I’ve kept the gift for over twenty-nine years and when I take off the top and inhale the scent, I’m right back in that significant time; the beginning years of marriage and living in our very own little home, expecting a baby.
My sister-in-law, Jan, gave me the Elizabeth Arden body lotion for my birthday, two months before our firstborn’s entrance into the world. It’s incredible how strong and detailed memories can be when unique smells are connected to them.
Whenever I come across others, like the original Dove soap bar; I’m back at my grandparent’s home in Fort Meyers, Florida, in their rose and shell accented bathroom, getting ready to leave for the beach. When patchouli fills my senses, I’m in our messy, college rental in DeKalb, Illinois, clothes and dishes everywhere, laughing with my roommates, one whose trademark perfume was that oil. If it’s Aqua Velva, I remember my dad, handsome and hair combed after his shower, sitting down at the dinner table after a long day’s work. Strawberry Bonne Bell Lip Smackers? I’m back in middle school line-dancing with my friends.
But the present of pink lotion from all those years ago is one I’ve physically held on to. I’ve kept it in the back of our bathroom cabinet and taken it with from house to house whenever we’ve changed residences. And even though I wouldn’t use the small bit that’s remaining any longer, every several years I come across the bottle, open it, and breathe deeply as I did today.
And just like that, I’m in my twenties once more, wearing a bandana to pull thick hair off my face, and preparing the nursery. I see a collection of onesies and a stuffed bunny. I see cute rabbit wallpaper that borders the ceiling and the wood crib in the corner. There’s the changing table, a white cushion on top and diapers stacked neatly on the bottom shelf, with the antique rocking chair alongside that was a staple in my childhood home and given to Craig and I for our soon-to-be arrival.
The memories of that special season come rushing back in an instant but now with a poignant twist because that very baby, the one we were anticipating with our young naivete, is going to be a daddy himself. He and Abby will make us grandparents this coming July, and we feel giddy, shocked, grateful, thrilled, astonished, and other sentiments impossible to name.
This is what it’s about, right?
The circle of life.
It makes my heart happy to know that the lessons and love we poured on our children, through laughter and learning (often by fluke and sometimes by tears), will be ample in the lives of our very own grandchildren.
When I look forward, God gives me great joy and peace, grown from walking with Him – a solid understanding and confidence that He, alone, authors every single one of our days.
And when I envision myself as “Nonny,” I call on thousands of precious memories from raising our three and the multitude of ways they move me: I recollect the scent of glass-jarred baby foods; colorful containers of Play-Doh and paints; pages of delightful, new picture books; freshly-laundered, cotton outfits and socks; the wondrous smell of a soft, warm, precious infant sleeping soundly in my arms . . . and I’m grateful for the unmistakeable, sweet aroma that hangs in the air from a life seeking God’s goodness, truth, loving kindness, and sovereign grace.
It’s a beautiful, blessed fragrance – one I’ll continue to lean on and draw in, now and into the future, and thank our heavenly Father for over and over again.
Ephesians 5 : 1 – 2 (NLT) Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
Psalm 103 : 17 – 18 (NIV) But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children – with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.