Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Smell is a powerful thing.

Have you ever picked up on a smell that brought you back to a completely different time and place?  Now, I'm serious here.  Yes, we all know how this can go.  I'm naughty so I can take this topic in all sorts of strange directions but for the sake of my morning coffee and whatever you may be munching on at this moment, I will not. 

This came racing through my mind when I stepped into my guest room last night and was flooded with the scent of baby clothes and toys.  You see, I'm collecting gently used clothing and items for a lady in need and my spare room is the holding area until early October. 

There was a time in my life, particularly in my early to mid thirties, where this scent would make my body ache.  You see, Eric and I could never have biological children of our own.  My husband has a non-cancerous brain tumor which prevents his ability to have children and even if he could, I knew that I would also have difficulty in conceiving.  Some couples are meant for other things.  We were meant to adopt.  Still, when I was younger, before we had William and Austynn placed in our home, I carried a seed of hope.  Many, many times I'd walk past the baby section in a department store or hold a friend's newborn and breathe them in thinking...maybe, possibly, what if?    

Growing up, my parents often needed to get away from the four of us for a week or two (this was before my baby brother was born), so they would arrange to drop us off at my Grandparent's house in San Juan Capistrano, California. My Grandfather was not retired yet so we were left with my poor, rattled Grandmother.  She loved us but often as not, we drove her crazy too.  Her great respite was the community pool where we spent most of our days driving the rest of her neighbors loony.  No one knew who we belonged to so she felt quite at ease with leaving us there for hours on end screaming and fighting with one another. 

It's been many, many years since my Grandparents have passed away but not too long ago, I walked into a kitchen where someone was using her same brand of kitchen soap.  Suddenly a flash of memories came rushing back to me.  The mornings when we sat around her yellow, formica kitchen table forced to eat oatmeal with brown sugar and raisins (to this day, I hate it), her beautiful bird whistle of Laura's Theme from the movie, Doctor Zhivago, the clock ticking in the living room, and her awful grey poodle, Gigi.

And finally, my Dad's cologne.  To this day, I don't know what brand he wore but it's unique and when I smell it, I feel him near me.  His presence is intense.  One afternoon I received a phone call I thought I'd never recover from and Dad and I were the only ones home.  My heart had been broken and I had openly and deeply wept.  He held me against him and wished my pain away.  When I sense his presence, he's doing that all over again.  Smell is a very powerful thing.

Wait, I think I smell some microwave popcorn.  Time to start a classic movie and chill out for the morning.  I'm exhausted from all of these memories.  How about some Dr. Zhivago?  Nah...Omar's weepy, dog eyes drive me crazy and not in a good way.  Might as well make some brownies.  Now, that's another really good smell!

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