Many of my favorite memories of my youth involve a myriad of smells: the fragrant and busy kitchen, my grandmother’s musky Estee Lauder perfumes, rainstorms at the beach in the summertime, honeysuckles in our backyard…but probably my most favorite smell of all is the scent of blossoming gardenias.

I remember one year, my mom bought my grandma a gardenia plant for Mother’s Day. My grandma’s green thumb and nurturing ability was showcased in our yard with flowers, roses and plants of every kind. Grandma planted the gardenia outside of her window, in between a pair of bushes. Since Grandma’s room was next to mine, our windows shared the same views. Over time, I watched dad’s trees in the front yard grow from twigs to huge shadow casting arbors, as well as grandmas various flowers.

In early spring, we usually had our windows propped open since we didn’t crank the AC well into June. On cool spring mornings, the smell of grandma’s garden would literally wake me up. It’s such an unforgettable scent: sweet, timeless and feminine.
After all of these years, that sweet smell of newly blossomed gardenias remains synonymous with the fondest memories of my grandma.

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As we were packing to come to our NJ home on Sunday night, I brushed up against the Easter Lily my dad bought for my mom. All day, in between the entertaining and cooking, I never smelled that lily. But as we were leaving, I got a good whiff of it– and it didn’t smell like the delicate flower that I was used to. It distinctively smelled like a gardenia and not like a lily. I was so weirded out by it, that I told mom and she agreed. Jeff thought I was crazy and had no idea of the significance, but there was no mistaking that smell. It was a beautiful smell the sparked so many memories, especially after such a great trip home.

While we had an awesome trip home to Va. for Easter, we celebrated family, friends and good times. As one of my aunts suggested during the lunch blessing, Easter is a celebration of life and she gave props to the anticipation of Baby B. and a family friend’s little one on the way.
On Easter, we laughed for hours at the dining room table recollecting the many grandma-isms between my aunties, cousins and brothers and parents. We celebrated a lot of good things this past weekend, but one that we didn’t really speak of was grandma’s passing.

It was 5 years ago that we said goodbye to one incredible lady.

I’m reminded by this because in the midst of all the family visits, many people were asking about baby names. Since many of us are thinking baby B. is a girl, I dream about telling her about the wonderful woman she will be named after.

As we celebrate many memories and the anticipation of baby in a few months, I’m very anxious to find out more about this kid.  The big ultrasound is right around the corner.  We’ll find out sometime at the end of April or first week of May!

Stay tuned for a whole new celebration.

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