sarah (in good fun), she says.
Sarah and Dylan have a two-year-old together, and David is also happy to care for her when he’s hanging out with Willow. She calls both men Daddy, and, despite the fact that their friends think it’s strange and society says it’s not normal, the family chooses to shuck gender roles and masculine stereotypes in favor of their own brand of happiness.
The kids are definitely okay, which is what matters most – and if the parents can be okay, too, all the better.
It’s pretty much the ideal, to be honest.