Last night just before bedtime, I saw my future as the father of a teenage daughter, and not just a teenage daughter, but Nora Dreher.

It was not pretty.

“Dad,” she said, “before I go to bed, I want to tell you about Ada Lovelace. I really love her.”

“Who’s she?” I said, thinking this was some character from a storybook.

“You don’t know who Ada Lovelace is?”


“Seriously? You seriously don’t know who Ada Lovelace is?”

“No. Who is she?”

She invented the computer!” Nora said, as if she were telling her clodhopper papa that the earth revolved around the sun.

“Oh. I didn’t know that.”

“Honestly, I wonder if you should even have a blog.”

I stifled my laugh.

“Did you know that her father was Lord Byron?”

“The poet! I know who he is.”

“Dad” — she leveled her gaze at me — “he was crazy.”

Nora will be a teenager in just over five years. I am not ready, and I don’t think I can be ready for that one. A few weeks ago, we were driving and listening to the news. NPR did a story on the Mormon woman who was excommunicated for advocating for female priests.

“Why can’t women be priests?” came a voice from the back seat. “That’s crazy.”

I tried to explain why in some religions, like ours and the LDS church, the priesthood is reserved for males.

“That’s not fair,” she said.

“Well, it’s not really about fairness,” I said, and tried again.

“That makes no sense,” she said, huffily. We agreed to drop it.

Doomed, I tell you. Doomed.