Reflecting back, you were both just chubby little toddlers with your entire lives ahead of you when we first met. I was full of hope for your beautiful futures and vowed that I would do everything I could to guide your lives down the right path.
I loved you the ways that I knew how… played with you, cooked for you, created a safe and secure place for you, tucked you in at night, taught you right from wrong, read to you, giggled with you over silly boy jokes, prayed for you, and tightly hugged you goodbye every other weekend. I thought of you every day in between and wondered how your lives were when you weren’t at our house. I anxiously awaited the next time I would get to see you.
But the next time always felt strained at first. You were distant and hesitant. I had to win you over with gentle kindness, but that stopped working as you aged. You no longer accepted my love or saw my heart. You were restless, and I was powerless.
I remember an innocent question that sprang from your lips when we were playing cars in your room one Sunday morning as your Dad was making breakfast. “Why doesn’t Mommy like you?” you asked.
Taken aback, I paused for a moment. I never wanted the unnecessary adult drama to cloud your sweet eyes or burden your little hearts, but it had.
I quietly said, “I’m not sure why honey. How do you feel about me?” And as I waited for the answer, my eyes welled up, preparing myself for the worst.
“Well, I like you”, you declared.
Relieved at your answer, I quickly responded “Good, because I like you too!”
Somewhere in the years of struggle, I lost you. You didn’t have your own answers anymore because the thoughts and opinions of others were too loud. Knowing that I never wanted your Mom to feel the way I had been feeling, I never spoke a negative word about her. She did not return the favor.
Before I knew it, you had slipped away, failing out of school, turning to destructive behaviors and numbing your pain with unhealthy things. The dreams I had for you have vanished into thin air and my heart is left heavy and hurting. All I ever wanted was the best for you, but I feel like I have failed you in so many ways.
Today I am sitting in your empty room, gazing out your window at the hazy sky with tears streaming down my face, wondering if you ever really knew how I felt about you. I wonder what I could have done to more positively impact your lives. Maybe if I had done more or tried harder, your lives as adults would be different now.
As I take steps away from you now to protect my heart, I want you to know that I am not who you were told I was. I am who I showed you I was with every sacrifice I made, with every loving gesture, and with every bit of wisdom I shared. I wish for the very best in your lives, will pray for you often, and hope that someday you will be able to see just how much I have always loved you.
If you only knew.
Linking up with my Five Minute Friday friends, hosted at Lisa Jo Baker’s blog.
The goal of the FMF challenge is to leave behind your inner critic and let your words flow for five minutes. This particular post, I have bent the “rules” just a bit. I wrote this on Saturday afternoon last weekend amidst raw emotions while cleaning my step-sons’ room after they had moved out.
Life events inspired me to write, and this week’s prompt “reflect” was the perfect motivation for me to post my words. Feeling blessed to have writing as an outlet for me to share my thoughts.