Asking Permission

Despite her objections that I am trying to control too much of her life, it is interesting that Kate is increasingly asking if it is all right for her to do things. Two examples occurred at dinner this evening. After ordering, she asked me if she could start “my album tomorrow.” I told her that would be good. Then I asked if she were talking about her Chautauqua album. She said yes. After dinner, she pointed to the parsley that she had taken from her plate and placed on a paper napkin on the table. Without using words, she was asking if she should take the parsley home for her compost. That is what she always does. Why she happened to ask about doing that tonight I can’t imagine. I told her that she could take it if she wanted to. She said something like, “I don’t have to.” She brought it with her when we left.

When we got home, we both sat in the family room where I watched the news on PBS while she worked puzzles on her iPad. When it was almost 8:00, I told her I was going to take my shower. She decided to go into the bedroom. She sat down on the bed and pointed to the charging cable for her iPad. She didn’t say anything. I didn’t understand what she meant but said, “Yes.” When I said that, she reached down to disconnect the cable from the surge protector. Then I asked what she was going to do. She asked me what I wanted her to do. I told her she could leave it plugged in, that we were “not going anywhere now.” Then she said, “What am I going to do now?” I told her that it was getting near the time she would go to bed and that she might put on her night clothes. She indicated she would do that. Then she picked up her iPad and started to work on it in bed. After my shower, she was still in her clothes. I walked over to her side of the bed. She pointed to the sweater she was wearing. Then she said, “This or my night clothes?” I said, “Your night clothes.” In a few minutes, she got up and changed. Just another illustration of using minimal words and asking for my guidance even though she still wants to be very independent.

Yesterday afternoon, Kate and I were talking about some of our memories when I suggested that we start a project of writing down our memories from our life together. She liked the idea. This afternoon she had reached a point when she was ready for a change. We had been to Panera this morning. Then we had lunch. When we got home, she pruned in the yard. Then she had worked on her iPad for a while. I could tell she was getting bored. Instead of asking if she would like me to take her to Panera, I asked if she would like to work on our memory project. She liked the idea and suggested we do it at Panera. We did it. She told me from the start that she would have to depend on my memory. I suggested we try to write down how we met and something about our first date. Then we started a second section on places we have lived. We only addressed the first place in Fort Worth. I could see she was getting tired and suggested we stop. I told her that I didn’t want us to think of this as work, that we would not have to work on it every day, just as we felt we wanted to. This first effort was better than I might have predicted.

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