they see you. for real

headed to the pool at the first apartment.

headed to the pool at the first apartment.

i like fragrance. it’s a thing. when i moved out of my marital home and into my first apartment by myself, one of the first things i purchased : glade plug ins. as a frequent big lots (i still call it odd lots) shopper, i’ve found they have the best prices for plug ins. and some good ass scents. they had one i’d never seen. a coveted, discontinued “amber & bergamot”. i was in love. i bought every one they had, and for nearly a year, it was the backdrop of my one bedroom paradise. it was time to replace… but i couldn’t find them anywhere.

3 years later, i’m shopping for essentials. i see some cute little wood wick candles. i smell a few… ehh. then the last one. ooooh, i like this. it’s familiar. happy. so i grab a mini candle to try out. i get home, i’m unpacking groceries and bee is helping. she comes across the candle. smells it… ooooh, mom, this smells like the old house.

which house are you talking about? (we’ve moved a few times since the marital home.)

the one when we had someone under us, and the pool.

yo!!!!!! bee, how do you remember that?!

i don’t know.

that’s the house. the one i moved to on upon separation. she remembered. i couldn’t believe it. she was 2 years old. she remembered so much. the steps. the pictures on the wall. the kitchen. our bedroom. the downstairs neighbor. the pool. the smell. so much so that 3 years later, a random candle brought it front and center.

her memories of that place, are pure. as i reflected on how much she misses that place, i recognized something. i was happy there. we had fun. we built a bond. a home. a safe space. i was her friend there. her swim coach. culinary teacher. dance partner. art muse. cuddle buddy. we built the foundation of our relationship over that year. under the scent of amber & bergamot. she watched me find myself. i launched le luxe from that living room. compiled & edited the first ever posts for this very blog in that place. she was my partner as i relearned myself. as she introduced me to what motherhood truly required. as we found our space.

i never thought that one bedroom apartment would hold such a sweet place in my heart. it was not a place i ran to in order to escape. it was a place i built to return to me. as my bee gushed about our many “picnics” on the floor and popsicles by the pool, i was grateful. grateful for the chance to show her how to choose herself, even when it’s terrifying. how to love herself, even when she makes mistakes. how to forgive herself, even when she feels undeserving.

after school today she said something profound…

“my favorite part of my day was when i lost a rainbow piece. because rainbow pieces and candy aren’t how you learn. when you do something bad, that’s how you learn. that’s how you learn that you shouldn’t do it that way.”

i’m grateful that my life wasn’t all rainbow pieces and candy. i damn sure have had some thorns, but the rose of a woman i’ve become as a result, is worth every one.