Sunday, May 17, 2015

The smell of home

I wrote this on a Sunday morning at a clean kitchen table while Hailey and Brooke screamed upstairs and Spencer drew pictures of flags next to me and wouldn't stop asking questions.

We are in the process of moving.  We have taken all the pictures down, packed the pillows and most of the blankets.  We are getting to the tail end of what we can actually pack before the move.  I walked in the door the other day and was struck by the missing smell in our house and it made me stop in my tracks.  The actual “smell” of our house.  You know the one.  Times when you walk into a house and you can smell candles or bread or potpourri or bleach or heaven forbid, pee. (I think we’ve all been there.) Or when I walk into my sister, Michelle’s house and it smells like a combination of candles and cupcakes and little boys. (In a good way!)  And my friend, Jonelle’s house that smells like essential oils and sage and I bought some soap the other day that smelled just like that house and made  me a little homesick for that Las Vegas chapperel.  And my friend Cora’s house that just smells clean.

  And you just take that smell to heart and associate that smell with those people.  Well, the smell of our house wasn’t our smell anymore. It smelled like someone else’s house. It smelled like a house that wasn’t lived in.  A house that is fifty years old.  A house without life.  It was a little sad for me.  Yes, we are excited to move and to fill our house with our smells, but it was strange to have a scentless house.  I can’t wait to fill our new house with my flower garden scentsy, chocolate chip cookies, banana bread and a clean wood floor on a good day.  And don’t forget the cozy vanilla candle my 14 year old nephew, Ethan, got me for Christmas. He chose it himself! I’m sure we’ll have the occasional poopy smell, if there is an accident or the dirty dish smell or the “What is that smell?” smell and it turns out to be rotten potatoes. 

But the smell of home sticks with me as much as a song full of memories or the touch of my family.  The smell can bring back so much.  The smell of my mother’s perfume when she was going on a date.  The smell of my Grandma’s house and her lipstick on a Sunday.  The smell of the muggy, mossy Mississippi filled with mosquitos but still a home to me.  The smell of skunks in Idaho and when we first smell a skunk on the ride out West and we know we are in Idaho.  The smell of Blake’s cologne, the same kind he wore in college, gets me every time.  Takes me back to the sweet beginning of our life together.

 I don’t know what smells my kids will remember from my house.  I don’t know if they will associate home with smell, but if they do, I would hope it would be a smell of fresh baked bread and chocolate brownies and candles.  And possibly the occasional sick house.  However, even with the undesirable smells of home, they make up a life lived.  They bring back and seal memories to our memory.  And when I am 85 years old one day and smell that fresh baby smell and I am taken back to my babies and their little onesies and their fresh baby blankets, I might shed a tear or two but I’ll know that I was blessed to smell those babies and love them.  And the smells of my life will collect into a muddled, beautiful, crazy, exhausting, perfect conglomeration. 

This is a sweet smell to me because it is from Hailey. She spent her $10 on it for Mother's Day because I saw it in this boutique the other day and didn't want to spend $5 on one candle.  It is lavender mint and it will always be special to me.

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