Via Kelly Clarkson’s Instagram

“Piece by piece

He restored my faith

That a man can be kind

And a father should be great”

When I first heard Kelly Clarkson’s latest song, “Piece By Piece,” I found it to be a sweet, emotionally driven song. She describes how, after she was abandoned as a child by her father, her husband gave her hope and showed her that great fathers do exist. But it wasn’t until I listened to the song several more times that I realized I had more of a connection to Kelly Clarkson’s words than I initially wanted to admit.

Though my father never abandoned me, since my parents’ divorce he has slowly ebbed out of my life. We see each other maybe once a year, and he really has no interest in being a grandfather. Even when I was younger, he was not a huge presence in my life. I can’t recall him ever attending one of my dance recitals or band concerts or sporting events. He hardly ever showed warmth toward me or any of my siblings. I always wanted children, but before I met my husband I assumed I would be a married-single mother, much like my mother.

My mother always said that her goal was to be a better mother than hers was — to improve things for the next generation. My mother is absolutely fantastic, and I thought there was nothing I could do to improve upon the way she raised me. However, not too long ago I realized I would be providing something for my children that I never had growing up: a devoted father. A strong marriage. A happy family life.

Not a day goes by when I don’t think — how on earth did I get to be so lucky? I will never forget the look on my husband’s face the first time he held our children. I don’t think I had ever witnessed true, genuine, and unconditional love until that moment. And I continue to see that look every day — when my husband comes home from work and embraces our children after a long day away from them. It’s equally rewarding to see their excitement as their dad walks through the door, and they run to greet him. I know they will never doubt their father’s love for them. So many days, I just marvel at the life I have, one that I never imagined as a child, and I feel unbelievably grateful.

So to my husband on this Father’s Day: Thank you for picking me up, piece by piece. For showing me what it means to be a devoted husband and father. For all the nights you fall asleep holding our children in your arms. For weathering the 1 a.m. stomach bugs with me. For letting me sleep in on a Saturday morning so you can spend that time with our kids. For being a partner with me every single day as we navigate parenthood.

Above all, thank you for loving my children. It’s one thing to love me, but by watching you love and protect the people I hold most dear, piece by piece, you have shown me what a great father is.

Boston Moms
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