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Our years of co-parenting have come to an end: Here's what we won't forget

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We crossed a weird milestone in our lives yesterday. Our daughter turned 18. This means we are no longer legally bound to to each other. We are no longer required to follow rules that lawyers laid down for us.

There’s no more every-other-weekend, Thursday nights and rotating holiday schedule. There’s no more financial obligation and shared medical requirements. There’s no more scheduling around each other or checking to make sure our lives fit in with each others.

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As of yesterday, we’re separate parents. We coparented for 18 years and it’s not something you just shut off. Even though there’s no longer someone telling us how to do it, we will continue to work together because there’s one lesson we’ve learned along the way that we will not easily forget.

It’s about the kids. All about the kids.

We’ve spent 18 years swallowing our pride, setting down what is best for our individual selves and picking up what is best for her. We’ve spent 18 years talking through issues and finding solutions. We’ve spent 18 years nourishing a healthy relationship so she could have us both at the same time. And now that time is up and everything has legally changed, nothing will change at all.

We’ll spend the next 18 years swallowing our pride, setting down what is best for our individual selves and picking up what is best for her. We’ll spend the next 18 years talking through issues and finding solutions. We’ll spend the next 18 years nourishing a healthy relationship so she can have us both at the same time.

Because when it comes to our relationship, it’s still all about her. She’s our link, always has been and always will be. One day her children will link us as grandparents and those kids will also deserve for us to be the adults. Those kids will also deserve to have their grandparents together in the same room. Those kids will also deserve to know they are more important than whatever came between the two of us so many years ago.

I’ve learned a million lessons along the way, some of those lessons came with great pain and some came easily, but the most important lesson is that it’s not about us.

It’s about the kids. All about the kids.

The greatest blessing that came through this lesson is that our daughter gets to love on her siblings together. In her eyes they aren’t his children and my children, they’re her brothers and sisters, plain and simple. She deserves to get to have them all at one time. She deserves to smile and hug and kiss and love on them without boundaries and borders. And because we’ve learned the lesson, she benefits in the greatest way.

She gets her family, her one, big, family.

We are no longer legally bound to each other but there is a young lady who links us for life and because of her and all the generations that will come because of her, we will forever be coparents and, God willing, co-grandparents. Hopefully we can leave a legacy for our family and a lesson that broken things can be put back together, maybe not back to the way they started, but back to a way that is still beautiful. Hopefully we leave lessons of forgiveness, grace, and mercy and that when she faces the hard stuff in life she will have the strength and courage to stand firm in those lessons.

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