Wednesday, September 15, 2010

An unexpected sniff.

Do you ever catch a whiff of something and find yourself instantly transported to a different place and time?

I love that feeling.

The sense of smell is one of my absolute favorite senses - mostly for this very reason. I love how the scent of cedar wood brings me right back to beach house vacations in the Outer Banks.

And how barbecue smoke reminds me of singing songs by "The Monkeys" at the top of my lungs in my backyard on balmy Sunday evenings.

The scent of lilacs always gives me fluttery feelings in the bottom of my stomach, as it was the fragrance I wore on mine and Braden's trip to St. Augustine when we first were dating, and again on our wedding day.

But one of my absolute favorites is the rare whiff of a fresh peony, which transports me directly back to my wedding day and honeymoon; I carried peonies in my bouquet, and then Braden bought me a glorious bunch at a flower market in Ireland. Any time I encounter a peony, I sniff it for all it's worth! (Almost to the point of getting petals up my nose.)

Anyway, all of that to say, I had one of those fabulous, unexpected, transporting experiences tonight. I was out on my run/walk, chasing the last luscious beams of golden sunlight, when I came upon a gardenia bush. Oh gardenias! Instantly, I was in my parents' Florida backyard again, plucking armful after armful of blossoms to stuff into vases, string into chains, and grind into potpourri. I would float the perfect, milky blooms in my kiddie pool, tuck them behind my ear, and eventually, pin them into my hair for my senior prom. Oh gardenias - what a treat! It was like being home again.

So, continuing from yesterday, on to incredible blessing #2...

2. Friends who are family, and family who are friends.

Honestly, in this life, can you really ask for anything more? What an astonishingly rare thing to count every member of my precious family as one of my dearest, most treasured friends.

My dad is one of the smartest, funniest, most loving guys on the planet. He adores his family with every fiber of his being, and prioritizes them above all else. Since the day I was born, he has never made me feel anything but beautiful, smart, and completely loved. He was that dad who would put on a three piece suit and have a tea party with my four-year-old self on Little Tykes chairs in the kitchen. And he's still completely, totally, head-over-heels in love with my mom.

My mom is one of those truly indescribable women. If you looked in the dictionary under "Super Mom," you would find her smiling face staring right back at ya. She's the kind of woman who in an afternoon can chainsaw down a tree, mow the lawn, bake six dozen cookies, cook a fabulous dinner, catch up with friends, help with homework, and look hot doing it! She's that mom who celebrates every occasion with pomp and flair, who wakes you up on your birthday with candle-festooned muffins and song, and who would stay up all night patiently listening to her whiny teenage daughter prattle on and on and on about boys and friends and other silly high school drama. She's the most beautiful woman I've ever seen. Second only to my husband, she's my best friend in the world.

And my brothers! Oh what delightful gems of brothers I have!

Chris is, without question, the funniest person I know. He is fiercely loyal, an incredible friend, and a complete sugar-muffin under his 6'4 "tough guy" facade. He was taking apart motorized vehicles and welding them back together into something new and incredible in elementary school. And this guy is one day going to be the world's greatest husband to an insanely lucky woman. Oh how I miss our late-night drives down the island with the windows down and music blaring! (Oh wait, we just got to do that last week!)

Ian is, for lack of a better descriptor, my mini-me in almost every imaginable way. Since we're 15 years apart in age, I got to play the delicious role of "second mommy" when he was born, forever cementing our very special bond. He, like me, has red hair, green eyes, and a massive affinity for all things creative. He is already such a talented artist and writer, even at 9 years old. He's also scary-smart, never ceasing to blow me away with the things he says and comes up with. He's amazing.

This is a little slice of my life, and it tastes sweeter than homemade pumpkin pie :) I am a very blessed girl, I am indeed.

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