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.

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

19 thoughts on “Slice of Life: Mentors Matter

  1. What a wonderful and deeply layered small moment! Not so small really. Stepping into your own big-girl shoes is a really BIG moment and to accomplish that as a writer is twice as amazing. Like mother, like daughter! Thanks for sharing a delightful family event.

  2. Wow! This piece says so much in not that many words and it is gorgeous. I love how you said you are her safe place but her brothers have driven her and their approval means so much. It’s hard to follow a successful sibling (for me, it was my sister) but carving our your own space and identity while striving to be as successful can make you a strong person. I hope your strong girl finds the college that will help her grow further into who she will become! 🙂

  3. I am tearing up because I have had the pleasure of meeting this girl. I hear the pride in your voice. A beautiful slice of your life. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I love this piece of writing, Julieanne. I have tears in my eyes because the story and the message are so beautiful.

    We all need mentors and safe places. How fortunate that your daughter has both.

    Congrats to her on this first step in the college admissions process. May only good things come for her!

  5. Oh, this is such a beautiful small moment and so richly encapsulated. There are definitely at least two writers in your family. Sibling relationships are so complex and you have illustrated that well.

  6. Love this! My sister is nine years younger than me and this reminds me so much of our relationship. Although I didn’t know it at the time, I was her mentor. This post made me smile today!

  7. Those moments in parents’ lives fill us up. It is beautifully told, this moment in your life, Mom! The sibling connection is so strong, happy your daughter has that love to keep her going.

  8. I love this Julieanne. We are living parallel lives. My daughter is also writing her essays, and when she shared the first with me, it took my breath away. She is a writer too.
    What a sweet memory your daughter has captured. And how great that her brothers are there to share their pride. Best of luck to her.

  9. This is “living a dream.” Family there to support, encourage, even push, sometimes. Your heart as a mother has to be bursting with love and joy. Beautiful!

  10. I loved reading this and then seeing the photo at the end made my eyes fill with tears!! Such and exciting/scary time applying to college! I wish her all the best!!

  11. Such a sweet and beautiful slice, and so full of love. The sibling relationship is a powerful force in life. Filled with understanding and support this relationship can thrive people. I can read from your words how it moves you to see that kind of relationship between your children. College application? Wishing a good start to the journey.

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