A couple of years ago, my sisters-in-law and I were sitting around the table at my mother-in-law’s house. There was a stack of “conversation cards” in the middle of the table and we were talking, asking questions, and enjoying the fact that our children were all in bed. One of the questions I remember from the cards was, “What is your favorite smell?”
We might have started out with food smells — freshly baked bread, chocolate, apple pie — that sort of thing. But then we got real.
“Micah. Micah is my favorite smell,” I said.
“Oh, babies. I love the smell of newborns,” one of my sil’s said.
And then we went to town naming our favorite scents of cologne, perfume, and even deodorant — basically the smells of our favorite people. Because people do smell good, often. Especially the right kind of people, even when they’re not the cologne wearing type.
Like Micah. I can honestly say that I love the smell of Micah, freshly showered or freshly home from a run. And my boys both have pleasant, natural smells as well.
Anyway, smells are on my mind these days because it is frequently the case that when our bathroom door is opened, the scent of “hard work” wafts from our running clothes, which have been hung up on the shower curtain rod to dry, and down the hallway. I try not to think of it as a bad smell. It’s the smell of summer. The smell of a good, solid run. The smell of commitment. Possibly the smell of stupidity, a little bit, like when I choose to run with the boys on a 90+ degree day. But mostly I try to cast it in a positive light. I think about how, 20 years from now, I’ll catch the scent of well-used running clothes and think of the good old days in Brooklyn, when we didn’t own a washing machine and had to reuse our running clothes for several days before surrendering them to the laundry pile. Or remember the thrill I used to get from racing. Or how back then, I used to have to push the boys in the stroller and now I can hardly keep up with them. Sigh. Yes, I’m attempting to manufacture nostalgia decades before it actually sets in.
To be honest, it hasn’t exactly worked. Not yet. So the bathroom door stays closed unless nature calls (a good idea anyway with Squish around trying to put the “toy” in “toilet”). But even if I haven’t been able to tweak my perceptions of smelly running clothes, at least the smell hasn’t turned me off to running entirely. Not yet, anyway.