Yesterday, I asked Ralph to stay around the house and watch for a UPS shipment while I took my mother to the doctor and then handled a business transaction concerning the sale of our business. Before I left the house Ralph asked me repeatedly why he needed to stay in the house. Once I was gone, he called me repeatedly asking what he was waiting for and worrying that it hadn’t come. At one point he left the house and waited in the barn, against my specific instructions, until I told him in the next phone call to go back to the house.
His problem was anxiety, not memory, or it was memory compounded by anxiety. But since the package was my daughter’s wedding dress (sent to us so the groom would not see it by mistake), my anxiety got pretty high too. Especially when Ralph stopped calling or picking up his phone when I called him for an hour while rushing home.
Of course once I got home, he was sitting on the porch with the dog and a beer. “Oh yeah, I think something came,” he said when I asked, “That big white box in there?”
Once the package came, it stopped being something he needed to remember so it didn’t occur to him to call and tell me. Besides, he’d left his phone somewhere in the house where he couldn’t hear it ring and needed me to find it.
The bottom line is that Ralph managed fine and the dress is safe. When my daughter nervously texted from her job to ask if it arrived, I couldn’t help teasing her—as if an already tense bride-to-be needed her mother to make things worse.
“If what arrived?” I texted back, before quickly, and guiltily, texting again, “Safe and Sound.”
The joke’s on me because now I have to wait to open the box and look at the dress until she comes out here on her day off. The anticipation is driving me nuts…it’s a different kind of anxiety than I’m used to these days and one that’s a lot more fun.