The scent of a mother

My mother had a delicious smell about her. Throughout my childhood, I climbed in her lap and nuzzled my face in her neck, drew back, smiled, and purred. “Mmmmmmm, you smell just like a mommy. Mommy.”

As I grew into the rebellious age of any number ending in teen, I seldom complimented my mother. Every once in a while, though, I’d feel the old pull of childhood.

I remember when I was in high school and the family would be gathered around our black and white television set watching Miss Loretta Young swirl into our living room. She was so lovely. Probably the most beautiful woman most folks saw. But Mother was prettier. Honest to God.

In those days my mother had long, glossy hair curled on the ends, ebony eyes, high cheekbones, and crimson lips. While three children strained the family budget and made it impossible for her to have the glamours wardrobe Miss Young had, Mother wore big gathered skirts, nipped at her tiny waist, and I saw her swirl them for my daddy.

My mother was as beautiful as any movie star and in fact, she could seem as aloof, though I didn’t know that word back then and could not have described that way. I adored her, but sometimes I felt like I lived in the shadow of an exotic beauty queen instead of with a regular everyday mother. Anyway, it was on nights such as thesewatching television, when I’d give in to the urge, snuggle next to her and murmur, “You smell just like a mommy.”

Mother thought it was her face powder that gave her that sweet mommy smell, but years after she stopped going to Foley’s Department Store in downtown Houston for her custom blend of makeup, she still had that distinctive scent. The warm, loving scent of a mommy. There are many days, like today, when I miss her so much. But all I have to do is close my eyes and breathe deeply. Her scent lingers in my heart.