Some say it takes a village

“Happy First Day Back to School,” I chirped to my 6-year-old daughter Zoey as I met her at school as we headed to her first-grade classroom Aug. 21. My enthusiasm was not returned. In fact, it was met with a “Mama, don’t hug me in here,” response.

Sunday, the night before the first day, I had to drop Zoey off at her father’s house. In the back of my mind I was worried about her first day outfit and how her hair would be fixed. She would be staying with her father for the first week of school.

The first day is all about first impressions, and I was worried that her dad wouldn’t meet the standards that I envisioned for her first day to be like. Zoey’s dad and I are “co-parenting,” and raising this little girl has been a joint effort.

A few years ago, after Ryan and I separated, I eventually remarried and had another child. Ryan met a woman with two older children and they moved to Texas. Zoey went from having a mother and father, to having a mom, stepdad, little brother and a new stepmom, stepbrother and stepsister. Her family grew by five people in less than two years. That’s a big change for a small kid.

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