April 19, 2012

The Scent


I have a couple bottles of perfume. They sit on my bathroom counter top within easy reach. I wore one of them nearly every day for work- a inexpensive one, but it came from England and I loved it. Another smells like roses and made me feel sophisticated and girly. They're now reserved for date nights and other special occasions. A thin layer of dust has settled over them.

Sometimes I think about Millie, and how she will remember my scent.

My mom had perfume, I'm sure, but I don't recall what kinds or the shapes of the bottles. Instead, she smelled like Oil of Olay, which she dabbed into her hands and put on religiously before her make-up. She smelled like her homemade rolls straight from the oven. She smelled like the tomatoes in her garden. She was perfumed with the life she lived, which was the life as a mother of five kids.

When I was younger, my dad always came home from work smelling like the diesel fire engines at the campus fire house. I can still walk into the station he works in now and being transported back in time, when I was wearing his old blue work tees as nightgowns that came down to my ankles. It's funny how many memories are tied up these sorts of things.

I've always wanted to find that signature scent that would be mine, one that I would wear into my eighties. But I've never found it. Even though I like those bottles on the counter, they're not me. They aren't what I want Millie or my grandchildren or great grandchildren to remember me by.

Maybe it's not for me to choose, though. Maybe, instead, it will be for Millie to tell me. And years from now, she'll sit down with me somewhere, put her head on my shoulder, and say, "Mama, I remember..." I know that whatever she remembers will be better than any pretty glass bottle I can find.

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10 kind comments from you:

The New Normal said...

I've often thought about this too, what scent is mine and what scents will bring back memories for my kids. It's amazing how a simple scent can put you in another time and place...I have one that reminds me of the inn we stayed in during R&R. I figured out the scent and bought lots of it. Now, whenever he is away I can catch a whiff of it and be comforted.

I have the same perfume - Summer Hill. It has been a favorite since high school and holds so many memories. But mine too have a layer of dust on them...

ginanorma said...

So are you in the market to find yourself thee scent do you think? What a sweet story, so much nostalgia in it,

my scent to my daughter is for sure rose, and then some fig...i am sort of known for rose...

cute you...xo

ines said...

I have this handkerchief/scarf that belongs to my mom. the only times i wear it is when I'm sick and i put it around my neck to keep me warm (something my dad always told me to do). i dont think i ever gave it back to my mom in +10 years, but it still smells of this Yves Saint Laurent perfume that she use to use when i was young. I remember smelling it at a store one day and i instantly thought of her.

my dad always smelled of this Spanish cologne. i remember when i was young and my parents where getting ready for their dinner parties I would watch them get ready and my dad would always dab a little of his cologne on my nose.

memories :)

Mel said...

My grandmother smelled like cigarettes and plain chapstick and while you're probably turning your nose up, it was a comforting smell. It's familiar and home-y.

I never feel like I have a scent either. I think that comes with time and memories and someday, like you said, Millie will tell you what smells make her think of you!

Chantal said...

I will go somewhere and randomly say "this smells like my Nanny's house" or "you smell like my dad!" My dad was a mechanic so he always smelled like car parts. I loved it.

Fran said...

I'm such a smell person - wow, that sounds creepy hah - and I have perfume I've worn for years, almost 6 years and my best friend always says that that's my smell mixed with something else, berries maybe? I do use strawberry shampoos a lot. She calls it Franny Smell.

Sue said...

I've never really thought about this, but I think once I have children I'll see a lot of the world differently than I do now.

beka said...

sigh.
this is beautiful.

"his old blue work tees as nightgowns that came down to my ankles"...awww. i love that!!

Taylor said...

This is a beautiful, thoughtful post. I don't have a signature scent either, though if I did it would probably be from Dove conditioner.

wanderlynn said...

The other commenters have said what I was going to say: this is beautiful! I've always wanted a signature scent of my own, but you're so right – our kids will tell us what it is some day.

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