The Future is in her Hands

One of those lives were people shake their head. Not altogether wrong but seldom right. He’s made the odd mistake or ten but somehow staggered on through life. A bit of engineering, a bit of sales. Not what he wanted really but he got through. Decades have come and gone but here he is, not entirely fit but still breathing and looking at his grandchild’s little car. “The wheels all wobbly grandad” she exclaims, pointing at her toy. One of those you sit in and peddle round a room. “I’ll take a look” he says and so he does.

He may not have the strength ,but now  has time, to spend with all the small things he let go ,when trying to earn a living and pay the bills. His son just like he did, works all day doing a job he doesn’t much enjoy: arriving back just when it’s time for bed. To the kid  he can barely say hello or express any emotion worth a spit. The tiredness has drained all feeling from his bones. He loves her and he hopes that’s understood. At least his father is here to help with her.

For things that really matter we have no time, so busy do we get with fighting through to some safe haven, identity unknown,  location changing with the passing years. “Beer son”, he says it every day, watching the steam seep from the boy’s  tired frame. The drive alone is enough to make you mad, let alone the boredom of the job.

The things we love can be counted on one hand. The space and time to nurture them is rare, so hard are we pressed to battle up life’s hill. Both lost their wives some time ago: one through age and the other through ill-health so catering is a case of opening tins. The choice they have is just to carry on. To make the best of what they’ve got and pray that somehow they manage through the day.

The grandchild lives each moment as they do. Searching for attention as she must. Finding enjoyment in things they cannot see.  Imagination is her greatest friend.  She is the engine of their strength. The reason that they carry on . Grandad shuffling round the house and Dad at work, both push against the grain. They love her but seldom have the time to celebrate the fact or share a smile. But in her tiny frame rest all their dreams. That she might find a life unlike theirs. Go to college and sit behind a desk and holiday with friends and see the world. Make their struggles worthwhile in the end. This little body who carries on their name.

About Peter Wells aka Countingducks

Trying to remember what my future is
This entry was posted in character, childhood, creative writing, Life, life2 and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to The Future is in her Hands

  1. Poignant, sensitive and loving account of dreams that matter.


  2. backonmyown says:

    Beautifully written. Reminds me of “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin.


  3. says:

    Sweet story. How we put our hopes and our dreams into our children. It makes me nostalgic. Wish I were more like the little girl using my imagination. Wish I were more like the elderly men just carrying on. Wish I were a little bit more like myself, at least today.


  4. Barbara says:

    Very touching Peter. I do hope that this generation has learned from our generation that being passionate about your work is as important as breathing. Too many have missed out on their childrens lives just trying to eke out a living. You can never get that back.


  5. The T says:

    With a hammer and some soft manupluation he can put that wheel back to trueform…just like life…things need to be malleable and be gently forced back into equilibrium… to the child he/she doesn’t care about the details, those are the nasty thngs for us to work through…so keeping our head held high, let’s work through them…



  6. Lafemmeroar says:

    Emotional and existential. I felt a certain sadness and hope in reading this … I guess that’s what life is about.


  7. A child’s imagination and dreams is one of their most admirable traits. It’s something I cherish in watching my own children.


  8. There’s a great deal of sadness, hopelessness, in this piece. I can’t tell if the characters are aware of the time being wasted or if you, as narrator, are the one who observes this. Either way, it’s sad.


  9. –Ducky,
    I love your writing. So profound & relevant for all of us… Xx


  10. nelle says:

    Quite poignant a narrative. We humans all have a touch of that life, or will before we are through.


  11. This is such a wonderful, beautiful, and sweet story. I really have a smile on my face.


  12. scrambled7 says:

    This is just so sad.


  13. Larry Lilly says:

    Bittersweat memories. My dad was like that guy, he provided me with all that I wanted but not what I needed. So when I had kids, I made sure that I was there for all their events, life actually. School meetings, homework, after school events, sports, cheerleading, piano lessons, just being there for whatever. Taught them skills, gave them opportunty to see more than routine growing up. I was looking forward to the time when they would have kids, then I could do it all over again. Short circuited dream though. My only daughter is no longer here by her own hand and my sons now grown will never marry, living a peter pan life of today, today, today. I have all their childhood stuff I am slowly dispensing; photos, toys, grade school work, but no future. I keep telling myself that I did what I could, that all along I knew that I was giving them what they needed. But it is a dead end. Yeah, they are my kids, I still love them and am pleased that they enjoy the life they have, they feel happy but somewhere in the back of my mind it still naws at me that its the end of the line. Perfected kids, but for naught. So who is worse off, the parent that wasnt there and now feels guilt for it as he plays second dad to his kids kids, or me that tried to be there, but now sees the end of the road?


    • What I can say is what a genuine and admirable guy comes over in this comment. In the end you can do your best for your kids, but how they use it is up to them. As for your daughter. I can hardly imagine what that would be like and my heart goes out to you


  14. Lady E says:

    Oh Larry Lilly, I’ll second counting ducks here, my heart goes out to you… I think as parents, we all try to do our best, and to right whatever we felt was wrong in our childhood, but we can never know for sure that our children will be ok, we cannot protect them form their own choices either. It’s hard.
    You do come across as someone who really put their heart into being a good dad, and that will never be lost. x


  15. ElizOF says:

    Beautiful and bitter sweet at the same time.. Time is passing by and we struggle with what matters and what sustains us or helps us pay the bills… It is a balancing act with one always winning over the other… I don’t have the answers as I am in the throes of it myself…. beautifully written as always. 🙂
    Finally catching up again… where did the time go? Phew! 🙂


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