Breakups are hard. Divorces are even harder. It’s something many of us know all too well. Maybe that’s why the internet is divided after one man headed to his ex-wife’s house with a mower. After getting divorced, some applaud what he did, but others say it’s going too far.
When 32-year-old Codie LaChelle McPhate of Texas took to Facebook to share a few pictures of her dad, she probably never imagined it would create any kind of debate or controversy. But, as with anything on social media, there are always those who find offense or don’t agree. That’s what happened when people found out what Codie’s dad was doing at her mom’s house after the two had divorced.
Codie posted the photos of her father, John, with a lawn mower on her mother’s property. She explained, “This is my dad, mowing my mom’s lawn. They’ve been divorced 28 years.” Yes, after being divorced for nearly three decades, Codie’s dad was voluntarily mowing his ex-wife’s lawn, even though she’s long since remarried and has adult children. That’s where some people quickly took issue, however.
Many questioned why the woman or her new partner wasn’t doing it themselves. “My mom has bad knees, and my stepdad works out of town,” Codie explained. But, it wasn’t just social media users who found the arrangement peculiar. “When my younger siblings questioned, ‘Why is your dad mowing mom’s lawn?’ I told them, ‘Because, she needed help, and he knew she couldn’t get out here to do it, so he did.'”
Praising her father, Codie continued, “This is co-parenting. This is how lucky I am to have 4 parents who respect each other, and know that at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is showing your children (even ones that are 32 years old) how to treat people, and how to love your family, no matter how it came together.”
As the post gained traction, Codie provided a follow-up. “My dad is with me in Texas on vacation. He doesn’t even live here where my mom lives. So, not only did he do something selflessly for her, he did it for her while he was on his VACATION,” she said.
“My dad is humored at how many people have seen this,” she added, saying John didn’t do it for recognition. “He wants everyone to know ‘I’m no saint.’ He just wants to show others that you don’t need to act like an angelic pastor on lent, but that we should all choose kindness whenever we can.” And for displaying that mentality, the man received a ton of applause with most calling him a “great guy.”
Although most acknowledged how hard it is to remain kind in the face of divorce and applauded Codie’s parents for it, there were still a few naysayers who went as far as namecalling. “What a cuck, what’s her new partner doing? Also, why don’t the children do it?” wrote one social media user, who seemingly formed an opinion without reading the whole story.
Yes, perhaps the children could have done it, but John chose to do it for an important reason. “He said my mom and he decided when they were going through their divorce they would both choose to be adults and treat each other with respect and compassion, because no matter how their marriage ended, they both loved each other very much at one point, and that, that love – counts for something,” Codie explained.
“If they were going to raise their children to be good, kind people, they needed to be good kind people,” she added, saying she’s very fortunate to have such amazing parents, referring to all four of them. “I know my moms and dads would do anything for each other because we’re family.”
We’re so often fed the narrative that divorce is bitter and ugly that many find it hard to believe that families can handle separation in a positive and healthy manner. As for the critics, there is simply nothing wrong with having a commitment to kindness, even if it’s being displayed towards your ex. Instead of questioning why John did what he did, perhaps others should ask themselves why they are not or would not show the same decency to those around them. There’s never anything wrong with having character and compassion, regardless of who’s the recipient of it.