21 and Counting

3/20/2016


Last week I turned 21.TWENTY ONE. Exciting, right? No.

Birthdays aren't my forté. They really arent my forté. I have a terrible habit of ruining the one day of the year I really shouldn't ruin, so I found it quite hard to get myself excited. Taking this into consideration, and given how much my life has changed in the last 9 months, I didn't know what to expect at all. The last few years have went something like this (and I had no desire to have a repeat):

17 - Got too drunk and somehow woke up in Premier Inn but arrived home just in time to give my mum her mothers day card, acting like nothing had happened. Also lost purse and memory.
18 - Got pregnant. Enough said.
19 - Had first night away from new baby. Spent most of it showing people baby photos. FYI it's a good way to scare guys away.
20 - Celebrated not being a teen mum anymore. Got too drunk and fell through my friends shower door and it shattered into smithereens. Still had a smashing time. (It's taken a year to bring myself to make that joke).

So there was a bit of pressure on 21. The terrible birthday streak had to finish at some point. Was 21 going to deliver? It clearly coped with pressure a lot better than I do because I can honestly say I had the BEST BIRTHDAY EVER. I don't know why I never seen how great birthdays could be. I mean I got to celebrate with cake, family, friends who are basically family, Reuben who is more than family, coffee, trampolines, lots of Italian food and God.

The day before my birthday was my designated Reuben day. I knew I would have a hectic weekend so I purposely worked more efficiently in the library during the week. I took the day off to enjoy some uninterrupted quality Reuben time. We stayed true to ourselves and went out for breakfast. We tried The General Merchants Cafe and my love for their avocado with eggs is almost as large as my love for Reubs. We walked back to the car afterwards and Reubs did a few laps of the neighbouring gardens until one family actually invited us in for tea. They say children are a good conversation starter but this was a whole new level. Unfortunately the rain postponed our trip to the park so we headed to Common Grounds where I usually spend a lot of time in between classes. A wonderful friend who knows my love for it put our names on the board for coffee, hot chocolate, and a caramel square. The only thing that tastes better than free coffee is the taste of going to pay and being able to say 'Oh, my name is on the board' with a thankful (smug) 'my-friends-are-better-than-yours' kind of face. We spent the whole afternoon there... lounging on the sofa and going through every kids book in their basket... multiple times. I'd take that over the park any day.




In the evening my parents treated us to dinner and the most fabulous cake I've ever seen... even if it did make me consider taking up a sport/knitting. Apparently Reuben and the Bible are my only hobbies. Can I also point out that I am dressed as Elsa? I never thought a birthday cake would make me take a long hard look at myself but it tasted unbelievable nonetheless.



For my actual birthday the next day my mama took Reubs out for the day and I spent the morning with the girls at a women's conference called Kingdom Women. We had a great morning worshipping God and studying Esther. I also thoroughly enjoyed the irony that I don't even remember my last birthday but I spent this one at a God conference. What a change.


We headed to Ballymena and had lunch in Middletown Coffee, which is the only good thing you'll find in Ballymena. That is, apart from my gal Megan who we picked up en route. I've never been more thankful than I was sitting in Middletown with the sun shining, surrounded by lots of my favourite people, and eating zucchini fritter, bacon, poached egg, kale, tzatziki and chutney. Amazing - I know. Try not to salivate over my life. To be fair this is the only part you'll salivate over as the rest of my life consists of Reuben salivating over me. I don't know whether it was the lack of Reuben, lack of assignment thoughts, or lack of movement in general... but I haven't felt so chilled in a long time. The gals named the day 'Reb's Retreat' and it couldn't have been more appropriate. However, when I say lack of movement, I mean we sat too long, raced around the shops, and had to get from Ballymena to Belfast in 20 minutes. Which we did. And I am not proud of that. But it was definitely an adrenaline highlight. 






















My best friend who picks seeds out of my teeth.
 A year ago she picked glass out of my feet.
If you've never been to We Are Vertigo in Belfast then definitely check it out. If you're a mum and you've never been then definitely don't check it out. Seriously. As fun as it is, trampolining is not for the mother who has given birth. As soon as I started jumping, I very quickly regretted not doing my pelvic floor exercises when I was told to. Nothing humbles you more than realising you are peeing yourself every time you jump. Even after going to the toilet to empty my bladder, I still un-willingly leaked when I jumped. Apart from that, everyone loved it and I hope to see some of my friends in Rio this Summer. It was also the first time I've done any kind of exercise in 6 months... which is always a plus.

My friends are sweaty but they're still beautiful on the inside
With 40 mins to get ready for dinner (which felt like 5 seconds to a house full of girls) we arrived a little late (but looking fab) for my second Italian dinner of the weekend... but simultaneously annoyed the males who were obviously on time. I can't remember the name of the pasta I had but I do know one thing - I'll see it in heaven. I'm pretty sure the ingredients were a mixture of love and magic. I may not have known I was pregnant for 6 months when I had Reubs, but if you'd looked at me after that dinner you would have assumed I was carrying a food baby. I went back to my house deliriously happy, to eat cake and open presents. I have to give it to my friends, they are very talented at choosing gifts and they know me extremely well. I feel unbelievably loved.



In the photos, I certainly don't look as fresh as I thought I would at 21, with those eye bags I like to call 'proud owner of a toddler'. But boy, do I feel blessed. The day couldn't even be ruined by the fact that sickness seemed to be spreading through my germy friends at a rapid rate. Unfortunately one friend vomited at the restaurant, one spent the whole night vomiting in my sink and one had suspected man flu which turned out to be a horrible chest infection. I was just overjoyed to not be the one throwing up on my birthday for a change. Whilst the thought of turning 21 didn't appeal to me, nor did the thought of officially being considered a 'mature student' by my friends, I was overwhelmed by how stunningly-special it was. How extravagantly-generous my friends are. And how enduringly-loving God is. Here's to lots more birthdays, with lots more coffee, lots more friendship, and a lot less trampolines.

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