long after today, i predict that the fragrance of lemongrass will bring me back to taking quinn to buy his first deodorant and my concurrent realization that i should really try to curtail my telling of such stories in public. and yet, i want to remember his assessment that, “i expected it not to be fun to buy deodorant, but it turned out that it was fun, because it’s like a scavenger hunt and you’re looking for your favorite one!”

in his case, that was refreshing lemongrass.

even as he’s educating me on exactly how i fall into the unpopular category (a subject on which he seems to have sprouted encyclopedic knowledge overnight upon turning 11), he is still clasping my hand as we walk down the corridor of his school after i mentored his class for science fair. he’s clear that he is not interested in being popular, nor are his friends, and even seems aware of how these social constructs are largely illusions not worth striving to attain. before climbing into his dad’s jeep, he slides me the index card on which his password is printed for logging into his middle school course registration. i may be embarrassingly unpopular, but i’m dependable, and he trusts me.

several years ago, grammy helped quinn make some soap for me as a christmas present. he added some fragrance to the heart-shaped little soaps, some lavender and some lemongrass. he chose what he felt i’d like best from grammy’s array of essential oil options. ever since then, he has loved lemongrass as a fragrance, maybe because of how it reminds him of the fresh squeezed lemonade he loves to buy at the farmer’s market, but probably because of that special time making soap with grammy.

my favorite scent also comes from my grandmother, my mom’s mom, nana. i am the image of her projected forward through time, i’ve been told all my life; also my expressions and mannerisms liken me to her, and even though she died when i was four, my connection to her has remained strong in my consciousness. i asked my mom recently about the (embarrassingly unpopular) subject of night sweats, and whether this odd temperature experience (traditionally, i am cold, not hot or sweaty) may be an early indication of menopause, she set my mind at ease about her comparatively graceful and smooth transition through the hormonal changes, nicely compressed into a two year period near age 50. my sense of relief quickly dissolved when she went on, “nana, on the other hand, had about a forty-year menopause!” so, you know, i can see that i have a lot to look forward to in the next decade or three.

rainbow polaroid photo credit: nana, 1980

the cherry almond scent of nana’s hand lotion will never fail to make me feel like her soft hands are enfolding mine, sharing the excess with me. i like the way that scent is a time capsule of nana memory, and my own deodorant includes that identical almond fragrance. i make my own, and here is all the tutorial i can stand to type: coconut oil, baking soda, corn starch, and essential oils. right now it only has to be ph-balanced for a polar bear (arctic fox?) since i’m working in a freezer and have ceased to sweat, but it worked pretty well before that, too.

and don’t even get me started on maine wood spice. swoon!

3 comments to embarrassing

  • Holly Fugate

    Been missing you and your posts, MB. I’ve almost called you a couple times. Maybe I’ll just do it soon. Did you see Jenny’s latest post? You’d be a better judge than I, but it seems her artistic eye has only improved with time. You two are my mommy blogger heroes. Hearts and love to you and good luck with your pre-teen and all that comes with that (yikes). Holly

  • i love this post. you share a bit of vulnerability here and it’s beautiful. i feel such a strong connection when i read posts like this. holly, that is definitely one of your talents… writing with an absolutely beautiful bit of vulnerability. have your ladies read brene brown’s “daring bravely”? so good.
    i am so glad that your boy realizes that popularity is not something worth striving for… he is mature beyond his years.
    also, the night sweats… my mom had a long menopause… but… hers was a lot milder than the ladies i know of where it happened quickly. so, at least there’s that.
    holly, thank you!!! i cannot wait to see you write again!

    • i totally agree that is something special about holly’s posts! hard to write from a vulnerable place sometimes, but in the end it does always seem to be easiest to connect with writing that does just that… i appreciate you sharing all of this… i will definitely look into the book, i’ve been meaning to read something from brene brown for a while now, and haven’t done it yet.

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