Why I Chose to Co-Parent
Chantel came home one day from school while in kindergarten and to quote her exactly,
“Mommy I don’t have a daddy. All my friends do.”
That rocked me to the core hearing those words from my daughter. I did my best explaining to the mind of a five-year old that wasn’t the case.
I was intent and then made a conscious decision that my daughter would never feel that way again. I knew then, it was not about me, my feelings, my hurts, but it was all about her.
I am not saying at that point that it was easy. I just had to put all of my “stuff” on the back burner. It was now about Chantel’s well-being, state of mind, stability, security, and most important knowing she is loved by her mom and dad.
Chantel at that very early age always included her mommy, daddy, and herself in every family picture she drew and when I questioned her about her pictures, her response “yes mommy, me you and daddy”.
What Does Dad Say?
The decision for us as parents were easy. Chantel first. We remained united through the years throughout her elementary, middle, high school, college, and into adulthood.
While writing this article, I asked her dad to share his thoughts on the topic of co-parenting and here are his words:
“Co-parenting is putting your differences aside whatever they may be and focusing your attention on the most important thing, the child or children. This let’s the child know they’re loved by both parents and whatever happened had nothing to do with them. It builds stability, structure, and guidance for them.
Lastly, the child or children will know that both parents are willing to do whatever it takes to ensure they have a successful life.” – Walter
What is Co-Parenting For Us?
I very quickly realized that co-parenting was not sharing assigned weekends or holidays determined by the court. Her dad and I had no legal agreements stated by law for specific days, weekends, or holidays, so co-parenting was on our terms.
We only involved the court for child support and worked everything else amongst ourselves. We decided what was best for our daughter. We did not want the courts to make that decision for us.
This meant we had to communicate more. Easy? Not always at first, but it had to be done.
We communicated for home visits, discipline, school, doctor visits, vacations, and pretty much any and everything. We even communicated what gifts she would receive for Christmas.
United Front Near and Far
When Chantel turned 13, I moved 80 miles away from Miami and family including her dad. Even with that distance, her dad took the drive from Miami to West Palm Beach to my home to visit and spend time with his daughter in the efforts of maintaining a dad and daughter relationship.
He kept in contact with her on a regular basis and sometimes weekly. He traveled for school orientations, undergrad college tours, occasional visits while in college, and together we attended her graduate school orientation at Nova University.
Chantel was now 23 years old.
One thing for sure, Chantel knew that we were always there as one united front for her no matter what. Not only did she know that, but she expected it and she did let us know that.
“The past was the past and the present, Chantel, was our focus.”
Our Daughter’s Wedding
For her upcoming engagement, Chantel insisted that both her parents and step-mom be present for her engagement and we were. I was also a bit nervous about the wedding planning.
After the engagement, what did we do next? We came together as a family, Chantel, Chance, mom, dad, and step-mom, Daynia with the planning of the wedding. We communicated through phone calls, texts, and meeting together at her dad’s home a few times to finalize the wedding plans.
Where Are We Today?
Today, we are proud parents of our daughter, Dr. Chantel Yearwood, but more than that, we are friends and family.
After sharing this with Chantel, here are her words:
“Awww. You both are the BEST parents!!!!”
Vealatae (Vee-ah-let-ah), is a mom of one, and an elementary school teacher for over 35 years. She is also a skilled seamstress, who creates custom wedding veils, and home decor furnishings. You can follow Vealatae’s work on Facebook @Stitched by Vee. You can also connect with her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org