Thursday, July 18, 2013


Shalimar is a Persian term that means abode of love.
This is the perfume my mother wore.  The scent makes me think of her.  Actually, sometimes I feel like I am smelling Shalimar when I think about my mother.  Scent memory is a funny thing.  A scent can take you around the world, or it can ground you right where you are.  It can make you three years old, or a new mother, or in love with your mate.  I cannot wear Shalimar.   I don't know how to explain it, but I don't want to smell like my mother.  I guess people don't probably often think about smelling like one or another person.  I don't know.

Shortly after my mom died, I got on an elevator that had been empty, and there was a strong, distinctive scent of Shalimar.  It was as if I would have seen my mother if I only looked.  But I knew she was gone.

Every now and then I will notice the scent on another woman.  I want to say "you smell like my mother", but that would probably be too weird.  And, it is personal. 

Smells.   I am such a scent oriented person, other people notice it.  I don't think I have a better sense of smell than other people, I am just aware that something smells one way or another.   Babies are the best.  New, young, pre- introduction to food babies.   If you look at new moms especially, you will see them rubbing their nose against the top of their baby's head.   My sister in law doesn't have a sense of smell, but even she did this.   I have seen videos of her nuzzling her young baby's head.  It must be something primal and programed into us.   Maybe so we can identify our baby?   Maybe because it is such an intoxicating scent that it contributes to the whole experience of falling in love with our babies.

I didn't get to hold my first baby until she was three days old.  By then she had been bathed and probably lost some of that scent.  I do recall nuzzling the downy soft hair on her head.  I remember the sweet breast-milky smell of her.   My second baby I got to hold very soon after he was born.  To this day I remember his smell.  So soft.  So male, though I am not sure how to explain it.  His scent really made me think of how much he reminded me of his dad, my husband. 

Even when they get older, and smell like dirt and crayons, each child is distinctive and I loved breathing them in- most of the time.   At least as long as they were still nursing, for sure.

When my daughter got older, I could "read" her cycles.  I don't know if I could now because we live far away from each other and don't see each other often.   But there was something.  Again, the scent was from the hair and the head. 

I still love the smell of my husband's hair.  When we were first a couple, he used to splash on English Leather.  It was a real turn on for me.  Now I don't like that smell.  I suspect that I liked it then because I had not grown into him and me and us as a couple.  So I associated the English Leather with the man.

One thing I am sure of is this;  boys above the age of 14 can smell pretty bad.  They don't necessarily want to bath or wash their hair, or even brush their teeth.  Yet they change their clothes every day, never wearing the same pair of jeans more than once before they need to be washed.   I am so glad my kids did their own laundry once they became teens!

When we first got Buddy, our puppy, we would lie in bed with him between us and Nick would say how much he liked Buddy's scent.  "Even his feet smell nice"..I agree.  So nice and innocent.

I am busy with new moms a lot, and this week I have had a couple of chances to chill with a very young baby asleep on my chest.   This is the most relaxing and Zen feeling possible in my book.  The warmth between the baby and myself.  The rhythmic breathing.  The way a baby, when he trusts, can totally melt into your body is delicious.   All I want to do when holding a relaxed and happy baby is smell and breath in the scent of that precious soft baby hair.

Just think of what I would have missed if I had not had all the babies I did.  And if I had not become a mother, I would not have been in a position where I get to be with new and not so new mothers and babies.  I would have been blind to the sensuality and blissful satisfaction of it all.


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