When I was growing up, my mom used to ask me this: “How would you know me if there were ten other moms that were identical to me?”
“I would just know,” I would say.
“But how could you tell if we all looked the same?”
“Umm, your freckles,” I would offer.
“No, they would all have my freckles, too.”
“The way you looked at me,” I would suggest, feeling incredibly deep in all my 10-year-old wisdom.
“What if they all looked at you the same way?”
“I know – your smell.”
Isn’t it true? The power of smell is undeniable. A familiar waft can bring you back in time and evoke powerful emotions. Scents can make your mouth water or your heart surge. They can help fill a hole when you miss someone or unknowingly bring you peace and comfort.
How I Know Your Favorite Scent in the World
So how do I know your favorite scent in the whole world? It’s your mother’s scent.
The unique connection
I watched this sweet little video of six mothers with their kids who were blindfolded. The children were sent to explore the women blindly, and each child found his or her own mom every time. You can even see a few of the kids smell the mothers to confirm or deny their choices. For some reason, this video makes me verklempt- have I become too emotional since becoming a momma?
The power of scents
Anyway, it made me think about the power of scents in my own life. People who are close to me comment on my smell. Not in an ‘I need the hygiene talk’ kind of way, but in the way that I always smell good.
When my daughter was born, she learned my smell on a completely deeper level. I forwent scented lotions and perfumes when she was little because I didn’t want to expose her soft, pure skin to any irritants. Yet somehow my Ginny knew my scent. It brought her comfort when she was sad, confused, or overwhelmed. It made her calm when she was overtired and couldn’t sleep. In fact, putting a shirt or sheet a mom has worn in a baby’s crib can help them sleep – that’s how powerful scents are.
I experience the passing of scents between my mom, daughter, and myself every week. My mom watches Ginny three days a week for a few hours while I’m teaching. When my mom holds Ginny, she smiles and says she smells like me. When I pick Ginny up after work, I bury my nose in her hair as I kiss her little neck and squishy cheeks and have double smiles – I smell my Ginny girl and my mom, the best scents in the world.
My mom’s smell
So how would I know my mom’s smell? Here are some of the scents that combined, are the best scent in the world because it’s what makes my mom my mom. Thanks to my siblings for contributing to my list:
What mom smells like:
- Chanel No. 5
- Shaper hair spray
What smells remind us of mom:
- There is an evasive smell, some flower or plant, that my mom has always loved and pointed out to us kids. We smell it mostly up at our lake house. You can’t find it if you’re looking for it, but when the wind blows, you can smell it at certain times, and we always say, “Mmm, it’s mom’s smell.”
- Black liquorice
- Laundry detergent
Mommas and babies share an irreplaceable connection. Babies learn their moms without being taught; they just know. I hope Ginny grows to feel happiness when she smells white tea and ginger. I hope her heart unknowingly swells with love when she smells Acqua di Gio, vanilla, or ginger cookies. I hope she feels the same comfort and joy she does now when she grows into a beautiful young woman. I hope she feels the same way about me as I do for my mom.