Thursday, September 08, 2011

Oil of Olay

When I was a little girl, my mother smelled of Oil of Olay night cream. The bed she shared with my father was hijacked by me, her only child, at bedtime while my dad was away at church meetings or tucked away in his dark room in the basement. The two of us, cocooned in the green and blue modern print 1978ish bedspread, would lie like spoons while she read aloud to me. Each in our own Barbizon nightgowns. Each flush from our evening baths. Each exhausted from our days at school as teacher and student. Oil of Olay was the elixir of my childhood. Aromatic comfort food. Scent of safe harbor. Truest, fondest, purest smell of my life on Christopher Lane in Fort Wayne.

Tonight after my own bedtime ritual at the ripe old age of almost-40 I slathered Oil of Olay on my own face. And then, when Grayson called out, startled, I went to him in the dark and kissed his warm cheek. He said, "Mommy, My Mommy, you smell so good. You smell just like my mommy." And I lay my head down next to his and we wrapped ourselves in his soft blue blanket at peace together.

And the daughter has become the mother. And I pray that he is comforted as I was. And I see myself in that long line of strong women who nurtured and tended and read bedtime stories.

And who knew the power of a good moisturizer.

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