They say that a scent has the ability to trigger a memory, to take you back to a time in the past, no matter how distant. A friend claims the mere scent of a pot of tomato sauce simmering on the stove reminds her of her Italian grandmother’s house. The logical part of my brain argues that this is silly, that these people are making these connections, but the scent couldn’t possibly be contributing.
I didn’t believe them until I smelled the jasmine.
I was at that point in pregnancy when the doctor wanted to see me every week. Same time, same day… just checking, weighing, measuring and waiting. I was already on maternity leave, spending my time lunching with friends and getting everything ready for my first baby.
The walkway from the parking lot to my doctor’s office was planted heavily with jasmine, and the soft, sweet scent became a favorite.
And that time in my life was magical. I had no idea what motherhood would bring, what challenges we would face or how incredible the joy would be. I didn’t even know if the baby I was carrying was a boy or a girl.
I just knew everything would be OK. I had this serene, calm feeling each time I walked past the jasmine, my hand resting on my stomach out of habit. Baby kicks, reminding me that he was there.
And that everything would be OK.
And now each May, when the calendar has barely folded over from April, I catch slight whiffs of it as I walk through shopping areas or past a neighbor’s house. I immediately think of my son — of the happy, freckle-faced boy who has morphed into a tall young man with a scruffy face and a morning coffee habit.
And I have realized that nineteen years later, I still have no idea what motherhood will bring in the future, much like when I wandered each week into the doctor’s office, past the jasmine. One of the cruelest facts about motherhood is that you are never truly done with the mothering, no matter how well you handled the terrible-twos or potty-training. Your services are always needed, and usually in a way you hadn’t anticipated.
Yesterday I caught it as I walked out of the store, rushing between errands and eager to get back home.
The scent of jasmine.
No baby kicks this time.
But I think everything will be OK.