Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Smells Like Jack"

For as long as I can remember, there has been a scent I associate with my mother. It's a perfume, and it's only on rare occasions I capture of glimpse of it.  I remember going to Girl Guide camp (any other GG's out there?) and one of the camp counsellors smelled like my mother and when I would become homesick, I would sit near her and feel instantly better. It's been years since my mother ever wore that particular brand of fragrance, and she can no longer recall the name of it. But I remember, and I always will.

I like to smell good. I'm more of a fan of "clean" smells on myself rather than overly powerful florals or musks.  I have 2 favourite perfumes, which I plan to smell like forever.
Philosophy's Amazing Grace

LaCoste Pour Femme.

I like to smell a certain way because I want people to remember "my smell" and associate it with me. I like that both of these scents are subtle and people don't generally smell them unless they're up close and then they always comment on my "smell". 

I can still remember exactly how my high school boyfriend smelled (I picked out the cologne and regretted it as soon as we broke up and I realized my next boyfriend couldn't smell like that, too). I remember the smell of a guy who sat next to me in Grade 12 English class. He smelled of an XL Tim Horton's double-double coffee and cigarettes- somehow this was an intoxicating aroma. For the record, of all these people, Scott smells the best. 

Well, the second best. 

There is a strong smell I associated with Jack.  It's strange in a way, for him to have developed his own smell since he was barely even here. But I remember smelling it right away- and knowing he was all mine. Kinda like how they say cats know when humans have handled kittens, they can tell just by the smell (by the way, is that even true? Or did my parents just tell me that so I didn't pick up stray kittens?).

It's difficult to described the scent other than to say it smells like baby. The aroma is strongest in the nursery where all of his things are encapsulated in 4 walls. It's almost like a combination of unused diapers, scent-free laundry detergent (I don't care what the label says, there's always a smell), Burt's Bees and consumer packaging. It smells of Jack- it smells of what his fresh newborn, fluffy head smelt of. It smells delicious.

Sometimes, when my longing for him is especially strong, I allow myself to go into his room and "breathe" him in. I lift the blue onesie he wore the day before he became ill, and press the collar to my nose and inhale him. For a moment, if I close my eyes, I can taste the smell.  When my eyes open again, I search for the stains from the milk he drooled, stains which will always exist on this article of clothing.  I try not to cry onto the onesie as I don't want to wash away the smell, it will always be one of my favourite possessions. By the way, if there's ever a fire, you will find me packing up his shit in the nursery- it's ALL coming with me. 

Occasionally I'll get a smell of Jack in unexpected places. I smell him for only a second and then I can't find it again. We'll be in the car, windows down and I'll announce I can smell him. It's not just me,  Scott has confirmed it- "smells like Jack" 

I feel like this is a way for me to know we are right where we're supposed to be. Getting rewarded with a little sniff of him when we're on the right track.  It's one of the things I want to hold onto forever as I find it incredibly comforting to know just what he smelled like. Just as I'll always remember how my mother smelled to me as a child, I hope to always know what Jack smelled like.

I made him, and he smelled so good.
Do you have smells you associate with your child? What are they? Do they bring back vivid memories for you, too?


Angie said...

I LOVE that Jack's smell tells you that you're right where you're supposed to be. I smell Aiden sometimes and, like Jack's scent, it goes just as quickly as it comes. But every time it stops me in my tracks. xo

Renel said...

Laura Jane that was beautiful. I remember what my mother smelled like too. Halston perfume. She doesn't wear it anymore but I remember that being her smell. The smell of your child somehow sticks to your DNA. I am so glad you get whiffs of Jack to remind you of his beauty and his aliveness and your love for him.

Natasha said...

Such a lovely post LJ ♥

The nursery smells like Aiden and I love it! You're right- everything of his is contained in that space so the smell is so amazing. I LOVE going in there and smelling his smell. I love to pick up the little things he wore in the hospital and smell my baby boy. In that moment I can see his perfect little face and every strand of long curly black hair. Takes my breath away. And just like you if the house catches on fire I'm going there first to get his things.

Right where you're supposed to be is a pretty good spot ♥

Caroline said...

I smell Cale in the baby blanket he was wrapped in. I've washed it since as Finn was wrapped in it too, but I can still smell him.

Loved this sweet post <3

Kelly said...

I love this. <3

lissasue3 said...

I remember being in the hospital after delivering Charlotte and thinking she smelled like Lorelei (when Lorelei was a baby, of course). Now she's a stinky kid. :)

I hope your next McBabe will bring back the smells of Jack and give you some comfort. <3

Dana said...

Beautiful post. I love that you have a smell you associate with him. I associate the smell of delphiniums. I was going for my 4 month checkup and walked past a bunch of them and it was beautiful. Whenever I smell them now, I'm taken right back. Hospital smells do that for me too, but not in a good way.

I also plan what I will save in the event of a fire. The blanket he was wrapped in and the teddy bear that was next to him, at a bare minimum. I have put all of his pictures on a memory stick and gave it to my sister. Just in case there is a fire of the computer is stolen.

LookItsJessica said...

Lovely post. I associate Johnson's Body Care Melt Away Stress Lavender & Chamomile Body Lotion to Liam. I feel like his hat and his blanket smelled like the lotion. I realized later that my mom wore the lotion on her hands and when she touched the hat/blanket, the scent rubbed onto them. Either way it reminds me of him and the hospital and the few days after we held him. I use it rarely and only when I want to smell him.

Rhiannon said...

Beautiful post. I love that you can smell Jack, you describe it so well. I have the dress that Harper wore and the blanket that I will never wash as it is the closest thing I have to smelling like her. <3

Addi's mom said...

I tried to breathe Addi in as much as possible during our time in the hospital. On the last day we were holding her with a hospital pillow under her. When the nurse took her for the last time I just held tight to that pillow case. It had a big stamp on it that said taking it would be stealing, but the doctor said we could take it. I would smell it all the time at home until it stopped smelling like her. Now it just smells like everything else in my house, but I will never forget her smell. I'm so glad that you still catch whiffs of sweet Jack.

B. Wilson said...

This post made me want to be deliberate about MY smell when I have little ones around. I want them to think of me fondly and my scent.

I bet Jack smelled like a perfect little peach. I have to say... ever since I saw that video of you pulling him up to your face, I can't get the image out of my head. I think about it, him, all the time.

Becky said...

I love that you can still smell Jack on occassion:)I bet its the best most comforting smell in the world to you.
I don't really have anything that I think smells like Liam but I do love the smell of his nursery. I always keep the doors and windows closed to it so it will continue to just smell new(don't know how else to describe it). No one other room smells that way though. said...

So true... smells are such a strong reminder. The minute I walk into the area of the hospital where Gabrielle was born... those days come back to me - but now in a good way. Love to you always xoxo

Darcey said...

Beautiful post!!! How nice for you and your husband to still have that :)

lissasue3 said...

If you're up for it, I awarded you a Blog on Fire award -- see my blog. No worries if you're not into it. I kind of wasn't either.

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