Monday, May 2, 2011

That Christmas Smell

"Can we go to Bath & Body Works tonight?"

Our Darling Daughter, despite maturing into perhaps the most responsible and sweet-natured teenager I've ever met, still hasn't grasped the idea that her Mother and I cannot simply drop everything at a moment's notice to run errands for her.

We ask her why it has to be tonight.

"I have a coupon that expires in two days, and I'm tired of smelling like Christmas."

The temptation to lecture about the benefits of pre-planning is strong. Until, of course, I remember who I am. Pre-planning is not my forte. My poor Mother was driven to the brink of madness by my repeated lack of preparedness, as My Lovely Wife is today.

What strikes us most from her statement, however, is the "I'm tired of smelling like Christmas" bit.

I've been married long enough -- and have been the father of a girl long enough -- to instinctively understand what she's talking about, but my brain still goes into that mental lock at the sound of words I never expected to be strung together. Although, it really is just one of many strange sentences our household has dished out.

Just this weekend, My Love Wife and I were watching television. Apparently, she did not immediately understand something someone said. I explained it to her and her comment back to me was: "That can't be what they said, but I guess it could be what they said."

One of my all-time favorites came a few years ago when we were all packed up in our van and heading out for the day. We traveled along a side street near our house and over a spot where the remains of a rabbit soiled the road. The German, in a sincerely melancholy voice, said: "Bye dead bunny."

It's difficult to imagine roadkill being the source of such a fond memory, yet it is.

In this instance, no longer wishing to smell like Christmas meant Our Daughter was still using the holiday-scented body washes and lotions her brothers bought her for Christmas. Four months later, sprigs of holly and hints of fig no longer made the cut. Maybe I did let the boys go a little overboard when I took them shopping for her presents.

"Dad! This one smells like a pine tree!" The Italian excitedly shoved an open bottle of lotion under my nose. The chemical aroma reminded me of the time I accidentally sniffed a bottle of ammonia thinking it was dish detergent.

Then up comes the German with a scented candle. "I think she would like this one," he said. "It smells like candy canes." In the end, I was proud of the restraint I mistakenly believed I had imposed by allowing them each to buy her only two of the more muted holiday scents.

I suppose we need to head back to the store to check out the latest seasonal flavors. Maybe the Easter aromas are on sale. I wonder if they have a body wash called "Dead Bunny?"

© 2011 Mark Feggeler

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