Monday, July 09, 2012

A Cantwell Gathering and a Fun Moment that I Hope to Remember Forever

So, back last month, on the Saturday before Mother's Day, we held a little Cantwell afternoon of fun.  We ate, we played, we chatted, we did all the usual things.  





After we had digested a bit, all the kids and the adults who were feeling a little on the spry side started a game called "Run Fox Run".  It was my first time ever playing it, so I'll explain the rules a bit.  Basically, it's like Dodge Ball, except, instead of throwing a ball, you have to tag the other person and that puts them on your team.  You start out with one person on one side (the winner of the previous match), and he tries to tag as many people as he can as they cross from one side of the field to the other.  Anyone he tags is then on his team, and then they continue to tag people until there is only one person left that hasn't been tagged.  That person wins the match and is the one who starts the next match.

Anyway, "Run Fox Run" is not for the faint of heart or knees or muscles.  I played for a good 20 minutes, and then my lungs couldn't take it anymore, and I retired to the porch where the aunts and the little girls and I ended up singing and dancing to show tunes and other general sillinesses.  Eric, on the other hand, played it to the bitter end.

And boy, did he ever pay!

All the next day it seemed Eric could hardly make a move without groaning or wincing or otherwise mentioning his damaged physique.  Now, as a man who has had diabetes since he was 2 years old, Eric is no stranger to pain, and he very rarely complains.  So, when he does complain, I tend to take those complaints quite seriously, and I try to give him sympathy and compassion and maybe even baby him a little bit.  So, I was going along my way, trying to help Eric endure through his injuries and being extra solicitous about it all for pretty much the whole morning.

However, at some point in the morning, I pinned Eric down as to where exactly the pain was centered, and why exactly he thought he had the pain.  Turned out it wasn't a back sprain or spasm, a pulled hamstring or Achilles tendon, or even a twisted ankle.  No, as Eric full on admitted, it was simply an extreme case of soreness from over-used muscles.  As you might remember, I am no stranger to over-used muscle soreness, and as I thought back on some of my more pronounced experiences with such, I couldn't help but remember that Eric hadn't been exactly sympathetic.  In fact, he'd even gone so far as to tease me in my complaints and pain.

Karma baby, it's all about Karma.

It took me about .05 seconds to switch gears and go into full-on tease mode.  Every wince by Eric was cause for a good-natured eye roll by me.  Every groan was answered by a fake, "Oh sweetie, are you going to make it?"  You get the idea.

And now, after ALL that introduction, we get to one of my favorite moments, sadly a moment that you might have actually had to experience to truly appreciate.  But, I did experience it, so I will appreciate it, so I'm going to describe it, if only to jog my own memory in the future.

We were sitting in the chapel.  Church hadn't started yet, the prelude was going, and we were just getting settled.  Eric shifted in his seat, winced, and muttered about his pain.  I started laughing at him and teasing him about being an old man.  Eric (laughing) replied that he wished I could know how he was feeling because he could guarantee that I would be handling it with a lot more complaints than he was managing.  I refuted him vigorously.  At this point, he said something along the following:

"Really, you know what you'd do?  You'd be sitting on the couch, whimpering and saying, (switches to weak, whimpery voice) 'Eric, will you please vacuum this room?'  'Eric, there's some dishes there that need to be put away.'  'Eric, I need you to scrub down the bathroom.'"

(I cracked up.  This man knows me well.  It's not like I'm a cleaning machine when I'm feeling chipper and great, far from it in fact. But, when I'm NOT feeling chipper and great, there's nothing like a messy house to make me feel even less chipper and even less great.)

And that was the moment.  Sitting in church, organ playing, Heather bouncing around, laughing my head off at my comic genius husband on Mother's Day.  Best present I could have received, right there.  A nice perfectly perfect slice of a life that is almost surely one hundred times better than I deserve to have.


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