Aurora Jordan

She sleeps in a pink castle, cream colored cheeks against a fluffy purple pillow. The castle is really a square tent with four spires and an arched entry flap. She asked her mom to erect it in her room next to her bed. Last night it is where she slept, and this afternoon it is where she napped. Through the mesh windows I spied her, resting contentedly in a blissful stillness.

Her progress this week defies imagination. She gaits pleasantly from room to room, pushing forward with cheer and an appetite for life. She has quite an appetite for food, too. Her mood astonishes us all. What once was subdued and somewhat depressing has evolved into a curious maturity. The old soul inside her broke loose, shook the dust from her shoes and set upon living rather than recovering.

Yet, still, that maturity. It measures more than the stamina of the child. It sizes possibility and fixes to render it tangible. She rejects the concept of no, and does it without swagger. The maturity displays with quiet confidence. I believe she has a ledger of goals hidden in her incessant mind. She never discusses the goals, just lets them hang in her sights. Then she achieves them one by one without marking the accomplishment to those of us watching stunned from the sidelines.

She speaks deliberately, liberally relying on ambiguous pronouns when her mind cannot find the specific words she needs to express her thoughts. There is less inflection in her voice, but the monotonic tone adds to her presence. She accents her phrases with sweeping hand gestures and an animated brow.

Throughout her illness the experts have often advised us to believe in the resilience of children. I doubt they imagined Jordan’s power. She casts a spell on us all. Hers is a determined magic.

She greeted me this morning on her usual progress to the kitchen pantry. I helped her pour some milk. We chatted for a few minutes before she went back to her room to dress. She moved a few steps from me when I asked her to return. I wrapped my arms around her and cradled her head close to my chest. And then I whispered to her.

“I’m so proud of you. Most grown ups can’t do what you do.”

She patted my back and replied, “I’m proud of me, too.”