Mom’s gone but memories live on and on

ESCANABA – Mother’s Day is about memories.

The day has its own distinct scent, like sunshine, green grass and dandelions.

Our commercialized, material world has tried to make Mother’s Day about gifts, flowers, candy, jewelry and dining out.

But ask any Mom – the day is about time together, not about things.

For those of us who have Moms that have passed away, it is so often the smells that make us remember her. With my mom, it was the great aroma of things in her kitchen. Cookies baking, chiffon cakes or homemade pizza, triggers thoughts of my mom.

Sometimes it is the clean smell after she just mopped and waxed the floors or the flowers in her garden or a whiff of her favorite perfume that makes me think of Mom and Mother’s Day.

I recall the first Mother’s Day gift that I purchased for her with my own babysitting and paper route money. I pedaled my old bike to Shopko and bought her an orchid corsage. Getting it home safely on a bike in the cool spring breeze was a challenge.

Human brains are curious things. We remember so many sights and sounds, but a remembered smell is so often permanently linked to a certain person or occasion.

Black coffee, Dentyne gum and African violets all have smells strong, cinnamon like and gentle, that can surround me with a hug of “mom essences.”

My husband, David, thinks of his Mom when the lilacs bloom. He grew up on a farm with a huge lilac bush just off of the front porch. He recalls how much his mother loved their fresh smell and how he’d take branches in the house for her.

At my folk’s house, Mother’s Day started with everyone going off to church together and then joining together for cake and coffee. The second part of the day was often spent at camp. Sometimes we’d be having our fun little race for homemade toy boats, but all of the time we’d sit down to enjoy the supper meal together.

Now that I ‘m a Mom I can appreciate the wonderful aromas of Mother’s Day. It is the mechanical scent of the camera, the sweetness of apple blossoms, the clean smell of hugs from kids and the odor of dish soap as the family (not the mom) washes the dishes.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of the Moms, grandmothers, sisters, aunties and daughters out there.

Karen (Rose) Wils is a lifelong resident of north Escanaba. Her folksy columns are published weekly in Lifestyles.