I had an adventurous childhood and there are many fond moments but one that will always stay with me was making perfume with my grandmother.I remember spending half a day collecting just the right flower petals, sorting them to size and colour and quickly banishing any with flaws into the bin.Only the best, perfect petals were ever good enough for our perfume.Next we would grab empty peanut butter jars and full them a quarter of the way with the petals before pouring the ‘alcohol ‘ into them.These would stand on a sunny windowsill for days as we waited for them to infuse with the delicate flower scent.Now, I’m almost sure that as we mixed our flower petals with the clear strong stench of vodka,we didn’t really make the equivalent of eu de perfume at all.But in my 9 year old mind I was an expert perfume maker and may as well have relocated to a fancy shop in Paris and dressed as royalty as I spritzed the foul smelling concoction onto my wrists and neck.Thinking back, I’m sure I smelt more like a 50 year old cat lady who hid her vodka in a tea cup.So, why would this be something I remember?
Mostly I remember how my grandmother would tell me about the flowers as I sat on the end of her bed, bad country music blaring in the background as she sipped on her tea, twice stirred and bag still in the delicate porcelain cup.I remember how she came outside, as the other adults carried on about their business, and how we walked the garden slowly and patiently indulging my imagination as we pretended to be walking through rose gardens or lavender fields.I remember how she sat beside me guiding me in my need to find the perfect petals.How she showed me how to wash out the sweet sticky black cat peanut butter jars and to sterilize them by boiling them in huge pots of water.How we would scrub the labels off as we sang old church hymes and I listened to the amazing adventures of her youth.I remember how we measured the putrid smelling vodka to exactly enough and how she always made me pour it through a funnel as we pretended that the cold bedroom was an elegant perfume factory and we were designing new exotic scents for royalty.After carefully putting our jars on the windowsill I remember how we would sit together crafting new toys and dream up the names of our fancy new perfumes.
I mostly remember the time she had for me. She was never to busy to include me, make me feel special or indulge my increadibly large imagination.She always had time to hear my stories, dream my dreams and encourage my creations.She was patient and never too busy when I needed her.
Children need so little
And because of her love and patience. Because of her ability to endulge me with her time I am the woman, wife and mother I am today.Because of the time she took to nurture, love, guide and bond with me she taught me some of the most important lessons in my life.She showed me the importance of giving your time to others.She taught me unconditional love and insurmountable patience.She grew my imagination, taught me to dream and let me believe I was capable of being anything I wanted to be.She taught me about hard work and how to do things properly.She instilled a love of crafts and the knowledge that I was capable of creating masterpieces.ButThe greatest lesson she taught me was that children need so little to make them happy.That at the end of the day, by giving them our undivided time to meet them in play we will meet each need our child has.
Several years later, when I was 12, my grandmother bought me a delicate little bottle of Charlie perfume.It smelt like sweet flowers on a summer’s day and as I stood on the threshold of being a young lady…I longed for the putrid smell of my grandmother’s vodka cat lady perfume.