Sunday, March 20, 2011


We walk, hand-in-hand, into the store.

Amelia, sniffing the air: "Mmm, it smells good in here!"

Me, smiling: "Well, that is the smell of new, clean shoes. This is a shoe store."

Amelia sniffs again: "I like this store. It smells good."

Me: "I'm glad, sweetie. Let's find you some flip-flops"

A few minutes later...
Amelia: "Mommy? I have a question. Will my feet smell better if I buy shoes here?"

The sense of smell is most closely connected to memory. The scent of fresh pine may bring you immediately to a pre-Christmas memory on the tree lot. Your grandmother's perfume can remind you of a time when you were enveloped in her hugs. And perhaps years from now, the smell of a shoe store will make my daughter think of a day she enjoyed a weekday morning shopping trip. A time when she still held my hand.

Her endearing commentary got me thinking. What sensory experiences remind me of childhood?

The scent of fabric softener. Open the linen closet in my childhood home, and you smell it. Clean, freshly-scented sheets and towels give me a sense of calm, a sense of comfort at home. A first night in newly-laundered sheets? To me, it's divine.

The strong odor of chlorine. We had a swimming pool for most of my childhood. My sister and I spent hours on end in the water each summer. For many years, we used those round white chlorine tablets in the filter system. I don't see those around much anymore, but I can distinctly remember that smell. If you handed me one today, I would be transported to our pool in Tennessee, my sister and I running around the circular edge to make a whirlpool. Swimming at night. Spreading the solar cover across the water, anxiously awaiting tomorrow's dip.

 And what about other senses? My husband sighs whenever he hears the distinct sound of an aluminum bat on a baseball. That ding (donk?) brings him back to Little League.

For me, it's the buzzing of cicadas in the summer. That ever-present sound was always there, waiting for us, during our annual family beach vacation. They remind me that the weather is hot and the sun is doing its job.

And touch? A worn, handmade blanket. I am a 32-year old mommy with a quilt I adore. Handmade at least a decade ago by my (now 99-year-old) grandma with cool and colorful materials, it is something I love to touch. It is the kind of blanket you can throw over your legs no matter the season; it is never too warm. I brought it with me to the hospital and used it the days following Amelia's birth. It came with me to another hospital, to provide that home touch as I recovered from a surgery. The materials are worn and thin, but I can't bear to give it up. It screams cozy even on my most stressful days.

Think about your senses. What sounds, smells, feels, sights, or tastes bring you back to happy memories? What sensory experiences are our sweet children going to hold dear one day?


Tonya said...Best Blogger Tips

Wow, it is so true that smells can take us right back to our childhood.

Vicks Menthol Rub always reminds me of my grandmother. If you had so much as a small sniffle, she rubbed it on your chest.

And, sugar cookies remind me of my grandmother's kitchen -- she always had sugar cookies in the cookie jar.

Sara said...Best Blogger Tips

Chicken noodle soup reminds me of my grandmother and holidays.

Newest GFC follower! Found you from Say Hi Sunday!

Our Village is a Little Different said...Best Blogger Tips

Thank you for this post. It's great! (and how nice that your little girl already loves the smell of new shoes!!) I smiled at these. I'm the mother of twins with huge sensory issues, so we're always thinking about smells, textures, noise.. I really related to the quilt. My mother is a quilter, I love the quilts she has made for me. You're so lucky to still have your grandmother!

I'm stopping by with the hops, and now I follow.

mmbear said...Best Blogger Tips

Hi! I am a new follower of your blog thru GFC on the Sunday Blog Hop! Your blog looks really good. I am new with about 3 months under my belt so I am still learning. I would love a follow back when you get a chance. Thanks!


Callista said...Best Blogger Tips

I don't think the smell of fabric softener reminds me of my childhood but the bear commercials sure do! Hmm smells? Lavender maybe? We had a lavender plant outside so every spring and early summer we'd smell it everytime we were outside.

I am now following from the Relax & Surf Blog hop. I'd love it if you'd stop by and visit me.

Linds said...Best Blogger Tips

Certain songs, like Sting and Billy Joel makes me think I smell lemon cleaner. It reminds me of blaring music and cleaning with my Dad as a kid, the memory so vivid, I honestly smell the cleaner. I always hated cleaning, I hated the fake lemon smell, but now I look back and remember it all fondly.

And now clean smells remind me of being pregnant with my son. I used to stand in the detergent aisle at Target and just breath. It was so fresh smelling. I loved it, and it instantly soothed me.

Great post! :)

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