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Dad and Stepdad Melt Hearts With This Blended Family Tradition

Photograph by Willie + Rose Photography

David Lewis and Dylan Lenox share a beautiful daughter, Willow. But despite their devotion to raising this precious girl together, these two men are not an item nor have they previously been in a relationship together. "No, we are not a same-sex couple, but we do share a daughter. David is Sarah’s ex-husband and I am the fiancé," Dylan shared on Facebook.

David, otherwise known as Daddy, Daddy David or biological Dad, and Dylan, otherwise known as Daddy, Daddy Dylan or Bonus Dad, are committed to putting Willow first and showing her that all three of her parents love her. And nothing captures that more than a series of photos that her mom, Sara, of Willie + Rose Photography, recently took before 5-year-old Willow's school dance.

Willow's school was having a daddy-daughter dance, which was no problem and absolutely something to celebrate for these co-parents.

Photograph by Willie + Rose Photography

Sarah tells CafeMom that because Dylan attended last year's dance, he wanted David to “have that moment” and have special time alone together. But before they left, they created some precious family memories.

Since she and David divorced five years ago, there's one thing that hasn't changed: Sarah's determination to ensure that he's as involved in their daughter's life as possible. "David has had two deployments to Afghanistan since Willow was born, so communication is key," she says. "I have made it a priority to keep David in the loop so he can be involved as much as he can, when he can’t physically be there."

This dynamic is something that Dylan was aware from the start—and completely supportive of. He and Sarah have been together for almost four years, since Willow was 18 months old, and as a father himself, he agreed that co-parenting was a priority.

"They instantly bonded with each other once I introduced Willow to him," she says. "Dylan knew what I expected because we had already talked about the importance of our children and how much influence each and every one of us as parents has on them. We all had a common goal to achieve and we did whatever it took to make that happen.

"Dylan told me, 'I fell in love with Willow first' and I followed!" she says.

On Facebook, Dylan explained that the three have molded themselves into this unique family so that their children can know the power of love. But it isn't just the kids who get something out of it.

"Not only did I gain a daughter, I gained a brother and a best friend. Thank you Sarah for letting this all happen!" he wrote. "He stays at our home when he visits, because family is always welcome. He is not an outsider, he is and will always be a part of my life for the simple fact that we share the same daughter!"

They were able to all form this bond because they "care more about our children (on both sides of the party) than the way society has taught us to be towards (exes/baby mommas/daddies)."

Most importantly, they all seem to be on the same page and have a sense of humor as they do it. "Willow Grace you are loved by so many people in this world and your Daddies love you! FYI David is SINGLE ..." Dylan added.

For Willow, this loving dynamic isn't unusual—it's her normal.

Photograph by Willie + Rose Photography

"Willow definitely understands how much she is loved. I don’t think she realizes how magnificent this whole thing is and how rare it is just yet," Sarah says. "To her, it is normal to have two men as dads. She honestly doesn’t know any different. Dylan has been around since before she was out of diapers—he’s changed a few of those—so she doesn’t remember there being a time without him in the picture. She may not understand the complexity of it all, but she understands commitment and LOVE."

According to Sarah, the dynamic was pretty easy to achieve, thanks to both of the wonderful men in her life. "They have had a mutual friendship from the beginning and it only got stronger each day," she says. "It was very natural. Just being mature and understanding that between us three, Willow came first and always will."

Sarah says the pair have a tradition of kissing Willow's cheek and she couldn't help but capture these spontaneous moments before the dance.

She had no idea that her photos would go viral but she hopes they inspire other families. "Communicate as much as possible with your ex spouse," she says. "Be kind, put your kids first, and show them both compassion and love—so that they can continue it!"

This post was originally published in Mom.me sister site CafeMom.