Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Greedy Ritual

When she wakes in the morning, Lauren's perfectly soft hair is feathery and light, golden and wispy, slowly falling over her right eye before she can swipe it back again. It is the first thing I touch when I reach for her. I smooth it around her crown, curling the ends into a smile around my fingertips. I can just imagine the way it will smell if I let that curl wrap up under my nose, but even so, the curl is not my nose's first destination.

With her warm arms reaching around my shoulders, I pause --

secretly --

but quickly, for she is impatient --

and inhale the scent of my waking child.

I start with the air immediately surrounding her temple, breathing her cottony soft fragrance as if it will be unattainable after this one time. And for all I know, it will be. Unattainable. Because she grows and changes daily -- hourly -- therefore her molecular makeup is also undergoing changes. Surely this is played out in scent? Surely I will never again experience this exact combination of air around my child? So I wallow in it.

From there, I move in to place my lips on the spot where her forehead turns into scalp. But not for a kiss; that is about giving when what I am about in this moment is taking. While my lips are planted on her skin, my nose is buried in the most perfect place: the place that seems to be the epicenter of her delicious scent: her part. Her hair is so sweetly parted, probably messily after a snug night's sleep, and that is where I'm aiming for. I breathe so deeply there, so greedily, filling myself up with fuel for another day. I nuzzle and seek and shift until my lungs can expand no further and I am forced to retreat and exhale.

By this time, she is desperate to be lifted from her crib and my olfactory senses are beginning to be satisfied. I can then offer myself to her. I cradle her into my arms as she points down the hallway, chattering through baby's breath about Mia and daddy. We make our way into a dark house, opening blinds so watery sunlight can stream through frosty windows.

When she spies some necessary object on the floor, or needs to race to another room in search of more family members to greet, I let her down. Out of my arms and into the day. But not before one final, compulsory whiff of Lauren.

That curl.

I bury my face in the nape of her neck as she slides away from me, letting that tiny, perfect curl roll past my nose.

Letting that tiny, perfect girl roll through my heart, via scent.


  1. Absolutely lovely. Makes me want to go grab my little girl... which I'm going to do right now...

  2. Have I ever told you? You're one of my favorite writers :)

  3. I should know better than to check your blog after my girls go to sleep. Ugh. You're killing me with this! Which is to say, it's beautiful.

  4. Beautiful post. And so true. My baby smells different when she comes home from the sitter. If I could, I'd give her a bath the minute she comes home, so she'd smell like mine again.

  5. Oh! my ovaries!

    You really are a fabulous writer.

  6. As usual you captured the feelings perfectly with your words!

    It's all I can do not to wake Abigail up the minute I get up in the mornings - I so desperately want to grab up and squeeze her! Greedy ritual indeed!

  7. Wonderful! Made me grab my little girl to sniff favourite spots are the top of her head, because it still smells like baby head, and her jaw right below her ear. It always smells like milk and baby drool, and that indefinable baby scent.


Hmm...And how did that make you FEEL?