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Co-parenting Gold Medalists Give Daughter the Best Surprise

Jennifer Mattern

First there was the soccer family that whipped the internet into a “how do they do it?” frenzy with their co-parenting togetherness emblazoned on jerseys. Now, it’s co-parents and their spouses at Disney World.

Where are all you evolved human beings coming from? We can barely keep up with all these parenting rock stars.

Joseph Hawkey and Tiffany Bankert split in 2009, but share custody of their daughter Maddie, age 7. The co-parents are friendly — friendly enough that they planned a surprise Disney World trip for their daughter. And Maddie’s stepparents on both sides came along for the trip too. Because life is too short not to wear Mickey Mouse ears together.

More: How to deal when your toxic co-parent is no fairy tale
Here’s how they pulled it off: Maddie traveled to Disney World with her dad and her stepmom, Brianna. What Maddie didn’t know is that her mom and her stepdad, Luke, would be waiting for her at the entrance to Magic Kingdom. Awww, you guys.

“Her jaw dropped [when she saw us] and she was quite speechless,” Tiffany, Maddie’s mom, said. “She usually has a lot to say, so it was funny and touching to see her so surprised. She had no idea.”

Brianna has always loved whipping up personalized shirts for Maddie, and this trip presented a perfect occasion for another design: All four adults wore white tees with the hashtag #CO-PARENTING on the back and their respective titles on the front (Mommy, Daddy, Step Mommy, Step Daddy). Maddie’s shirt had her name and “Best Day Ever” across the back.

“We were hoping to show others it is possible to get along and enjoy a trip with everyone together,” Joseph said of the shirts — and their larger message. “The experience was very positive, especially for Maddie.”

More: Making co-parenting work for you and your kids

These four are used to group plans with Maddie. They try to do something at least once a month all together, from amusements parks to simple dinners. (We told you. Rock stars. Not for everybody.)

“But we all go to her softball games and school events, so she sees us together often,” Tiffany said, adding, “In fact, tonight her stepmom and I are both taking her to the school’s book fair.”

“Maddie is super excited whenever we all do things together, and she knows we all love her,” said stepmom Brianna. “With all of us working together, she doesn’t feel like she ever has to pick a side.”

Granted, this may not be feasible for everyone. This level of co-parenting requires majorly chill parents who have fully moved on from each other and respect each other’s current partners — a tall order for most mere mortals. But still, it’s nice to know families like this are out there and are thriving.

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