He got me. Steve baited the trap, watched me walk right into it and then let me know it with a clear voice, laser like eye contact, and a Texas-sized smile. His Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) was shoved aside. Just for a moment.
When I realized what had just happened my smirk grew into a smile, then a chuckle, and then a full belly laugh. Lindsay laughed along with me. And Steve laughed too (at me, not with me.) He knew he got me. Real Steve was in the house and it was sweet.
Weekends are busy in our sandwich generation household. Three kids between the ages of six and eleven, a mildly neurotic (but extremely lovable dog), as well as Steve and his LBD all living under one roof. Weekend days are typically jammed with kids’ activities and catching up on all the things we meant to do but didn’t get around to in the week gone by.
Last Sunday was no different. It was lunchtime and one of the rare moments when everyone was in the house at the same time. Lindsay and I were having simultaneous conversations about which kids were having what for lunch and about the chores we needed to finish up before the football game started at 1 o’clock.
Under different circumstances, we’d probably DVR the game and get to it when we get to it, but not today. 1 o’clock was the perfect game time for Steve. And besides, you can’t watch a playoff game on tape delay, right?
Steve had just gotten up from eating lunch at the table and approached us in a way that signaled he intended to join the conversation. As Lindsay and I came to conclusions about who was doing what next and (more importantly) what we were going to eat for the game, Steve chimed in.
Real Steve is a lifelong sports fan. More specifically a lifelong Boston sports fan, with the Patriots at the top of the list. Actually their tied with Red Sox in Steve’s personal pecking order, and whichever of the two is in season has his undivided attention.
Still a passion, just a bit dulled
But while he still enjoys the games, Steve’s LBD has dulled his passion for the teams and sports in general. Because of his LBD, it’s difficult for him to focus on what’s happening in the game. And it’s hard for him to process in the moment what the broadcasters are talking about to supplement what he’s seeing on the TV screen.
That being what it is, real Steve still loves the games. At his core, he wants to follow the teams. Talking about the games and what’s happening with the teams always gets him engaged and at times gets him talking. We know that what we see on the surface most of the time is the LBD and that real Steve is underneath. And he loves the games.
So last Sunday, when Steve chimed in, I didn’t immediately recognize real Steve. I immediately went into give Steve context and get him excited to watch the game mode.
Hook, line, and sinker
“What game?” he said.
“The Pats. They’re playing the Chargers in the playoffs at 1 O’clock today. We’re going to have some good food and watch the game!” I replied.
There was some dead air for a couple seconds as Steve contemplated what he’d heard. Not satisfied with my hype job, I started in again.
“The Chargers are really good. They haven’t lost on the road this year. And Brady’s playing old. It could be interesting. The team that loses is done for the year, and the team that wins…”
Steve cut me off before I could finish. With two words. “Got ya.” His eyes locked on mine and a smile that was growing by the nano-second, that’s all he said. “Got ya.”
At that moment, I knew that he knew, what I was droning on about. He knew what the deal was. And he baited me. He baited me right into a classic real Steve sarcasm trap. Sarcasm and bad (but dad-funny) puns are vintage real Steve. And it was soooo good to see. LBD was the furthest thing from all of our minds and we all laughed like no one was watching. It lasted just a minute, but thankfully it felt much longer.
Real Steve’s moments like this are fewer and farther between these days. But that never means he’s not there. That’s why even if he’s covered up by his LBD, we never stop engaging and looking for him.
The Pats wound up beating the Chargers which means there’s another game tomorrow. The later start time isn’t as convenient for Steve, but hopefully he’ll catch the beginning with us before he heads to bed for the night.
And with any luck, he’ll get me again.