Scent of a Woman

 

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They say scent is the most powerful memory trigger. Today I was faced with this very trigger, seemingly randomly. While taking a stroll with my dog, I walked by this old building turned antique auction house. Somebody from inside called to me and said ‘Hey, I have something for you’. I said ‘Oh?’ and followed him (maybe against my better judgement, but I live in a small town). The man had some dog treats for my dog, which basically meant he was my dogs best friend now.

Still, as I entered this old building, I was hit by this peculiar scent. I immediately thought of my Mamagan (my maternal grandmother). How to describe this scent? Thinking of it logically, it was the smell of cigarettes and dated furniture. Maybe an old wood drenched in the scent of cigarettes, really. But actually, when I smelled this scent, I didn’t think of it as wood/cigarette smell. I thought of My Mamagan and her house. My Mamagan’s house was this little cottage-like home wrapped in wooden shingles and, from what I remember, a lot of wooden furniture and accents. Plus, as the other scent would suggest, she smoked. A lot. Of course this antique auction building is filled with all such furniture. Old furniture and a man who likes to smoke and give treats to the neighbourhood dogs.

I left this encounter thinking of the correlation between scent and memory. I was taken back to that home my Mamagan lived in that seemed to be a castle to me as a child. I’m sure, though, that it was not much bigger than a few rooms. I always found that place to be so magical, with it’s nooks and crannies. The kicker to all of this is that, not only is that house long gone (burned down in a fire years after we moved away), but my Mamagan has also been gone for over 18 years.

That such a specific scent (despite sounding so unpleasant) can bring back these vivid memories of a period of time. Stuck in time with this scent that cannot be bottled or easily recreated, but every once in a while appears out of nowhere, just as quickly fading away as if it never was.

Daily Joys

Daily joys.

Positivity.

The first sunshine after a long, cold winter.

That first sip of coffee after a long sleep.

The excited squeals of my daughter when I re-appear after being gone, even for a minute.

Warm sweaters from the dryer.

Slipper socks.

Long, meandering days filled with treats, walks and strolls.

Nature watching.

The long, meticulous hunt and release of garden toads, worms, and crickets.

Beautifully coloured fall leaves.

Fresh cookies from the oven.

Cuddling up at the end of a quiet day to read a book and eventually fall asleep with no cares at all.

 

One year later

My baby just turned 1 year old.
However, this post is not really about her. She’s amazing, and I am so proud of her every day.  With her birthday floating by, I find myself looking inwards to what I have overcome with this pregnancy, birth, and the first year.
It’s probably evident by now that I am not one of those mom’s who spent her life wishing to have a baby, and then rushing to have another. I have no desire to re-live the pain, exhaustion, and borderline depression that came with pregnancy and caring for a baby. It didn’t really make me happy. While I didn’t have a preconceived notion of what child rearing would be, it wasn’t that. Maybe I shouldn’t say child rearing, but child carrying. It was, quite literally, the pregnancy and carrying the child that made me miserable with back pain. Pain that started at 12 weeks pregnant, and that continued until now. A whole year and a half later. I feel weak. Weakened by this experience that is motherhood. Something I thought I could pull-off effortlessly. It simply wasn’t the case. So here I am, on my child’s first birthday, checking in with myself. I know that I love my baby to death and wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world, but I also have no desire to do it again. I don’t romanticize the experience, seeing it through Rose coloured glasses. Nope, not this girl. I feel humbled by it. Weakened. Vulnerable. It’s not the empowering 1 year birthday story one might expect to read. I’m just being honest. I survived this year. I survived a traumatic birth and, lack of sleep, and excruciating back pain when my baby didn’t want to be put down. I’m sore. I’m tender. Perhaps one day I’ll look back on this time and forget all the pain I’ve felt, but this 1 year birthday is not it.

Things I Didn’t Do Before Having A Baby

Parenthood has been interesting. As this human grew inside of me and then proceeded to grow outside of me, I began to take on new characteristics myself. Some of them mundane, some hilarious, and some down right disgusting!
Here are a few things I’ve noticed (perhaps you can relate?!):

– Leaving the house with baby is a production. It’s no longer throwing on some shoes and running out the door. It’s also Murphy’s law that an impromptu diaper change will need to happen once everyone is dressed and ready to head out.

– Every time I leave the house without baby (read: rarely), I’ve developed a rocking motion while standing still. Oh, also, I sing and talk to myself now. Every. Time.

– I pee with the door open. I never did this before, but it became necessary with baby crawling around. The other day, however, she was at daycare and I realized I left the door open anyway. My dog just stared at me. I swear he was judging me.

– When I go to the mall (read: rarely), I find myself shopping for baby things more than myself. I think I’m just procrastinating, because, let’s be honest, my child doesn’t need any more clothes!

– I dance, jiggle, crawl on my hands and knees, and make more faces than ever before.

– I’ll just put this out there: diaper sniff test…

– I’m always distracted and often repeat myself

– When I go into cupboards or fridge doors, I shut them really quickly so little wandering hands don’t start unpacking everything. Even when she’s not around.

– That being said, everything needs to be on a higher shelf. Think it’s high enough? She’ll grow and stretch and inevitably reach it.

– I’m always distracted and often repeat myself…Oh, wait…