Just a Step Away


It was Wednesday. That was a truly special day for “P”. It was the day his Care For Kids mentor came. Wednesdays were always his favorite day. She took time to read to him. Sometimes she would even mess up a word just to make sure he was listening. He loved correcting her because she always praised him for being so smart.

One Monday he was sad. He learned that she wasn’t going to be able to be at school that Wednesday.

“Why couldn’t this have happened on a Tuesday or a Thursday? Why Wednesday!”

He was referring to the reason he was missing school. It was a funeral. His step brother had passed away. “P” was so upset at school his teacher reached out to the mentor, “S”.   The teacher asked “S” if she could come on Tuesday or Thursday of that week. “S” agreed – – Thursday it was.

When Thursday came “S” was sure to talk about the funeral and to make positive her buddy was handling it all okay. His step brother had died from a drug overdose. “P” didn’t seem to be too affected by the experience. “P” had a lot of “steps” in his life and didn’t understand the connection between all these “steps” and his responsibilities. They were all just people connected somehow – – all different last names. In his words, “most of the time they just make things more difficult.”

“S” got a piece of paper and a marker and began to draw a set of stairs. Then she explained, “Steps — or stairs – take you places in life. Some steps take you to places you don’t want or need to go (she pointed to the down staircase) and some take you to wonderful places (she pointed to the up staircase.) Don’t blame the steps. They are just there in our lives. It is our choice how we let them influence us.”

“P” thought for a moment and then he picked up the marker and wrote NANA on one of the steps going up. “She really isn’t my grandma,” “P” said with a warm smile. But she might as well be. She is really my Step Grandma….I think. She takes me to wonderful places. When I get to see her – – it just seems perfect for a while.

Then the most amazing thing happened. “P” picked up the marker again and wrote “S’s” name on a step. “You are one of my steps too.” He smiled a toothless little boy genuine smile.

Funny – – “S” thought she was there to help her buddy have a positive day…and he flipped the tables on her with one little scribble from a marker.


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