In my family “Grandmama” is an honored title. And acquiring that title is on par with becoming Princess Kate.
My “Grandmama” was my mother’s mother and she was an extraordinary woman. Her beauty was the stuff of songs – she had ivory white skin, dark auburn hair, and deep blue eyes. But it was her strength that made her amazing. She raised 5 children in less than ideal circumstances, and while her children were not untouched by their father’s abuse, she somehow minimized the damage…and they all grew to be self-sufficient adults.
She had her own beauty parlor -in the days before salons – and in the days before women were likley to own any kind of business. When her husband left her (which was probably for the best), she went on as a single mother. Diagnosed in her 40s with Parkinson’s disease, she kept the disease at bay with nightly walks. She was in her 60s before it took her down.
I recall that she made her own products for the beauty parlor. This may not be true, but I like the idea, so I am keeping it. What is true is that she smelled amazing. It is also true that, in the summer, she took me with her on her nightly walks. We watched the tiny bats we called “chimney sweeps” rise into the sky. We smelled the hot, wet summer air, and she told me who lived in each house. I loved the litany of neighbors, unchanging night after night, like a spoken lullabye. I loved the smell of my grandmama too. And though I caught whiffs of similar scents over the years, it was decades before I found that scent again.
My friend Heather reminds me of my grandmother in many ways. Though she is in a happy, healthy marriage, life has also thrown her some unwelcome curves. She carries on with grace and poise. She is beautiful and smart and charming. It’s unbelievably easy to sit on the floor with her – to be enveloped in her scent – and forget anyone else is around. This is so easy, in fact, that I found myself doing just that when she visited me at work.
Heather has been making her own soap for many years. After her daughter was born, she became an office-part timer and began selling her soap. Soon, she was working no time in an office and full time at her home-based business Lilypad Herbals. I am not surprised that her business is thriving.
She is a careful craftsperson. Her “tadpole” soap is what she uses to bathe her own baby. And after I purchased some to bathe K, I really shouldn’t have been surprised when I lay down to nurse him after his bath….and he smelled exactly like my grandmama. All that time and the scent I had been searching for was pure, lye-free, dye-free soap.
The enveloping scent Heather’s grandchilden will one day recall with love is tangerine-patchouli. It smells like a smart, beautiful woman. Who could ask for more? And if you want to check that (or the tadpole soap) out, head on over to Lilypad Herbals to see what Heather’s been up to.
Oh, and tell her Momsomniac says “hi.”