The biological father and stepfather of a 5-year-old girl, together, carry a heartwarming message of mutual respect with a series of cute pictures.
David Mengon had to get used to his new life as a divorced parent four years ago, when he was confronted with an uncomfortable moment: meeting his ex-wife’s new partner.
David, 31, visited his ex-wife, Sarah’s, house in Waco, Texas, to spend the weekend with his 5-year-old daughter, Willow, when he first met Sarah’s fiancée, Dylan Lennox, 27.
“It was a real challenge at first,” says David. “It hurt me a lot to see my daughter with another guy.”
“He came out with Willow in his arms, I was devastated. When I got to know him personally and realized it wasn’t a ‘who’s the best father’ contest, I started to respect him.”
What could have been a difficult situation, turned out to be the beginning of a close friendship, built around the common love for their daughter.
On January 19, Lenox posted a photo series on Facebook of Willow and her two fathers. Sarah Mengon, 30, is a professional photographer and made the heartwarming photos for a school party of her daughter. The cute photos and the positive message reflect the special bond between her biological father and stepfather.
The Facebook message soon went viral, receiving more than 200,000 likes and was shared more than 100,000 times.
“We have become one unique family just to show our children the power of love,” Lenox wrote. “I got not only a daughter, but a brother and best friend. Thank you, Sarah!”
“I was a little overwhelmed when I saw his message,” said David. “We have mutual respect for each other, but when I saw it in black and white, it suddenly became real.”
Sarah felt it was important to remove any potential tension between her ex-husband and her new partner. She and David divorced when Willow was one years old, but they broke up in a friendly way and kept communicating regularly.
“With David, I had to put my own feelings aside and respond maturely to the situation,” Sarah said. “I never let my feelings get in the way of raising our daughter. It helped that both sides had so much understanding.”
“I think it just comes down to mutual respect, and it’s all thanks to Sarah,” Lennox said.
David served nine years in the military and now works as a contractor in Las Cruces, New Mexico. He was deployed twice after Willow was born and was very grateful for Lennox’s presence at the time.
“He was there to protect Willow and Sarah,” he said. “It’s still a bitter pill to swallow now and then, when she calls him ‘Daddy’, but I have to remember it’s not a title, it’s a commitment.”
“Because he plays a positive male role in her life and takes care of her, he’s earned the title of ‘Daddy.”
“I’ve heard people say that real alpha men wouldn’t allow this,” David said. “But I don’t think it has anything to do with that. As fathers, we’re supposed to make women stronger and more independent.”
Lennox’s message has encouraged and inspired others to share their own stories.
“I’ve received messages saying, ‘This has motivated me to improve contact with my ex,'” says David. “They say they’re going to do better and hope for change. It’s all about the kids.”