I thought fish finger sandwhiches for breakfast would have us raring to go but unsurprisingly all it's left me with is nausea, bad breath, and nothing to cook for dinner later. Reuben has spent the morning swan diving from sofa to sofa and is unusually traumatised about going back to creche after two weeks off. I'm not quite sure if my heart can handle him say, 'Mummy I'll just come to uni with you instead' one more time. Obviously when I'm yet to get out of my minnie-mouse onesie, I'm yet to organise the 101 things I need to organise, and I'm yet to co-operate with the naked Reuben running round in a soiled nappy because we failed potty training...yet again, I can't help but reminisce about this time last week when we were exchanging Belfast for Ballycastle and escaping for a few days of chill-time.
I wish this was a blog post about all the exciting adventures we had, or a '101 things to do in Ballycastle' kind of thing. But Ballycastle really has nothing to do and even if it did, this would still be a blog post about us not leaving the house for 48 hours and eating our body weight in fish and chips (maybe that's where the fish finger craving came from?).
After I finished exams at the start of January, the first thing I did (after I apologised to Reuben for my revision-mode-stressy-horrible-attitude) was check out Air BnB for something cheap and cheerful around the North Coast. I ended up finding the cutest little apartment overlooking the sea with everything we needed/could have dreamed of.
We spent the first 48 hours in the house, pretending we lived there and only leaving for chips and walks on the beach. We had no wifi or signal so there was no distractions. And I refused to cook or clean so much to Reuben's delight, he had my undivided attention. He should probably always have my undivided attention but only parents with hypothetical children actually believe that's possible.
Our beautiful time together was spent playing endless games of snap - Paw Patrol version, watching Disney movies, blasting out the Lion King soundtrack whilst watching boats come in and out of the harbour (majestic, I know), drinking hot chocolate and coffee, building the tallest lego towers, and chatting from morning until night. By that I mean, Reuben chatted...a lot. And I listened...a lot.
When Reuben eventually went to bed I had the chance to read, spend time with God, watch a WHOLE film on my own for the first time in forever without falling asleep, and I even started crocheting some scarves. I know right, who am I?! On the last day we used the early check-out time as an excuse to go out for breakfast and one last walk on the beach.
We took the scenic route home, getting lost multiple times, exploring multiple forests, and then sitting in traffic for 3 hours in Belfast because the westlink was closed. I mean, it was so jammed I had time to put the handbrake on, get out of the car, and get snacks for Reuben from the boot. Unfortunately, he ended up napping for most of the wait and didn't go to bed until 2am that night - you win some, you lose some, eh? (I lose a lot). Apart from that, and apart from Reuben flooding the bathroom at the stunning apartment, as far as honeymoons go (it felt like a honeymoon, okay?), it was very wonderful.
Not to rain on my own parade but the honeymoon certainly ended as soon as we hit Belfast. The next day I woke up to find Reuben sitting on the kitchen bench watching the contents of my bin blow around the yard after it blew over during the night. Somewhere underneath was the washing that I forgot to bring in 5 days beforehand. So I spent the morning wading through dirty nappies and rotten food, picking out my underwear, towels, and pillowcases.
As I tried to get back to some form of normality, Reuben wasn't impressed that he no longer had my undivided attention. And despite my mum coming to visit that day, his temper tantrums sky-rocketed, climaxing with a showdown in Costa's toilets. I have a pretty nasty bite mark for a war wound and as for Reuben... well... let's just say I won that particular battle. The 2am bedtime for us both probably didn't help matters, but that evening I just couldn't do anything right in the eyes of that 3 year old monster.
So with a mixture of feeling overwhelmed about semester two, exhaustion from the night before/the last 3 years, stress about Reuben's behaviour, feeling weary from discipline battles, worries about other stuff going on with friends, nerves about a meeting I was supposed to be speaking at the next day, and anxiety about mum life in general - I ended up having a meltdown with my friend Sara. It was completely irrational, but completely inevitable. Thankfully she's not just a friend, she's a sister. So when I text her crying about having nothing to wear the next day, she arrived at my house with multiple clothes - but she knew it wasn't about the clothes.
Going away is all very well and good, but sometimes it makes coming back to reality that little bit harder. I didn't mean for this blogpost to take such a depressing turn - oops (just be thankful you aren't getting all this word-vomit in person like poor Sara). Thankfully it wasn't long before I got over the meltdown, and after some rants, crazy tears, time alone staring at a wall, and most importantly time with Jesus, I felt kind of ready for a new day.
And on that note, I now have class in less than a couple of hours and I really need to get a move on. Sure, I'm approx. one irrational-cry away from retiring and moving into an apartment at the North Coast. (That would be great wouldn't it? If anyone needed me they could just go to Reuben who'd definitely be working in a coffee shop in Belfast to fund my new life by the sea where I'd spend my time crocheting scarves, collecting rocks, and watching romantic comedies). But until then, instead of running to the North Coast I think I'll run to Jesus... and I'll get my butt to class.
Unfortunately I couldn't pretend he wasn't mine because... you know...
the matching cardigans.