Slice of Life: Mentors Matter

“Come in and close the door.”

I walk into your room. You’re on your bed. Pillows piled behind you. You gaze into your laptop.

“Listen to this.”

You begin.

 “As long as I was in the water, the word ‘no’ drove me to do what others thought unreachable.”

You finish. Your personal statement for college. First read. To anyone.

I say, “You have to read this to your brother.”

You say, “You think it’s good?”

I say, “I love it.”

It’s you. It’s what makes you a challenge and what I love so much about you. I’m not sure if it’s what colleges want. But, if they don’t, then you shouldn’t want them.

We walk to the living room and share with your brother.

You get to these lines,

“Sorry, little girl, but there is NO way that you can beat your brothers – they’re much bigger and stronger than you,” my coach leaned down and told me.

“They aren’t that much bigger!” I spat back while hurling myself into the cold water.

And he laughs out loud.

“Do you like it?” you ask.

“It is great,” he says.

Your biggest brother, the one who is “so smart,” (your words) just said what you wrote is great.

Your brothers are such a big part of you. All you ever wanted was to be like them. To keep up. To be as good.

No matter what I say or do, what your brothers think is bigger.

I’m the safe place. The person you share with first.  But, my opinion is not the one that matters most. Your brothers have driven you. You followed them, dressed like them, ordered whatever they ordered at restaurants. Their passions were your passions.

You read it again.  When you get to the end, you say, “I really like my last line.”

I do too.

Even as a kindergartener, I knew you were a writer, a storyteller. Glad to see you think so too.

You’ll never be as big or as old as your brothers, but you seem to be catching up little girl. Mentors matter. So glad you have them.


Thank you, Anna, Beth, Betsy, Dana, Deb, Kathleen, Stacey and Tara of Two Writing Teachers for Slice of Life Tuesdays. Read more slices here.