Real Families: Meet My Co-Parent, Part 4
This is the final installment of a 4-part interview with my very own co-parent, Ed Banuel. In Part 1, he talked about how we became co-parents, how having an absent father impacted him and our challenges as co-parents. In Part 2, he shared his thoughts about growing as a father and dating as a single, co-parenting dad. In Part 3, he talks about me and our co-parenting relationship. And, here in Part 4, he shares his final thoughts with the WeParent family…
Talibah: So is there anything you would change if you could do it all over again as it relates to our co-parenting, how we’ve raised our child so far, how you have fathered him? If there is anything you could change, what would it be?
Ed: You know what? I try not to look at life in general like that, because I feel like everything happens for a reason, you know? I was where I was at the time, and I feel like we had to go through this journey to be where we are today. And, now that I know what I know, the only thing I can do is work to make it even better. You know what I’m saying? So is there anything that I would change? No. I wouldn’t change anything.
Talibah: I get it.
Ed: What happened, happened and was supposed to happen. Obviously, if it wasn’t supposed to happen, it wouldn’t have happened that way. The only thing I can do is learn and work towards becoming a better person, becoming a better co-parent, becoming a better dad.
Talibah: What does that look like?
Ed: Being a better parent? I think it’s just constantly seeking ways to expose our son to bigger and better opportunities than what I had and constantly being there for him. We have open communication no matter what the situation is. He feels like he can always go to his dad for advice, for a shoulder to lean on, to feel empowered and always get the truth.
My vision for my son is for me to be able to raise him up and give him the tools he needs to be whatever he chooses to be in life. And this is not about financially being able to give him. Of course, everyday you want to be in a financial position to provide your with child some of the things you didn’t have, provide your child with a better lifestyle. But even bigger than just a lifestyle, I want to give him tools that will help him be a successful man in this world.
Talibah: And what does better look like in our co-parenting relationship for you?
Ed: I think better just looks like just us just continuing down the path we’re already on: communicating, being respectful towards each other, speaking to each other in love, being friends and being supportive of each other; because that’s also important. Ultimately, if something happens to me or you, it affects our child.
I mean, I view you genuinely like family. Ultimately, I want what’s best for you which would ultimately be what’s best for my child.
Talibah: Beautifully stated. What advice do you have for fathers and mothers who are dealing with difficulty trying to work together as parents?
Ed: I think first and foremost, whether you agree with what the person is saying or not, the first step is to listen. You have to listen and really try to understand what the person’s needs are, what they are trying to communicate, because everybody has their own views on raising the child. Really try to listen and understand the point from where the person is speaking.
If they are always complaining about a certain issue, listen. There may be some validity to what they are saying. By listening, you can come up with solutions, and coming up with solutions, that’s the path for a better co-parenting relationship. It all comes down to what I originally stated…communication. Communication is not just about talking, talking, talking. Communication is talking and listening.
Talibah: So is there anything else that you want our readers to know that we haven’t talked about?
Ed: I think the only thing is I truly love my child. I truly love our co-parenting relationship. I’m an imperfect dad but always seeking to be a better father. And, I may not make the best decisions all the time, but I accept that. I accept my imperfections, but I’m always striving to be better.
Talibah: Lovely. I will say for the record too, that I am thankful that you are our child’s father, that the journey I’m on and what I’m trying to create through WeParent wouldn’t be possible if we haven’t had the experiences that we are having and have had. You may be an imperfect father, but you’re the perfect father for our son. We may not be perfect, but we’re the perfect parents for this child. And we just have to figure out how and continue to use our co-parenting relationship as a way to get better as parents and as people.
With that said, thank you for being who you are and thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview.