Since I last wrote, we’ve spent a week with my sisters and oldest niece at a lakeside cabin and we’ve had our companion, R, two more times to help with chores.
The cabin trip had been on the agenda for a couple of months, but I have learned to be fluid about committing us to anything, and so didn’t know how long we would stay, or even if we would go at all. I now wait pretty much til the day before any adventure to tell J about it, since she tends to obsess and worry a lot no matter how much or little advance notice she has. Less notice means less time to worry, which is easier on both of us. But it also means I need to do the preparations quietly and without engaging J too much.
The morning of the trip, J had the usual vague abdominal pains and distress, but got over it by lunchtime and we set off for the cabin as planned, caravaning with my niece. We’d had many brief conversations about the length of the trip, and the expected weather – cool days, cold nights! – but when we got to unpacking it became obvious that J did not hear or process my remarks about what to bring. Even though I KNOW this happens, I still avoid hovering as she packs, out of some (I know now) misguided urge to maintain her independence. But happily, a sister arrived the next day with Joyce’s heavy sweater, which had been left inadvertently at my sister’s house last visit, and this turned out to be enough extra clothihg for a while.
By mid-week, I needed to return home to keep an appointment and to meet with R, who was scheduled to come for her normal two hours. My family members agreed to look after J, so I could go down to the house Tuesday evening, deal with things on Wed morning and return to camp Wed. afternoon. This was exceedingly welcome, although it took some effort to “sell” J on staying while I nipped home to take care of business. Ultimately, she did fine, and I was very relieved to have a quiet overnight in my own home.
On Wednesday, I met with R, and it was the first time we had to really talk – we had spoken on the phone briefly, and emailed, but not really had any private time to meet. We sat down with coffee and I shared what life was like now, and what I hoped could happen with R coming regularly, and how we might transition from R and I doing chores together to R and J staying together so I could get out for a few hours a couple of times a week. We decided to have R drive J to her recorder group next Wed, which is an hour from us. That would give me 4 or 5 hours “off”, which I could plan on. Also, it gives R a role as driver, not just chore-doer, which expands the definition of her job with us. This is a one-time event, since the recorder group meets irregularly, but it’s a start in varying what R does. I believe that J needs a dignified way to express what R’s role is, so “driver” it is, at least for next week.
All in all, the cabin week was refreshing and pleasant – loons still on the lake, nice deck for sitting, quiet camp roads for walking. Good food, familiar people. A good situation for both J and I, and we ended up spending the rest of the week there.
And R and I spent an hour working on J’s closet and bureau, switching out summer clothes, taking them upstairs and bringing down winter clothes. This would have been stressful and tedious for J and I to do together, but was fast and efficient for me to do with R.