By Shannon Frost Greenstein
Readers, perhaps you’ve been here before. Perhaps you’re here now.
Katie Musser, of Lansdowne, PA, had the new-relationship jitters. She had a brand-new boyfriend, a great guy named Jeremy who she met in April of 2013. They’d been texting for about six weeks when he dropped a bit of a bombshell…namely, he had a three week-old newborn, named Landon, from a previous relationship.
Katie admitted on Facebook that this threw her. She wrote, “What else don’t I know? I couldn’t trust everything he said. It was rough…and yup, Landon’s mom (Casey) and I hated each other. So many stories, rumors, and judgments, but what would you expect? That’s the norm. You don’t like the ‘other person.’”
I’m sure EVERYONE can agree with that honest sentiment. No one EVER likes the “other person” at first, even if children aren’t involved; when they are, it can add even more tension to the new relationship, as a blended family guarantees a lifetime of being involved with a significant other’s ex.
It was difficult in the beginning, Katie confesses, and the jealousy, arguments, and distrust were starting to take a toll on her. Finally, she knew something had to change. She says, “One day, I woke up and thought, ‘I truly hate who I have become.’ I wanted to trust Jeremy fully and I didn’t want this for the rest of my life. So, right before Landon’s first birthday, I reached out to Casey.”
That marked the beginning of what turned out to be, surprisingly, an incredibly significant relationship in Katie’s life. After that first difficult meeting, Casey and Katie started going out on “mommy dates.” They met, often, to discuss life, and learning, and, of course, Landon. Katie beams, “The one thing we had in common was Landon. Landon was and is the beat to our heart.”
Time passed, and Katie grew closer to Jeremy and Landon as Casey met and married her own significant other, Tyler. In the beginning, Tyler and Jeremy did not, unfortunately, see eye to eye. However, the two men knew that, everything aside, they were both fathers to Landon. Jeremy eventually reached out to Tyler with a message of support and respect, and even an invitation for a drink.
Jeremy and Katie became Mr. and Mrs. Jeremy Musser in September, and Casey and Tyler were there to support their new blended family. Katie writes that Casey has since become a true confidant: “Casey was there when I needed someone to talk to, cry to, or just be a friend. She is someone who saved me without even realizing it. Casey was there. Casey was always there.”
Katie even extended the traditional bridesmaid gift to Casey, giving her the same sunflower bracelet (the theme of the wedding) she gifted to her closest friends. And, if this entire story isn’t heartwarming enough, she then included Landon, Tyler, and Casey in the wedding vows she spoke to her new Groom.
Katie ended her Facebook post by saying, “Coparenting? It’s a blessing. It was the hardest and best 4 years of my life. Everyone facing custody problems, acceptance, understanding, relationship problems, etc. We get it. Not everyone gets the luxury of having a relationship like we formed. But it’s possible to get along, communicate, and give the same rules/love/respect on both sides for your child/children. Go against the norm. BE that CHANGE.”
Check out the touching video (start at 19:00 minutes) for a great example of how blended families can move forward together. If ever there was a parenting style to emulate, it would be these four parents joining up for the sake of a lucky little boy.