Raising a child is already extremely hard, so just imagine how it feels to raise a child while also getting your heart broken. Any parent who's been through a divorce knows the challenge of creating a home for your kid to thrive in while also wanting to freak out on the person you're sharing custody with. And if you're a kid who comes from a family of divorce, you probably know how often parents can fail at that. They're only human, after all.
OR ARE THEY? One couple is blowing minds with their incredibly mature, supportive response to going through a difficult divorce. In a viral post on Love What Matters Facebook page, former couple Adam Dyson and Victoria Baldwin shared their story of figuring out how to continue their family even when they didn't want to continue their relationship. Adam and Victoria have a 4-year-old son named Bruce. They shared four photos, two taken before they separated and two after.
With the photos, Victoria wrote, "The top two photos were taken when Adam and I were married. The bottom two, taken nearly one year and over two years after our divorce was finalized. We are not in love, we don't always agree, we're not best friends, sometimes we don't even like one another. But you know what we are? We are forever connected because of our beautiful, smart, kind, compassionate, funny son. We RESPECT one another. We remember that neither of our roles as parents take precedence over the other - neither one of us are any more important to the life of our son. We BOTH need to be there, we BOTH deserve quality time and quality memories with him. Neither of us blame one another for the direction our relationship took. We do not place blame on one another, and we certainly don't place blame in the presence of our son."
"Adam and I are not perfect co-parents," she continued, "But we made a deal when we got divorced, to put our son first and to value the richness that we each bring to his life, for different reasons. So yes, we still have a family portrait taken, and I still pay good money to have the images printed, framed, and placed in our son's bedroom; he may not grow up with parents who live in the same house... but he will grow up to see respect, kindness, empathy, compassion, perseverance, flexibility, and even sacrifice being modeled by both of his parents and he will know it is possible to fall out of love but never fall apart."
According to People magazine, these photos are especially important because Victoria, who works in the army, actually lives in Alaska now while Adam resides in South Carolina. Victoria told them she thought it was especially important because her own parents were divorced and she has few photos of them together as a family. She says, "Bruce is so much happier now that Adam and I get along better than we did when we first separated. It has been nearly three years, so we have practiced a lot!”
Victoria also spoke with CBS News, and says it wasn't just her parent's dissatisfying example that motivated her. “We had a heated discussion in front of our son, who sat crying at my feet,” she explained, “And I realized the next day I was more focused on hurting his dad than I was on comforting Bruce crying. I knew that wasn’t the example I wanted to set.” The co-parents have agreed to continue with the tradition even if they meet new people and enter committed relationships.
"We think a step-parent or longterm partner would be welcomed and would be an addition to Bruce’s life," she says, "I have ended potential relationships because they questioned intentions or the quality of Adam and my relationship. We aren’t romantic, but we respect one another. I won’t be with someone who wouldn’t accept that.”
Some negative commenters have told Victoria that they're confusing Bruce about his parent's relationship, and making him think it could potentially continue. But that kinda seems like the point, right? Kids should learn that relationships continue, and learn by example how to make them continue in a positive way instead of a negative one. If only we could all be so good!