Actually, I don't feel anything like I did back in the Lissom Grove days. I was running away from adult life back then, buying too many clothes, drinking too much coffee, floating around east London eating nothing but icing, admiring my jutting bones in the mirror of the lift to our pretty Spitalfields flat. This is the polar opposite. I am reigning in, having a cold hard look at my own inadequacies and grimly pouring litres of Debloc Fosse Septique down the drains, my drains, all mine to deal with. It's a whole world less glamorous than going slightly mental, but it's essential.
Today I have made two cakes. We have survived a rainy Bank Holiday weekend Sunday with no money, even made each other laugh a little from time to time. I have shouted less than yesterday, tried harder. My large, argumentative, soft-hearted son, to whom I am not a great parent at the moment, will be 8 tomorrow. I wheedled a proper kiss out him earlier and wondered at the 8 years that have passed since we walked carefully, apprehensively, down Goodge Street, up Tottenham Court Road to the hospital in the grey dawn, stopping to lean on pub tables with each contraction. Since he was born, "Male child Waffle, 13:02, 4.1kgs", a boy, of course. People had been stopping me in the street for weeks to tell me I was having a boy. No surprise there. I remember the few hours of total peace as he slept, hairy and crumpled, on his father's chest in the tiny hospital bed. We look so elated, gleeful on the photos, and I remember that feeling, me 27, him 32. I remember sitting on the front steps of that grimy Victorian block in Bloomsbury in my nightdress and phoning my mum, her jumping straight on the train with my sister, arriving on the ward at the same time as my father, the pair of them racing across the lino to see him. It doesn't feel like yesterday. It feels like a lifetime away, and I miss our boiling hot mansard flat with the sloping ceilings in Newman Street with the Lithuanian prostitutes on the first floor, I miss that optimism, I miss my mum.
Tomorrow I will take one of these ridiculous cakes round to what is now his father's house and we eat it and open presents and I will peep out in the back yard at the lilac that I am missing terribly right now, when the whole area is filled with the scent of it. And we will be kind to one another, because this, at least, we can get right.