Mom's Photo of Blended Family with Fiancé and Ex Goes Viral: 'It Captures All the Love'
Madison Holley didn’t know if she and her ex-boyfriend Tyler Mcilveen would ever be on good terms after their breakup two years ago.
But a viral photo of Tyler holding their 3-year-old son Cade’s hand alongside Holley’s fiancé Cody Pietz and new son Waylon Pietz, now 2 months, has served as proof that successful blended families are possible.
“We were leaving the hospital after Waylon was born and my son was holding his dad’s hand but he also wanted to hold Cody’s hand,” Holley, 20, tells PEOPLE. “I just found that super adorable because they both have important roles in my son’s life.”
The shot shows the men and little ones headed down a hospital hallway. In one hand, Cody is shown holding little Waylon and, with the other, he’s holding onto Cade’s right hand. On the other side, Tyler is shown holding Cade’s left hand as well as he looks down at the little boy.
“That photo captured all the love they have for my son,” she continues. “It was a really nice moment.”
Holley, who currently resides in Ontario, Canada, posted the photo on Facebook where it has been shared 46,000 times.
“I wasn’t expecting it to go viral!” Holley tells PEOPLE. “It kind of blew my mind!”
Holley says she and Tyler, 27, were together for more than two years before breaking up. They co-parented their son Cade, but Holley says it was Tyler’s current girlfriend, 22-year-old Karin Gray, who helped her and Tyler build a friendship.
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“She’s the reason why everybody turned out the way it did. She helped us all be civil. She helped me to be able to even speak to Tyler again after we broke up,” Holley says. “Not only did me and her build a friendship, she’s been awesome with my son.”
It was also Gray who invited Holley, Tyler, and Cody, 29, to her home and encouraged them all to put their “differences aside.”
“From that day forward, we’ve all just built a friendship. Now, Holley and Gray spend a lot of time together, she says, adding that Tyler and Cody are on “good terms” too.
The mom of two says she’s heard from other parents with blended families since the photo made headlines. And she hopes other families can experience the joy of co-parenting that she has.
“So many people actually struggle with co-parenting,” Holley tells PEOPLE. “I guess this isn’t something you see every day. I wish that it could be that way for more people.”
She adds of her family: “I’d like to keep the friendships we have and, down the road, if Tyler and Karin have kids … it’s nice to know we’re all be there for each other.”