An Autumn Saturday


If you've set foot on Elmwood Avenue in the last few weeks then you'll know that the walk to uni in the mornings is quite glorious. Well, by that I mean the weather is glorious. The walk itself is far from glorious. I don't know about the rest of y'all but I always leave the house wearing a coat, hat, scarf, gloves, and 2 tops (and looking fabulous might I add). But after stopping 10 times on route to firstly, rebuke Reuben for something and secondly, remove every single layer of clothing, I arrive to class looking like an overheating mess because I spent the whole journey sweatin' and regrettin'. Nonetheless, I love Autumn.

You can say I'm over-sentimental but when I started to notice the leaves falling in September I made a mental note to savour it. Mostly because when I look back at this time last year I don't even remember Autumn or anything that happened during that time. I just remember the first few months of uni being horribly-hectic and overwhelmingly-new, and when the seasons started to change I probably thought to myself, 'Oh great, there's something else that's changed. I'll just add it to the list of everything else that's new'.

Thankfully the 'overwhelmingly-new' part has subsided, even if the 'horribly-hectic' part has definitely stuck around. I always tell myself I'll make sure to blog about the big days so I can look back on them in years to come. But after having my 'I don't remember a darn thing about last year' revelation, I wish I'd blogged about the small, mundane days too... like leaves falling, and Reuben getting his hand stuck in the wheel of the pram because he was bending down to look at said-leaves. So that's what this random little update is - a short blogpost about our very mundane, but very memorable Autumn Saturday.

Half of the reason our day is worthy of a blogpost is because it's the first Saturday in a long time that I've put my foot down and declared an 'I'm not doing a smidge of work and I'm going to chill' day. I naively went to bed last night thinking there would be no early morning, no rush, no noise, no getting dressed, no moving in general... And I'd love to say our morning began well with Reubs waking up excited for football and me waking up exciting for scrambled eggs after football, but Reuben didn't get the memo. He never does. 

At 7 am I gave him my phone to watch Fireman Sam. I can't tell you how long he watched it for but I can tell you that I eventually gave in and got up after he peed on me, my bed, and my phone... on purpose. And I'd love to say I took a super-cute photo of him at football in his little kit after he followed instructions and played nicely with his friends... But no. He didn't get that memo either. He didn't join in on any of the activities and he kicked a little boy in the face. So instead of a photo of super-cute Reuben, above is a photo of my super-cute boots and some crunchy leaves. I guess I could say this is a photo of me putting my foot down, but that didn't really work out for me, did it?
Not-surprisingly he konked out as soon as we got into the car. I headed for city centre and spent approx. 20 minutes battling in my mind whether to spend the nap-time productively browsing the shops for some much needed winter clothes for Reubs, ooooorrrrrrr to spend the nap-time resting, drinking a bowl of coffee, reading, praying, journalling, listening to music, staring out the window, staring at the wall, and drinking more coffee... As you can guess, I will owe Reuben an apology when he's still wearing shorts in Winter, but I have no regrets. 

Excuse the very professional photo above which can only be truthfully captioned, 'He could have potentially suffocated but I didn't want to move the coat and risk wakening him'. In fact, I got so carried away with the alone time that I didn't realise an hour had passed when Reubs woke up, very groggy and very confused. But not confused enough to forget that I'd bribed him with a Saturday treat probably about 2 years ago. 

So I sat for another hour listening to Reuben, with his hot-chocolate-and-cream-moustache, give a running commentary of every person who walked passed the window. I may not remember much about this time last year but I precisely remember not sitting in coffee shops with Reuben for more than 10 minutes. I also precisely remember having a lot of people around if we did brave a coffee shop, because that was easier than dealing with him on my own. So he just watched the world go by and I just watched him. Sure, I was anticipating the inevitable 'let's leave right now because sitting is absolutely not my thing' announcement, but I thanked God for how much we've both grown and I lapped up every moment of that coffee date for all it was worth. 

My whole incentive for braving the city centre on halloween weekend was to visit the 'leaf-pod' at City Hall, organised by the Northern Ireland National Trust. As usual we arrived a little/very late to the party, but that just meant we got the pod aaaaalllll to ourselves. We waded through the leaves and threw them about to our heart's content... Or at least until Reuben decided he can give it but he can't take it, and shouted at me for throwing too many. I didn't know that a 'leaf pod' was a thing, but after today I'm seriously considering investing in one. Just imagine- Reuben and I could take it in turns to use it. He could be locked inside it anytime his excess toys are giving me palpitations, or when he feels the urge to cover himself in yogurt...which is pretty much all the time. And I could be locked inside it anytime I need some personal space but still need to be a responsible parent and watch my child...who just so happened to almost steal a CD and 3 umbrellas from the Faith Mission shop today. 

We left with the cutest little gift bag which Reuben was very disappointed to realise was not for him. But to be fair I sat and watched/refereed him chasing pigeons for the rest for the afternoon so a gift bag is the least I deserve. 

After going full on 'Home Alone 2 pigeon-lady' I managed to persuade Reuben to come home for dinner and a movie night. He tucked into a delicious feast of chicken and garlic bread because I couldn't be bothered fighting with him, whilst I tucked into a not-so-delicious but healthier bowl of dhal curry because, well, I don't own a metabolism. This week I've been choosing the 'sit at the table until we're finished eating' battle and it's no surprise that tonight was the first night he sat until all of his food was gone. I asked him if he enjoyed his day and he replied, 'I played with the airplane at creche'. Either this kid is a big fan of his weekday routine, or I'm not the only one with a bad memory. 

Like all toddlers, Reuben watches the same movie for hours on end. At the minute it's The Jungle Book and Peter Pan, not forgetting his old faithful - 101 Dalmatians. But he seems to associate Disney Pixar's Cars with our special movie nights, and I secretly love it. The soundtrack never gets old and I'll take anything that isn't a spotty dog. Although to be fair, I'll take anything that allows me to sit on the sofa and have cuddles. We stay at my parents house some Saturday nights if there's something on at church or if I'm in desperate need of getting work done, but this weekend I was craving the alone time with Reubs. And it was all kinds of wonderful.

Recently things have been... how can I put this without sounding like a big moan... they've been the opposite of easy and carefree. I think uni took a big step up and then Reuben hopped on the bandwagon and took a massive step up too. Then my body took a step down because exhaustion is a real thing. But I'm learning more than I thought possible, and more than I can fit into a blogpost. And most of all I'm learning more than ever to lean on God for the supernatural strength to get through each day - one day at a time. It's messy, but it's exciting. And 'conventional' wouldn't suit me anyway. 

I hope you've all had a memorable Autumn Saturday too!?