The sweet clean smell of my baby as he snuggles against me, and his delicious baby’s breath as he clumsily tries to aim his drooly open-mouthed kisses.
The busy boy smell of my preschooler’s sweaty hair when he first wakes up, when he’s still drunk enough from the warmth of sleep that he doesn’t squirm against my hug, not yet aware enough to see my embrace as a challenge.
The flowery ambrosial smell of my teenage daughter, a bouquet of hair products, lotions, makeup, and perfumes wafting gracefully around her and marking everyone and everything she touches, soft scents that envelop us as I braid her hair again and again.
The unique recipe of teenage boy smell, sour sweat underneath layers of Axe body products, the juxtaposed aroma of fresh shampoo against the odor of unwashed clothing, but all mingled comfortingly as my son returns my hug and I breathe him in and marvel at how he’s now so much bigger and stronger than me.
The unfamiliar smells of my adult daughter who has been away long enough to have purged all of the trademark family scents from our household, who has developed her own invigorating mixture of life experience, courage and curiosity.
The comforting smell of my husband’s strength, bravery, and love when he wraps his arms tight around me and I can inhale deep stabilizing breaths against his chest, absorbing some of his fortitude and replenishing myself of his patience and love to hopefully help keep me afloat during the days I’m floundering so far away from my family.