Sunday, 2 May 2010

2 years, 8 years

I missed my second blog anniversary a couple of days ago, what with the prevailing angst and chaos. Hmm. Thank you so much for reading. I am probably at one of my lowest points of the past two years right now, and entertainment is thin on the ground but stick around! Things must pick up soon, or if they don't, maybe we could have another entertaining detour into therapy. Were any of you around for the group therapy posts?

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.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bless you. xxxx You make me cry as much as you make me laugh. Wonderful.x

Anonymous said...

Thank you. Your writing is beautiful, and made me cry. I'm sorry you're sad - it seems like lots of people love you very much, and I know that's not always enough, or a comfort, but it is something...

foxinthesnow said...

You write so beautifully. Happy (almost) birthday to male child Waffle, and I hope happiness finds you again soon.

linda said...

This is both sad and beautiful -- one of my favourite combinations, melancholy soul that I am.
Hope it's a very happy waffle birthday tomorrow for your firstborn. And for you.

pellegrina4 said...

Simply gorgeous - a memory bright and poignant with the scent of fresh baby skin and sweet lilac. Happy huitième to enfant waffle and enjoy the cake as well as the icing. Cut some of that lilac for you. Hugs xxx

Iheartfashion said...

You are wonderful Emma.

Mrs Jones said...

You really do miss your mum, don't you? And I'm not surprised you're depressed, having to do all this without being able to ask her for help. Hugs.

soleils said...

I really really want to give you a tight hug right now. Both to make you feel better and to thank you for the wonderful gift you share with your readers.
I wish you strength and I wish you happiness or at least lots of moments of it.
And I wish your little man a wonderful day tomorrow. BTW, ton gâteau vert déchire!

Buster. xx said...

Big hugs, darling. And happy birthday elder Waffle Child. you sound like a wonderful mummy, please don't be too hard on yourself xx

Em said...

Look after yourself and your darling big boy. You're doing an amazing job x

Margaret said...

You will come out of all this; you will figure it out because that's what grown-ups do, and that's what you are. It will get easier, dear Waffle, this is just the hard part, this quiet lull after the initial chaos has died down and before everything is really normal again. Give yourself a break and eat a bunch of cake.

irretrievablybroken said...

Hang in there. I am fairly impressed that when you are feeling low you still manage to make not one but several cakes. God, even when I'm in fine fettle I can barely manage half a cake. You make all the angsty-blah-ness of separation and its attendant indignities seem almost glamorous...oh yes you do.

the polish chick said...

lovely, poignant, beautiful, as usual. take care, dear emma. it will get better, i promise.

Lynn T. said...

You've figured out the "being kind to each other" part -- you've nailed it.

pinklea said...

That's a poignant post, Jaywalker, so full of emotion, beautifully expressed. Happy birthday to your new eight-year-old (which is a wonderful age, by the way) and I send you many cyberhugs! xo

Anonymous said...

Yes, I remember the group therapy posts - I've been devoted reader for quite some time, and I don't know what I'd do without your blog to look forward to! Happy almost birthday to Lashes and happy belated Blogversary to you. It's very strange to think back to your chilren's births and reflect on the huge changes in them and in yourself since then. I think parenting changes us much more than we realise when it's happening.

Nicole said...

You don't know me, I'm just a lurker - but I'm delurking to say happy birthday to your son, and to say thank you for writing your blog for the last 2 years; you write spectacularly well, even when things are difficult for you.

Look after yourself - I'm keeping my fingers crossed that everything starts to get easier for you soon.

Nicole

Lisa-Marie said...

Happy bloggiversary Emma. You properly just made me cry with your lovely memories, But also with being sad for you.
You are clearly going through some tough stuff, but I for one am not going anywhere. Your writing is lovely and honest, and shows the person you are.
I must say, I don't think you should go around thinking you are 'not a very good parent'. You are being the best parent you can be, and that's good enough. I grew up with a parent with severe mental illness - she had her off days (she'd lock herself in her bedroom during panic attacks, and at one point she was admitted to a psychiatric ward), but she was a brilliant parent, and I'm sure your boys will say the same thing about you.

Lisa-Marie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
justmeagain said...

Happy Birthday to Lashes, and belated bloggiversery to you too. It has been a busy two years, full of change, and it seems to me that you are coping better than you think you are.
Hugs.
I miss my mum too.

auntiegwen said...

x

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday to Lashes and happy anniversary to you. Long may your brilliant writing continue.

I just read your earlier post. FGS Emma! I would have gladly lent you some dosh.

Fran

Alison Cross said...

Same as everyone else - love your writing. How you can make us laugh and blink back tears in the distance of a few words.

Parenting is just about bumbling along the same as everyone else, doing what you think is for the best.

Don't be so hard on yourself, Em.

Happy Birthday to Lashes!

Lots of love

Ali x

Roos said...

What a beautiful honest post. More bloggers should open up like this, I think you're an inspiration! Just continue to throw your thoughts online and know that it's very much appreciated.

Roos - Amsterdam

Pueblo girl said...

Hi, you don't know me either - another regular lurker delurking to thank you for your always fascinating blog, wish you well in general, and especially today. Also, curiously, to thank you for introducing me to whippets - when I wanted to get a dog last year but couldn't decide what kind would be best, your tales of Oscar intrigued me and I started reading up on them. Result? I have one now, and he's an absolute delight.

Anne said...

Oh goodness. Well, I expect my tear ducts needed a flush this morning is all. Ahem.

What is it about lilacs? They're blooming here too, an ocean and half a continent away, and that scent of bittersweet nostalgie permeates my dreams.

Much love, Emma, from all us internet strangers, for all the bits of ourselves you give us back in every post. You are truly awesome, lady.

Alienne said...

Happy Birthday to Lashes adn happy anniversary to you. I was remembering the new born days recently, when my elder hit 18. I have to say that you sound entirely sane and normal to me. Just remember that life is a bugger and sometimes you just have to get on with it. As you are.

katyboo1 said...

Have I mentioned recently what a wonderful writer you are? love xxxx

Bryony said...

as auntiegwen said, xx

Fat Controller said...

What can I say that hasn't already been said other than that the sheer volume of comments is testimony to how much you are valued and loved.

On a more prosaic note: Is it possible that you have a washbasin you don't use, or drainage from a bathroom floor, for example, where the water in the u-bend could have dried out, thus allowing ths smell from the drains back into the house? I don't know what the plumbing arrangements are in Belgium but over here it is quite common for there to be a drain in the middle of a tiled bathroom or laundry room floor and if it does not regularly get filled with water then the water trap in the u-bend ceases to function. I have encountered this a couple of times and a bucketful of water sorts the problem instantly, without the aid of mole-grips or even a capybara-wrench.

magpie said...

I love your blog. Really. It gives me something to look forward to when nothing else is reliable or good.
You always come through for us lurking readers. I don't know how you do it, but thank you.
Happy birthday to your boy, he's lucky to have a mummy that makes him cakes! Some of my fondest childhood memories are of the ridiculous birthday cakes my grandpa used to make for me - sugary memories are the ones that prevail.
Also, I think Fat Controller should win most helpful comment of the year thus far.

Johnners said...

Lovely, poignant and lovely again. Thank you, I wish you so much happiness, and clean drains. Happy Birthday to t'eldest too! x

London City Mum said...

Happy blogversary and happy birthday to eldest waffle child.

Sending you lots of positive thoughts and virtual hugs. Constantly amazed that amidst all the angst you can continue to write so poignantly.

LCM x

Betty M said...

This post is so bittersweet. I wish things were happier for you.

Happy blogaversary and best birthday wishes to the elder Waffle. My kids were all born in the same place as he was and this post brought it all back.

connie said...

Beautiful, beautiful post Emma. Thinking of you at this low time. One day at a time...

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Valued, loved, adored, cared about - All of this and more is what we feel for you, and what we wish your Tall Boy - Such beauty in your posts and in the tragi-comic elements of all of our lives, chere Emma. Bisous.

http://reluctantmemsahib.wordpress.com said...

beautiful and heartfelt and sad. I hope he had a lovely day, your boy.