Piece by Piece

­It's been no secret that I didn't have a good relationship with my father while growing up.  He was largely absent from my life (and the lives of my four siblings).  At some point we've all come to the point of forgiveness (in whatever form that may take on for each of us), and accepted the relationship that we've had.  Since I've become a parent I've strangely found myself forgiving him even more (though it should be said that my husband feels the opposite about this - in that he can't imagine a parent not wanting to be present for their child).  And since becoming a parent, my father has been more active in Henry's life, been interested in what he's up to, how he's doing, and wanting to spend time with him when he is in town - a fact that is also confirmed by my sister.

But occasionally, the feelings that I had while growing up resurface.  The feelings of inadequacy, wondering why my father didn't want to be with me.  Remembering writing him letters asking him why he didn't want me.  These feelings can be triggered by any number of things, and I can find myself with tears streaming down my face without warning.  Most recently the feelings were triggered by the Kelly Clarkson song "Piece by Piece" that my sister insisted I listen to.  The song is a beautiful testament to the love that her husband has shown her - that has reignited the faith that fathers can, and want to, be there for their children.

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But piece by piece he collected meUp off the ground where you abandoned things, yeahPiece by piece he filled the holesThat you burned in me at six years oldAnd you know,He never walks awayHe never asks for money,He takes care of meHe loves mePiece by piece he restored my faithThat a man can be kind and a father could... stay

You hear often that women choose men just like their fathers.  I can say that has been completely untrue for my sister and I.  We both chose to marry great men.  Men who are there for their children, who support their wives, who want nothing more than to be a family.  We have found in our husbands exactly what Kelly Clarkson sings in her song - great men, great fathers.

Each time I see Henry and Brandon playing together, it warms everything in me.  To see Henry running at full speed towards his Daddy in a hug.  To hear him laugh as Brandon tickles him or does ridiculous things to make him laugh.  It's those things that I will never take for granted.  It's those things that give me joy for our future.  A future with Brandon on the sidelines of every game, play, or big event that Henry has in his life.  A future with Brandon teaching Henry how to be a man, a father.  A future with Brandon holding Henry as he faces heartbreak and failure.  He'll be there for each of those moments and Henry will always know how loved he is.

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Piece by piece I fell far from the treeI will never leave her like you left meAnd she will never have to wonder her worthBecause unlike you I'm going to put her firstAnd you know,He'll never walk away,He'll never break her heartHe'll take care of things,He'll love herAnd piece by piece he'll restore my faithThat a man can be kind and a father should be great