I look at the pink container, flashing back to what feels like 30 lifetimes ago or perhaps even not my life at all… Today it feels like it was all a dream that never happened. I can see it in my hand as I knelt over the sweet eyes of my child lying flat on her back waiting patiently or otherwise for her diaper to be changed.
Then, as though that flash isn’t a deep enough dagger, my mind then flashes to my dad’s weathered, spotted, chubby hands holding it up to me as he did the dirty deed changing my daughter’s diaper, that big beaming grin on his face which he’s well known for, and saying, “Baby, this stuff sure is worth its weight in gold, huh? We can’t have our baby’s’ little bottom not protected, huh?”
And although this silly little pink canister of (what feels like) gold from ancient days of another lifetime who’s existence, truth, and nostalgia, I have been tortured to question, causes me an inordinate amount of pain, still I hold it in my hand…
I push the well-worn top open, lower my nose to it and breathe deeply as though I will still smell my precious child… as though I might be transported back in time, even if only to verify my reality that I ever was a momma, that I ever had those ocean blue eyes gaze up to me with fascination, love, and adoration…
I breathe in the memories, the olfactory ones that no one can take or alter against my will as long as I’m still able to breathe this scent in.
It is the scent of freshness, dewy, just-bathed, just changed, just belly-zerberted, baby of mine.
It is the scent of hope, strength to overcome handicaps physical and mental, emotional.
It is the scent of new-found freedom tainted with boldness of security ; security that my dad would always have my back, always lift me up when I couldn’t stand, always hold my hand when I lost my way..
It is the smell of light leading my way when I was scared to move and blind from abuse. The smell of unconditional love that breeds the knowing that all will be well…always… As long as I have my daddy and my babies…
As long as I have this near-ancient pink canister of baby-bottom gold and can breathe deeply of the pillows and blankets I sniffed nightly upon their absence, everything will be ok.
As I look at it today, I wonder when was the exact day it was no longer necessary? When was the very last time, my daddy or I laid a baby down to powder her delicate bottom? When was the last time we reached back into the bathroom closet to put it away, not knowing that would be its final golden day? From that point forward, it would gather dust in the bathroom closet.
How can I throw this in the garbage? As useless as it is today, as painful as it is to remember that my memories haven’t ALL been poisoned, altered, or out-right negated, how could I ever imagine throwing this away?
Today, it’s the only thing I have that smells like love, trust, faith, and hope – this ridiculous little pink canister of powder.
It smells like both a reason to live and an excellent reason not to.