We had a very pleasant Thanksgiving with Jesse and her family. Once again, we ate well. I suspect that is true for most of you reading this message. It was a relaxing day. The four adults were awake and downstairs before 8:30. The boys didn’t come down until a good bit later. Kate and I were mostly observers in the day’s activities. Jesse and Greg worked off and on the entire day. Jesse fixed everyone’s favorites. That meant mac ‘n cheese for Randy, bow tie pasta for Ron, and asparagus casserole for Kate and Jesse. The only sad part for me is that Kate no longer remembers that the casserole was a holiday dish that her mother made when she was growing up. She simply ate it without comment, and in the midst of all the activity, I forgot to tell her how much she had always enjoyed it. She loves reminiscing about her mother and would have liked thinking about other holiday favorites that she made for her family.
Like many families, we had the football games on all afternoon and into the evening. We didn’t sit down and watch any of them, but we kept up on the scores and periodically sat in front of the TV during critical portions of the games. After dinner last night, we watched Christmas with the Kranks. I hadn’t seen it before. It was one that Jesse’s family had seen before and loved. It was fun to watch as a family. Jesse and I were the primary viewers. Kate worked jigsaw puzzles on her iPad the entire time. She got in a lot of that yesterday. Greg had a football game on his the bedroom. Ron went back and forth from the movie to the game, and Randy was playing games on his phone. Despite the fact that we were not all watching the movie intensely, I felt it was a nice family time that allowed each person to pursue his personal interests while still being together.
As I have noted on other trips, large blocks of time can be a problem for Kate. She doesn’t like to stay in one place for an extended period of time. That is an issue whether at home or on the road; however, it is easier to change locations at home. For example, we can run to Panera or Barnes & Noble. She can work in the yard. We are always moving from one place to another. This desire to change locations is compounded when we travel because she is also confused about where we are and when we are going home. Early in the day yesterday, she asked me when we are going home. I told her we were going home “tomorrow.”
During the middle of the day we played Uno with Jesse and the boys. We had a good time and had a few laughs as well. I didn’t grow up playing lots of games at home, but I have come to recognize how good they are at facilitating group engagement. Everybody has fun most of the time except when someone loses too much. Playing with Kate adds a special dimension to games. She can’t remember the rules, and when I would try to help her, she would resent being helped. She had a real sense that we didn’t believe she could do anything right. At one point, we all knew that she had a “wild card” in her hand with a good opportunity to use it. We kept telling her what a wild card is and when to use it, but she never recognized that she had one in her hand. It was only one of three cards. She simply didn’t perceive it. Despite this issue, the game was a success.
Sometime during the night, Kate screamed, “Help!” I asked what was wrong. She said something about “her.” I asked, “Who is she?” She said, “My helper.” I had been thinking things were going so well with the sitter. Suddenly, I wondered if she had been afraid of the sitter. I asked if she had done something to make her afraid. She said, “No.” The she told me the sitter was with her. There was apparently something else that had scared both of them. I asked what had happened. She said, “I don’t know.” She mumbled a bit. Then for the next few minutes, she periodically said something about her (the sitter) as though she were concerned about her safety. I told her everything was all right, that it was just a dream. She said, “I hope so. I would feel better.”
Dreams like this are not typical for Kate, but she does occasionally have them. Fortunately, most of them involve her days in the classroom. She is always giving instructions to her students in a very kind way.
It is now 9:30 a.m. Kate has not yet come downstairs, and I want to leave in the next 30-45 minutes. I think I will go upstairs to check on her. Jesse has gone to work. The boys are still sleeping. It’s been another good holiday with family.