Wow this list is totally right on! Take note and shove it all in your raft, don't miss one item.
cataraftgirl nailed it though, patience is the trick. I just got off Lodore with my son, our first trip without the wife and patience carried me through and earned us a great time together.
One thing I would add, make sure you have a crouch strap on her PFD. If you don't have one, just put a 4' strap between the front and the back of the life jacket. Then you don't have to have the life jacket way too tight.