A stepmother's photo has gone viral for its depiction of a loving, blended family.
Last April, Emilee Player posted a photo on Facebook of her four-year-old stepdaughter, Maelyn Player, surrounded by her mom, dad, stepmom and stepdad at her soccer game.
The parents proudly wore Maelyn's jersey number on personalized blue shirts, with their relation to the young girl marked on top.
“Because of us, I will never believe co-parenting can't work,” Emilee wrote in a Facebook post that has since been shared more than 87,000 times. “I know through experience it can work!”
Maelyn’s mother, Clara Cazeau, and father, Ricky Player, split in 2013 and have since remarried, but that hasn't stopped them from being amazing co-parents.
While social media users thought it was sweet how the family, who hail from Columbus, Georgia, was showing their support, Emilee said it wasn't anything out of the ordinary, as both set of parents make an effort to attend all of her soccer games together.
“Alex, the stepdad, is in the Army and stationed in Fort Bragg, but every time he is home all four of us attend,” Emilee told The Huffington Post. “On a regular day it is the three of us, and we make it a point to sit together and cheer her on as a family.”
But this isn't the only time both sets of parents are around each other.
Emilee said the two couples have continuously showed each other support outside of the soccer field. In 2016, she and Ricky welcomed their daughter, Everlee, into the world, and Clara and Alex play as much of a role in her life as she does in Maelyn’s. She added that Clara was even at the hospital when went into labor.
“She came in and checked on me and waited at the hospital until Everlee was born,” Emilee said.
But Emilee said their gatherings don't just stop at soccer games and hospitals, as they genuinely enjoy spending time together.
“We do all birthdays together for Maelyn,” she said. “We also go to each other’s birthday dinners with their own families, we do holidays together, we go to one another’s houses, we are literally always doing things together.”
When asked what's the most important things all co-parenting families should know, Clara said it would be to put your child first, and relinquish any ill feelings you may still have towards your former partner.
“Let go of any past feelings you may have and make it work for the sake of the child,” Clara said. “Stay strong. It is work every single day to keep this going.”
Emilee agreed, and said it was critical to remember to be a role model.
“Always respect the people involved because how you treat the other parents is a reflection of who you are,” she said.
Let us know the most cherished memory you have with your blended family!