Reflect: If They Only Knew

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. 



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8 thoughts on “Reflect: If They Only Knew

  1. Jenn @ A Simple Haven December 5, 2013 at 9:56 pm Reply

    Visiting from FMF :). I can only imagine the challenges of being part of a blended family. Grace to you, friend.

    • trisbendickson December 5, 2013 at 9:59 pm Reply

      Thank you for stopping by Jenn 🙂 Blessings to you!

  2. mylifeaslori December 6, 2013 at 6:19 am Reply

    Another visitor here from FMF… wow, my heart breaks for your heartbreak. Praying is the wisest response to this pain. I too walked away from the best this life had to offer, rebelling in my own little way. And simply knowing that there was army standing behind me, praying for me, wanting the best for me…. helped me sleep at night. And when I “returned”, broken-hearted but forgiven, I knew that army was the strength I needed to forge forward. Keep praying, my new blog friend. Keep praying…

    • trisbendickson December 6, 2013 at 11:33 am Reply

      I’m often hesitant to write about things when they are too raw and have less than a hopeful tone, but you have given me hope through your response. Thank you for that! Keep praying, I will 🙂 Blessed by your encouragement!

  3. Melissa December 6, 2013 at 2:39 pm Reply

    This hurts my heart knowing your pain. It’s there and it’s real and it’s quite frankly undeserved and unfair. You are wonderful and have given as much as you can give. Please never doubt yourself – you, my friend, are and always have been enough!
    Hugs and love!

    • trisbendickson December 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm Reply

      So blessed by your friendship Melissa. Thank you for your encouragement! Such a welcome reminder to hear that I am enough. When it is so easy to question our efforts in life, I am beyond grateful for friends like you. Hopeful that you always remember that you are enough as well. Much love to you ❤

  4. april January 12, 2014 at 10:12 am Reply

    I’m divorced. My husband took in my son at the age of 4 (now 14) and I can’t imagine having a lifetime with someone (even if it was just every other weekend and extended times for holidays)… and then feel like they don’t know you at all because someone else was filling their heads with crap. We never EVER speak a cross word about my son’s father. Unfortunately, he has learned himself many of the unpleasant characteristics he possess all on his own but even when he voices those, I don’t agree with anything. I just listen. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be the step-mom… 😦 I do find therapy in writing, too, because frankly, life ISN’T always all sunshine and rainbows… it’s real and it’s raw and it’s hard… but those little nuggets that you find in between all the hard spaces are what really teach you to appreciate the gifts when you receive them! 🙂 Hugs to you…

    • trisbendickson January 12, 2014 at 5:39 pm Reply

      Thank you for sharing some of your life experience, April 🙂 My hope would have been to have more of a “team” approach to parenting, but it became obvious early on that we were on opposing sides on many pivotal issues. One day, I can only hope, that the boys will realize the pure intentions we have always had for their lives. Blessed by your support and comments today!

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