Carmen Ferreiro-Esteban

Since my sweet little daughter turned into a teenager she has become a different being. No longer little–at 5′ 7″ she towers over me–nor sweet, as all I say or do seems either to annoy her or embarrass her.

I knew this was coming–she has a big brother, after all–and try to take it as it is, with a sense of humor and low expectations.

But sometimes, I do need her help. Like now that my slide show refuses to be loaded into my blog.

“A monkey can do it!” my daughter says tartly when I ask her.

“Exactly! That is why you can and I don’t,” I tell her, in what passes for witticism in my house.

Talia looks at me as if she’s about to puke. Then storms out of her room.

I follow her to my study where she sits in front of the computer and proceeds to click all the choices on each tab with fingers slick by years of text messaging.

“There,” she says at last. “Fixed.”

Before I can say ‘thank you,’ she shouts, “Welcome,” over her shoulder and is gone. I can hear her chatting in her room with the heads of her friends open in her laptop, explaining what a loser her mother is when it comes to doing anything in the computer. She is boasting actually. As if having the dumbest mother of them all gives her status or something. I let that pass.

I sit on my chair and look at my screen. I have no idea what she just did. I don’t think she does either. Her approach to solving problems seems to be trying everything, eventually something will work. Which is certainly not the way I was taught.

When I was growing up, I was forbidden to touch things as I could break them. And old habits are hard to forget.

I try again. I go back to the Blogger Dashboard and load my newly saved movie. It doesn’t work. I have two choices now, give up or ask my daughter for help again. I’m too stubborn to give up. As for calling my daughter, I’d rather have a root canal done. There is only so much teen angst I can take in one day.

So I take action.

I click the tabs. One after another, in no particular order. No risk of undoing my slide show as it is not working anyway. It’s frustrating, this trying things at random. It’s also strangely liberating, disobeying my teachers’, my mother’s voice after all these years of carrying them inside.

Somehow at the one hundredth try, the slide show is saved in the right format and I can load it on the site.

I smile, as proud of myself as I’ve ever been.

I did it.

All by myself, I did it.

And not, as monkeys would have done it, by imitating others. But as humans do: by trial and error.

If only now I could remember how I did it.

But that would take a genius. Me, I’m only human.