Isn’t there something so magical almost about the way a smell can transform you back in time?
For example, if I smell lavender I immediately think of my mom. I also think of a Christmas when my Aunt Taunya bought my mom a bunch of lavender-scented bath stuff for Christmas. Mom loved that stuff. I go back to being a kid and hugging my mom. I go back to being downstairs at my grandparents’ house on Christmas, all with the scent of lavender.
There’s a Scentsy bar that I used when we were very first married. I used it as a fall scent. I rotate my scents regularly and left the last few pieces of the bar (Redwood Cedar) unused. When I went to see what I had the next fall, I opened that bar and my eyes immediately filled with tears. I don’t know why exactly, but it took me back to that feeling of sharing a home and a life with someone for the first time. It was powerful. I still have those few remaining pieces and I open the package and enjoy those memories every so often.
There’s also that really neat thing where every home has its own unique scent. Though at times that thought makes me nervous (what is our smell?) I still think it’s so neat. When you leave something at someone else’s house and you can smell the house on your item? I remember being about 6 years old the first time I noticed that my clothes smelled like my best friend’s house after playing all day at her house. I specifically remember citing that and it somehow stuck. I love that.
But that’s the downside to scents. Those smells that are unique to a home. Those same smells that can transform you back in time. They fade. And when those people are no longer around, when the smell is gone, it’s gone. And that’s hard.
When my grandpa passed away, I had such a hard time walking away from the house that I spent my childhood in. It was horribly painful (talk about hard on the heart). I took pictures and little things. Things that most people probably wouldn’t think to take. I took some of the dish towels, glasses, and bowls that I’d remembered using when I was a little girl.
Every so often, I enjoy a bowl of Cheerios in one of those bowls, just like I did while I sat beside my Gram and watched The Today show as a little girl. Every so often, I’ll be grabbing a dish towel and I’ll take a second to grab one of theirs and just rub my hand over it (it’s a certain kind of soft, that I can’t explain).
The other day, while I was organizing and trying to make some room for some of Grandpa and Grandma’s stuff and I opened a box and tried to get a smell, and the smell was so faint, I could barely make it out as “Grandma and Grandpa’s.” I won’t lie, I cried.
Sometimes I think I’d rather give all of the stuff away (even though they hold so many memories) for a never-ending bottle of that scent instead. I honestly think I would trade it. In a heartbeat. Because the smell of their home has all of those memories, plus a million more. And even more than that. As powerful as looking at a bowl I used when I was little is, smelling that scent brings back feelings that I can’t get from an item as hard as I try.
I cried and I thought, “Wow, it’s going to be a long time before I get to smell that smell again.’ And then I had an even more disturbing thought, “I hope there are smells in heaven. I hope I can smell my grandpa and grandma’s house there.”
I am so grateful for the childhood that I had. I am so grateful for those grandparents that I love so fiercely that I miss them every single day. I have been given so much. My life has been richly blessed because of that little house and all of the memories it holds.
It leaves me inspired to make my own home worthy of powerful memories as well. I want to live up to that standard. That a simple smell from an old pillow would bring back millions of memories jam-packed with love. I just hope I get to take that scent with me when I go someday as well.