Redemption in a Playground

photo prompt liz

© Liz Young

I used to be like this junk. Drinking, smoking, a broken plastic person. A terrible father. A worse husband. Disreputable, divorced, self-destructive. But that’s before they were born. My grandchildren. They made me believe in myself because they believe in me. Now the man I was is just like this stuff, discarded. I’m sitting on this hill watching them frolic on the playground in the park below.

“C’mon down and play with us,” Johnny shouts.

“Yeah, Grandpa. Push me on the swing,” Cindy adds.

I stand up and walk toward my redemption.

Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ Friday Fictioners challenge. Based on the photo prompt above, you’re supposed to write a complete story of no more than 100 words. Mine came in at 93.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

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46 thoughts on “Redemption in a Playground

    • I can’t even imagine not being in my grandchildren’s lives. I had one Grandpa that I dearly loved, and my children love my parents. This is everything I hoped for.

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      • I’m with you on that — so glad mine live nearby. Forgive me getting off on a tangent, but my grandma was something else. She took delight in seeing you disciplined. One of my cousins talked of how, if they were going past her she’d stick out her foot to deliberately trip them. Can you imagine!

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      • That’s horrible, Christine. I only knew one of my grandparents, my Mom’s Dad. He died when I was 16 but he loved me every day of his life.

        I’m fortunate to live near my grandkids and they are my delight.

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  1. “I stand up and walk toward my redemption.” That line just grabbed me it is so full of hope. I also like the comparison to a “broken plastic person.” Very powerfully told story.

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  2. I really enjoyed reading this and the comments, which took my mind on quite a few little journeys this way and that. I think it’s always important to keep in mind that people can grow and change and the importance of forgiveness, even if they do need to prove themselves, especially where caring for young kids is concerned.
    I was very close to all my grandparents growing up, but had no idea that my mum’s father had been beyond a strict disciplinarian and had belted up my uncle, who also did seem to do very dangerous, risky things on a repeated basis. My grandfather also didn’t have much time for the family.
    However, he doted on me and was incredibly loving…a different man.
    I only fully appreciated the difference at his 90th birthday and by this stage, I had my own son. I would imagine that it could be quite hard for my uncle in particular to see that distinction.
    I have seen it again with my own children. I’ve never really been that close to my mother but she and the kids get on very well and are very close. She’s driven an hour each way to come up here once a week to help out and see them where I didn’t really connect with her. I am chilling out about it now and have close relationships with both my kids and focus on that.
    xx Rowena

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    • I can see that I’m a different Grandpa than I was a Dad. It’s been good for me and I think that even though my kids are grown, I still “parent” them in certain ways and am better for it.

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  3. Loved it…a very interesting take on the photo prompt. Grandchildren do change a person. My father used to be a chainsmoker but the day my son was born he quit smoking, as he did not want his grandson to become a passive smoker. He loved playing with my son. When my dad died the last name he took was my son’s.

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