Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Little Push by Jennifer Steen

Jennifer Steen is the short story goddess.  She has a great ability to give you one small moment in time, like a picture window into someone's life.  This picture may seem so similar that you give that small chuckle and say, "ya, I've been there, sister."  Then as you read on you remember, and your moved by her words.  This is exactly how I felt when I read "A Little Push".  I read three lines into the story and quickly related.  I had definitely had one of those days.  It wasn't until the end that I was able to reflect back on my day and realize I had that push just like Jess, but didn't know it.  Actually, I have that push every day in the two young men I see before me.  See, in 28 pages, Steen moved me, and made me reflect on what really are my most precious moments.

Before this day Jess probably wouldn't have told you she had a blessed life.  She would do what most of us do and say she loved her husband, Chad, and her three children, Micah, Sam, and Katie to pieces, but some days were better than others.  On this small glimpse into her life, we got to see one of those days.  A day when, right from the start, everything goes wrong.  Your late, the car doesn't start, the baby is sick, something breaks...on and on.  You stop, look up to the sky and say, "come on, what now?"  Then you get that brief reprieve in something simple that makes you think you were foolish to be upset in the first place.  For Jess, it was the first snow of the season, and the look on her children's faces in that snow.  Then of course that slap of reality happens, and you get further down in the hole.  On this day Jess had all this and then her husband got laid off.  They were already barely making ends meet, not even having insurance.  They had a little saved that would be used to stay afloat, and of course their was Jess' trip.  A great sacrifice to give up.  The last trip home to see her dying dad, and she couldn't go.  Why was she being punished?

After a conversation with her father, Jess feels a little uplifted knowing he loved her.  He knew she loved him, and he felt his life was complete.  She didn't need to come see him.  All she needed to do every day, for him, no matter how bad it got, was smile.  Find that happiness in her life and grab a hold of it because that happiness is what makes it all worth it.  At that point in time Jess was struggling for that happiness.  She had just broken dreadful news to her family, and she still had to go ride a bike, in the snow, to get her son from school.  It wasn't until that bike ride home that Jess realized what her father meant in his declaration.

I bet today if you were to ask Jess she would still say that some days are better than others, but I bet this time she would still feel blessed to have those days. 

Check out more short stories by Jennifer Steen on her web page



  1. Great review! That takes talent to draw you in like that for a short story.

  2. That sounds amazing! I've got to check it out.