Meet DaMarcus. Marc or Marcus when I am not trying to get his attention from fort night or basketball. I couldn't have pieced together a more perfect son if I tried to - seriously. He is full of life, always positive, ridiculously smart, witty, athletic, polite, responsible, the best big brother - you name it. He is the perfect representation of us - His dad, Tyrre, his mom, Melissa, and his bestie, me! The roles that we all play in his life are the reason he is the amazing young man he is and the reason he is always repping his million dollar smile.
I became Marc's bestie when he was just over four and a half. One of the first couple of times he spent the night at our place, he made the statement, "Now I have two mommies!" I vividly remember looking at Tyrre and then directly at Marcus and explained, "I'm not your mommy, but I'll be your best friend!" The beaming smile of excitement on his face after that verified it was the perfect answer for his little mind to comprehend. Fast forward nine years later, and we're still besties - get on each other nerves - especially now that he's a teenager - miss each other when we're gone for a weekend, "roast" each other (I have to keep up with the lingo of teenagers these days to maintain my cool status,) trust each other, and love the mess out of each other. I can be hard on him, mostly because I see the potential in him that he is learning and figuring out for himself.
Being that is was just international women's day, that brings me to my next point. One of the favorite quotes I read was, "empowered women empower women." The day Melissa (Marcus's mother) and I met in person, we had an instant connection - it's difficult to explain. There was never a ton of words in the beginning, but there was an unexpressed respect and unexplained rapport despite only hearing about each other from social media, past stories and painted pictures and out of the mouth of babes...a.k.a. DaMarcus.
Our parenting together grew off of those feelings of meeting for the first couple of times. It was clear that our lifestyles were worlds apart. I mean, Melissa is repping an arm sleeve tattoo and I have a dang purple hair scrunchy on my wrist - HA, not embarrassing at all... sometimes pictures are so revealing. Like when you're gaining the freshmen 30 and don't really realize it till you see a picture of yourself... ha! yea, that happened - who knew ninety nine apples/bananas and Little Carsars Pizza on the regular did that... Purple scrunchy, red scarf, Jennie...time to tone down the mom look! Woah.
Melissa and I are very different people with two huge common factors. We both have big hearts, and we both fully understand that we want what is best for our son. All differences aside, that is ultimately all you need have a successful, peaceful, coparenting relationship.
Some key notes I've learned on my journey as a step parent a.k.a.#bestie,
1. Have nothing but 100% respect for any woman who does what is best for her child. ALWAYS put yourself in their shoes, no matter what the situation.
2. Have an open heart, empathize with your children and do what is best for them. No matter what your lifestyle, everybody wins.
3. I know this is not the case for all, but Melissa and I do most of the communicating. For us, it's just easier and we have a genuine friendship. Often times discussions about Marcus turn into "update me on your life" and "hows this" and "hows that." It is very common for phone conversations to last at least an hour. And when this does happen, I almost ALWAYS find DaMarcus ears away somewhere pretending like he's not listening but know fully well that he is. It makes him happy and feel complete knowing his mom and bestie have a relationship where he does not have to feel guilty about loving us both. #NEVER put your child or children in a position where they feel they have to choose.
4. Choose happy and kind over everything. It wins every time.