It can be hard on children of divorce, especially when they’re caught between their parents. Bring in stepparents and that’s a whole other mess. That’s why it’s always wonderful to see separated couples still co-parent in a manner that is healthy for their children. And it’s icing on the cake when a new partner in the parent’s life enters into this commitment with them.
Non-Traditional Fairy Tale Romance
In 2013, Katie Hild met Jeremy Musser in college. Katie knew right away that Jeremy was something special, and was excited to see where their relationship would go. Jeremy seemed to feel the same, and soon, they decided to get serious. Everything was falling into place—except for one little thing.
Not too long before he had met Katie, Jeremy had become a father. While it hadn’t worked out between him and Casey, the mother of his son, he had vowed to stay in his son’s life. This threw a wrench into the works of Katie and Jeremy’s relationship since Casey was more than a little miffed that Jeremy had moved on so quickly. Casey was also wary about the role that Katie could potentially end up playing in her son, Landon’s life. She couldn’t stand the thought of Landon looking at Katie as a mother figure, leaving Katie in a somewhat untenable position.
Making New Friends
Katie got to meet Landon—and much like she had fallen for his father, she instantly loved little Landon. Still, she knew that Casey might feel uneasy and didn’t want to overstep any boundaries. She took it easy and continued her relationship with Jeremy. After a year, she knew she wanted to marry him, and that she’d have to start building a good relationship with Casey. She reached out, and slowly, they began a friendship.
One Big Happy Family
It was easy to become friends for the two women—after all, they had one major thing in common: they both loved a little boy named Landon. As their relationship progressed, the two realized they had more than common than Landon. “We bonded on so many more levels than just Landon,” Casey said. She didn’t resent Katie anymore. It probably didn’t hurt that she’d met a Prince Charming of her own—a man named Tyler that she would go on to marry. Not long after it was time for Jeremy to take the next step with Katie.
Do You Take This Whole Family?
When Jeremy proposed to Katie she knew her answer would be yes. Jeremy asking her to marry him was a dream come true. After the excitement wore off, Katie was nervous—and it wasn’t just wedding jitters. She knew Jeremy was the one for her and looked forward to being his wife—but that also meant becoming a stepmother, and she knew it was one of the most important roles of her life. She was anxious she wouldn’t be a good mother for Landon—after all, being a mom is a huge responsibility. More than that, she knew that her marriage might change her relationship with two very important people in her life.
It Takes a Village to Co-Parent a Child
Once Katie married Jeremy she wouldn’t just be a stepmom—she’d also be a co-parent with Jeremy, Casey and Tyler. The possibility of the disagreements and arguments that come with co-parenting worried her, and she doubted her ability to handle the stress. Luckily, she had an idea to help her get through her worries.
Better Than for Better or Worse
Katie took writing her wedding vows very seriously. She knew that taking care of Landon was going to be a lifelong responsibility, and she wanted to do what was best for not only him but also the people she was going to co-parent with. She wanted her vows to convey that she didn’t take that responsibility lightly, but she wasn’t sure how to get the words out.
The Missing Piece
Katie said that “I realized I’m missing something, the piece that helped shape me and Jeremy’s relationship and helped us both grow up. I needed Casey to know how thankful I am for her.” So she invited Casey and her husband Tyler to her wedding. As the wedding approached, Katie felt more at peace knowing she had made the right decision. Though she hadn’t actually told anyone what that decision was—not even the man she was marrying.
Tying the Knot
On Katie and Jeremy’s wedding day, everything went off without a hitch. Everyone arrived on time, the venue was tastefully decorated, and Katie—of course—looked stunning. When it was time for the couple to read their vows, Katie went first and turned to face the guests instead of her fiancé.
The First Vow Goes To…
The minister announced to the guests: “To start their vows, I’d like to invite Tyler and Casey Bender to stand.” The guests all turned to face Landon’s mom and stepfather as they got to their feet. The audience wasn’t really sure what was going on as the minister handed the microphone over to Katie.
One Vow to Teach and Love
The first words of Katie’s wedding vows were addressed to Tyler and Casey: “First, I want to thank you for accepting me as your friend and allowing me to be a part of Landon’s life. I promise to be an amazing mother to your son. I will guide, teach and love him every single day.” As she read her promise to Casey, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. But Katie wasn’t finished making her vows yet, and they were about more than just taking care of Landon.
Another to Parent Together
“And I promise to respect, work, listen and communicate together as co-parents. I will love you guys no matter what comes our way. We are one family, always,” she continued. The audience was all in tears at this point, but Katie still wasn’t finished. She still had a couple more people to make vows to, and the next one wasn’t Jeremy.
This Vow Goes Out to the Little Man She Loves
Next, the minister asked Landon to come over and Katie knelt down to eye level, taking his hand in hers, and said “Landon, I love you more than you will ever know. I’ve had the privilege of knowing you since the beginning. I’ve loved watching you grow, and I will for the rest of my life. I’m so happy that now I officially get to be your bonus mom.” Landon looked at her while the audience presumably all began searching for tissues.
One Big Happy Family
“I promise to love daddy with all my heart. I promise to be a best friend to mommy and your daddy, Tyler. We will be one big family that I promise you will have for the rest of your life.” Katie hugged Landon and stood up. After that, she and Jeremy exchanged their vows. Katie had officially become part of one big family.
And They All Lived Happily Ever After
Early into the relationship, Katie and Casey didn’t expect their friendship to evolve like this. “At the time, I thought we would be able to be cordial and co-parent. Never in a million years did I think she and I would be the very best of friends,” Casey said. And the best part is that Landon gets to grow up with one large family that loves him, and all love each other.