I scold her for a deed that is endearing. In truth, she comes by it honestly. When I was a boy, and my mother would come home from work, I would bombard her with requests and selfish enthusiasm. She would often respond, “Larry, I just walked through the door.” Now, when I find myself rebuffing Jordan for her lack of timing, I think my mom must receive a signal and smugly smile. Jordan takes my misguided action to an entirely new level. Every night when I get home, she attacks me with observations, mid-sentence exclamations and requests for far-off objectives. Tonight was the piece de resistance. Tonight, I hadn’t even stepped out of my car when I heard her beckoning call.
– Dad, are you going to setup my computer?
The girl doesn’t do well without her digital. Her computer finally died a few weeks ago. I found her a loaner laptop, but she accidentally dropped it and put it out of service. I couldn’t get mad at her, even though she yelled at me and told me to yell. “GO AHEAD DAD AND YELL AT ME,” she shrieked. “I broke the computer. Go ahead. Yell!” If it was a strategy, it was brilliant. I didn’t yell. But I also didn’t rush to replace it. Meanwhile, she cribbed time on each of our computers, conveniently satisfying her addiction to Disney, Nickelodeon and PBS Kids online.
I had an old Mac cube in storage. Over the weekend I gussied it up and got it ready for the girl, but I refused to let her use it until her room was clean. This, in itself, was an ordeal. Yesterday, the feat was accomplished, and within minutes I was getting calls on my mobile (I was in Denver).
– Dad, can you install my computer when you get home?
I got home too late to mess with the electronics. This morning she left me another message; coquettish, determined and precisely unsubtle.
– Dad, if you are feeling like it when you get home, can you please setup my computer? That’s my only question. Love … your daughter … Jordan.
That’s how she signs off on her voicemails: as though it’s a letter and perhaps I don’t know who it is on my phone.
So it was, when I stepped out of my car to see her standing in the open doorway, draped in her pajamas, smiling and rattling on as though we had been chatting for an hour. She just went at me, with a coy line of reasoning that couldn’t be dismissed; not a care about the fact that I had been driving for an hour and finishing a long day. It was hard to be cross with her. There was just something so lovable about it. I heard my mother saying, “someday, I hope you have children just like you.” And I do. And in some ways, I don’t. Jordan’s tenacity reaches far beyond any strength I could attempt, and it always bowls me over. And I thank every spirit that guides me. As much as she drives me mad, I relish every part of what makes her tick.