Standing four foot ten inches tall, she is in the 75th percentile for height in her age range–a tall, leggy beauty. She scored 60 out of 60 on an English and vocabulary test–a verbose, dizzyingly articulate, and an often downright sassy debater. And she is 108 days away from an end to chemotherapy–a testament to a will so powerful, cancer runs for the hills.
Jordan finished the week putting numbers on the board like LeBron James. An MRI on Tuesday revealed stable progress in her battle against the brain tumor. She handled the procedure with easy maturity. Her doctor was impressed with her height and her perfect weight. She is doing so well healthwise. I sigh every time I see the numbers. They give me hope. The medical team has set a date–September 14th. If all continues going well, that is the date on which they will stop administering chemotherapy. And even though surgery is looking inevitable, I know my daughter can handle it and make the rest of us look silly for dithering over a sniffle. I often say I am proud of my midwest heritage. Well, that pride beams through my daughter’s resilience. She embodies the strength and countenance of Irish America.
She took all the news in stride, more proud of her standardized test results at school than her body’s accomplishments. Tonight, I found her lounging in our bedroom, a tray on her lap riddled with magazines. She wore her brand new pajamas. A TLC reality show played on the television, but she paid it little attention. She highlighted photographs and passages she admired. When I walked in the room, she barely acknowledged me; then told me she was looking at pictures for her magazine. Her eyes never broke from the pages. She talked to me while looking down, absorbed in her quest.
While I was traveling this week, Jeanette told me that Jordan wanted to wait up for me so that she could give me a hug. Now that she was awake and I was home, I asked if I could get that hug. She stopped what she was doing, stood up, and squeezed me energetically. We talked for a moment. She told me that she thought the show she was watching was interesting – a show about little people.
– Dad, look! They are little people. They’re little. Can you believe it? Sometimes they look tall, but they are small. Isn’t that interesting.
I stifled a giggle and told her I thought it was, indeed, interesting. She went back to her work, but not without telling me how much she enjoyed the thimble full of red wine I poured for her.
– That wine is beautiful, beautiful like a cherry blossom.
And as quickly as I caught her attention I lost it. She hopscotched into a world of words she couldn’t understand and images she revered: bright colored fashions, three column layouts, and beautiful people. I said something to her about Harry Potter, but she was lost in the booklets.
I cheer her for her passions, and her strength, and her sometimes apathy toward the world that surrounds the fascinating universe in her head.