BabyRalph’s first birthday is coming up at the end of the month. Ralph so enjoyed having the family together at Christmas that the day everyone left he actually agreed to drive with me to New Orleans for the birthday celebration. Of course, I have avoided bringing up the coming trip too often to avoid unnecessary anxiety.
But yesterday I asked Ralph to help me put together one of BabyRalph’s birthday presents, a scooter. (I am not going to bore you with my own grandmother obsessing about finding the perfect present except to send a shout out to GG if you’re reading.) Of course, Ralph resisted at first, but as you can see he didn’t resist long. In fact he got totally into the project, which turned out to be the perfect level of difficulty: just easy enough for Ralph to manage and just challenging enough for him to feel good about managing. In other words, I actually could have put the scooter together myself, but not with Ralph’s innate ability using tools). It took less than an hour to complete the scooter and Ralph was really pleased. We both were.
So this morning, drinking coffee I brought up the scooter again. I told him the scooter would be his special GrandpaRalph present to BabyRalph, an idea he loved.
“So we’ll give it to him at Christmas, right?”
I looked at him and bit my tongue, the urge toward annoyed correction still strong.
“No his birthday,” I said as calmly as I could. “We just had Christmas.”
“Oh.” He looked flustered. “What month is this?”
“Remember we had a big Christmas, everyone here.”
“Oh right, I forgot.” He nodded and sipped his coffee thinking. “Who came this year?”
I wonder how all those people who told me Ralph seemed cognitively better this Christmas would react to knowing he’d forgotten about their visit (and in some cases who they were to him) already.
In a nutshell this is Ralph, happy in the moment as long it lasts, his past and future fraying away daily.