(rainbow at our farm one recent evening)
Anger, resentment, frustration, impatience, worry, guilt—wow, I have really sounded like an unhappy person lately.
But spring has arrived, the sky is clear, and so far the mosquitoes are staying away.
Also, Ralph is in a good mood.
Which means that he is in a good memory mood. Which means he is relatively relaxed. And when he’s relaxed, his memory lapses don’t escalate. And I have more patience. So the cycle turns positive instead of negative.
It helps that our son is visiting for two weeks—an unheard of treat although since Ralph’s diagnosis he has really stepped up to the plate in terms of making time to spend with Ralph. Last weekend we threw a dinner party with my son’s friends and ours in attendance. Guess who was the life of the party? (“Ralph is so smart and funny,” one of our newer friends said to me the next day.) And I had a good time too.
In a couple of days our sixteen-year-old grandson is arriving for one of his understandably infrequent visits from his home with our former daughter-in-law in Namibia. S’s father, Ralph’s son from his first marriage who now lives in California but talks to Ralph on the phone at least four days a week now, wants S. to have some quality time with his grandfather while he still can.
Everybody will be here to attend the art show Ralph’s art class is having on Saturday. Ralph is the only male in the class. I suspect he’ll be feeling the love on Saturday.
Then on Sunday, we’re having a picnic for S’s extended family—Ralph’s first wife with her husband, kids and grandkids as well as S’s mother’s sister’s growing family. It sounds complicated, lots of blended families.
But the thing is, there will be lots of kids here. Kids love Ralph and he’s great with them. He’ll have a ball.
As for me, it is interesting, because my reactions have become oddly less complicated. If anything, I am surprised how little I mind doing all the organizing legwork.
In the early days of our relationship, I used to resent Ralph’s charisma, his skill and desire to socialize. I wanted him to pay me the attention he paid everyone else, and I often felt like an uncomfortable afterthought among his friends.
Now that our life together has reduced down to a narrow, often lonely routine, I get more attention from Ralph than I need or want (although I do sometimes get jealous of the dogs I suppose). So it is a gift to see Ralph caught up in the whirl of social interaction with others for a change, to see him following and actively participating in conversations.
While the others laugh at his jokes, I can relax and enjoy Ralph himself in ways I forgot, if I ever recognized, were possible.
Let the good times roll.