Thoughts on Mother’s Day

iris bouquetMy older son went to an iris farm outside of Portland yesterday. He had a sleepover at a friend’s house, and in the morning his buddy’s dad drove them to Salem and I’m assuming they went here. When I woke up this morning, this enchanting bouquet awaited me at breakfast and their delicate but delightful aroma warmed my heart almost as much as my boys’ hugs and excitement.

But this post is not a humblebrag about my charmed life as a mom. I wasn’t going to post at all actually. After I read Anne Lamott’s piece about Mother’s Day on Salon.com (thank you to IndiePerfumes for posting it on FB) I started to think more about all of the expectations around the day. Ones that aren’t met, either by us or for us. I thought about those who have lost their mothers literally or figuratively. Those who have lost children, or who have had difficulty in having children. As a midwife, I have to break the devastating news to women and couples quite frequently that the pregnancy they have been nurturing is no longer viable. I just had to tell a couple this last week. It’s a lot to bear on this day. This is a day that carries a lot of weight.

These irises look like they carry a lot of weight too. Their petals appear worn and seem like they’ve lived a thousand lives. The light pink ones look like stained vintage silk and the dark burgundy ones take on the appearance of old thick velvet. And for all of their beauty, there’s a sadness to them that’s apropos for Mother’s Day, which for me, holds a bit of both in its hand today.

iris2iris3iris4iris

Happy Mother's Day

TO WASH A CHILD
by Pablo Neruda

Only the most ancient love on earth
will wash and comb the statue of the children,
straighten the feet and knees.
The water rises, the soap slithers,
and the pure body comes up to breathe
the air of flowers and motherhood.

Oh, the sharp watchfulness,
the sweet deception,
the lukewarm struggle!

Now the hair is a tangled
pelt criscrossed by charcoal,
by sawdust and oil,
soot, wiring, crabs,
until love, in its patience,
sets up buckets and sponges,
combs and towels,
and, out of scrubbing and combing, amber,
primal scrupulousness, jasmines,
has emerged the child, newer still,
running from the mother’s arms
to clamber again on its cyclone,
go looking for mud, oil, urine and ink,
hurt itself, roll about on the stones.
Thurs, newly washed, the child springs into life,
for later, it will have time for nothing more
than keeping clean, but with the life lacking.

“The Child’s Bath,” Mary Cassatt. 1893 from Artic.edu

Posted by ~Trish

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Mothers and Kids, and the Scents That Bind Us

Jos Plumeria

When I was pregnant with both of my sons I had the all too common and very dreaded smell aversions. Perfumes unfortunately were one of them. My aversion to perfume was so strong throughout my pregnancies that I literally could not look at a bottle of perfume, much less wear it. Because I am a midwife, I am around pregnant women a lot and I am continually amazed by those pregnant women who can wear strong and plentiful perfume and I have to suppress my desire to ask, “How can you do that?” Now that those days are far behind me, I relish in my fragrances and everyday I appreciate my ability to enjoy the glorious natural essences of the perfumers featured here on Scent Hive, including Roxana Villa and Ayala Sender who are also posting pieces today on their blogs regarding scents and motherhood.

 

Being a mother, I am of the biased opinion that my little boys possess their own enchanting smells, which create within me a meditative feeling of maternal longing as they sit cozily on my lap. Inhaling the oils from their scalps, the saltiness of their hard earned sweat, and the earthy grime in the creases of their palms; all of these being the most splendid of natural essences I will ever experience. These daily olfactory encounters bind us to our children in ways I’m sure we will never truly comprehend. Taking in their scents while reading to them at night, trying not to hold on too tightly while listening to them read as they learn new words; I attempt to put into practice my recent eastern philosophy reading, live in this moment, breathe this aromatic breath.

 

I don’t think my sons will ever associate a specific perfume with me. I change fragrances too frequently to ever have a signature scent. Chances are neither one of my sons will write about me wearing In Fiore’s Dayala the way in which Beth wrote so poignantly about her mother wearing Shalimar over at Perfume Smellin’ Things. (My moments of self-importance are few and far between enough that I think I can get over that). Instead, I try to pass on the deep love and affinity I have for the flowers that bloom here in the Northwest, especially in the spring. It’s blissful to have my older son point out lilacs to me on a walk or have my younger one point out his favorite “white flower” and his favorite “pink one” on our meanderings home from preschool.

 

My hope is that the experiences of flowers and appreciation for their beauty and fragrance will last with them beyond these innocent elementary school years. Maybe the joy that little blossoms bring to them now will continue with them or at least resurface in unexpected ways and foster the growth of our bonds. But at the very least you can be sure they know their mommy’s favorite flower in the world is plumeria. This is not because I am some model of perfect motherhood and my sons envision plumerias whenever they see me. It’s simply because the couple of times we have all been to Hawaii together I am constantly huffing the blossoms exclaiming, “this is my favorite flower in the world!” And also because I reminded them a few minutes ago…just to be sure. I also asked them how they would find me if they couldn’t see me or hear me, and my older son said, “by your perfume.” I just left it at that.

 

Thanks to Helg of Perfume Shrine for asking me to be a part of the Mothers and Kids, and the Scents That Bind Us project. It was an honor to be asked and a joy to write this piece. Please visit:

Perfume Shrine for Helg’s piece

Smelly Blog for Ayala Sender’s piece

Illuminated Perfume Journal for Roxana Villa’s piece

Posted by ~Trish

Photograph by Trish’s husband 

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Carol's Daughter Body Butter. My Mother's Day Pick

groove_bb_mMother’s Day is rapidly approaching on Sunday and I wanted to post about a product that is affordable, easily accessible, and something that would make most moms feel special. My pick is Carol’s Daughter Body Butter ($18) and is available online and at most Sephora stores.

Carol’s Daughter Body Butter is filled with ingredients your skin craves to keep it soft and supple: shea butter, cocoa butter, jojoba oil and sweet almond oil. And what’s even more important, is what isn’t in the Body Butter. You won’t find petrochemicals, phthalates, parabens, or synthetic dyes. Carol’s Daughter does not claim to use 100% all-natural or organic ingredients, but again, we’re looking for a lower price point here and I am happy that no petrochemicals or phthalates are being used, at least in the Body Butter. You’ll want to be sure to read the labels of their other products if this is important to you. The consistency of Carol’s Daughter Body Butter is thick and balm-like, but warms readily and absorbs quickly. It’s super hydrating and feels luxurious as you massage it into your skin.

Finding a scent for the mom in your life can be challenging, but I say just go for it. With a body butter in general, she can use a little on her hands for a subtle scent, or go crazy and put it all over if she really falls head over heels with your choice. Carol’s Daughter gives you many to choose from. Love is laden with honey, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Ocean has rosemary, cyclamen and rose. Ecstasy is pineapple, white florals and musk. Almond Cookie is for the real sweet lover and has marzipan, tonka and vanilla orchid. Mango Melange is succulent fruit and coconut, and Jamaican Punch is Fuji apple, cinnamon and musk.

My favorite is Groove Body Butter. And groovy it is. There is nothing about the notes listed that say I should like this. Red currant and sugared dewberries (too sweet!), Tahitian vanilla and cocoa (that might be OK, but with that sweetness I was thinking too foody) and musk (dear gawd…..I cannot do musk). But somehow, it all works and I love it. The red currant tempers the whole deal and keeps its fruitiness just tart enough so the scales don’t get tipped too far into the cloying realm. And the vanilla and cocoa are not of the foody type, just the aromatic swoon-worthy variety. And the musk? What can I say….it’s one of those rare breeds that works for me. It’s not a clean musk, white musk or an “Egyptian” type musk. It’s a fruity musk I guess, a groovy musk.

All of these scents, Groove, Ocean, Mango Melange, etc. also come in other products like scrubs, oils and gels. So you could make your mama a lovely gift set and even mix and match the fragrances. So have at it and pick one up for yourself.

Carol’s Daughter is available at Sephora, their online store and their US stores.

Posted by ~Trish

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