The Daily Grace
The Daily Grace

the smell of you

Aug 6, 2014 | ideas & inspiration | 25 comments

It was completely unexpected since we’d spent nearly two weeks together on the tail-end of her study abroad in Spain. And yet when we got home, Eliza presented a beautiful gift bag stuffed with bright tissue paper.

It’s for you Mom, from me. To thank you for Barcelona.

I was deeply touched. And also, most excited.

Pink tissue, out. Blue tissue out. And there lay the prettiest little bag, one stitched with happy fabric and a closing zipper.

I love this! I said. So perfect for makeup or iPhone cords or a special collection of journal writing pens and pencils.

Open it she said.

And so I did. And there inside was a collection of 10-15 feathers, brown, black, downy white.

It’s all the feathers I found while I was in Spain she said. I kept them all, for you.

I thought I might cry.

And then I reached to the bottom of the bag to find a gorgeous scarf, one with feathers floating so effortlessly they seemed to be dropping from the sky. I hugged it to my chest.

I knew you would love it she said.


We faced her going away to school for the fourth time this weekend, this sweet baby girl who just yesterday sucked her thumb and twirled my hair like it was a lifeline to the divine. Rational thought cannot develop sound enough reason for it to actually be her Senior Year in College. And yet it is. We made the trek to Clemson on Saturday, her in the driver’s seat with Tim following us in our loaded down SUV. It was a journey I made with less trepidation than her Freshman year, but let me tell you, it was still very emotional.

There are differences, I must say. This time she moved into a house rather than a minuscule room in a freshman dorm. There was no Mama worry over will she fit in? will she make friends? will she be happy? Instead, there was a steady stream of besties stopping by to check it out, to offer opinions, to run errands. And still when the day ended and it was time for us to drive away, my heart emptied and felt so flattened I wondered—for the thousandth time—if it would ever feel full again.


she's so happy to be back with her friends

she’s so happy to be back with her friends



Today I spent the afternoon cleaning up and clearing out, activities that desperately needed tending to in my pile-filled life. Eventually, I made my way to the bag that still held the pretty feather scarf. I pulled it free and walked toward my bedroom, intent on properly putting it away. That’s when I caught a whiff of its scent and scrunched it to my nose.

That smells just like Eliza I thought.

I wrapped the scarf around my neck and continued with my chores.


I have never been a perfume wearer. I can’t even say why, but I can tell you my daughter is, just as my mother was. It was something I never understood, something over-the-top, something that, to me, seemed frivolous.

I feel that way no longer. One tiny whiff and my daughter has moved through this kitchen, a teenager out the door and on her way to cheerleading or a sleepover or something extra exciting. One tiny whiff and I am a little girl, back in my mother’s bedroom as she dresses for a party. I remember it exactly, the site of her, the smell of her as I followed her down the hall and into the kitchen, me believing she would always be there, and so would I, in our house on that hill above the Courthouse in Wise.


I think I shall join the leagues of the perfume-wearers. I do. And maybe down the line somebody somewhere will catch a tiny whif and think I remember.

It’s a lovely way to be called to mind, don’t you think?

Yes, I shall become a perfume-wearer.



  1. Theresa

    Okay, so now this story is my favorite of The Daily Grace. As you recalled her getting dressed for a party or an event, one scent came to mind, Giorgio. And you will have that book jacket some day.

    • Cathy

      Yes. Chanel #5 for years, then Giorgio. Exactly. And thanks for the book love!

  2. Jim Quigg

    Geez Cathy…almost made me cry…

    • Cathy

      I am so touched you read TDG! Thank you, my friend!

  3. Rosie

    I fought the tears. They formed anyway. And yet, I thank you.

    • Cathy

      I thank you, as well!

  4. Nancy A.

    I love this post. So beautifully written and I relate to every word. Hope you find a beautiful perfume!

    • Cathy

      Thank you, Nancy!

  5. Lisa

    I felt like I was there with you…..sweet girl…funny how it works when you are the parent not the student….never occurred to me how hard it was on my Mom when I left. Love you

    • Cathy

      I think that so often, Lisa–how I never had a clue how hard these things were for our mothers!

  6. Sarah "a bestie"

    I love this post…

    • Cathy

      You are most definitely “a bestie”!

  7. Liz

    That was a heart, not ?? xo

    • Cathy

      This is a smile!

  8. Liz

    Such beautiful words. Smells have always reminded me of people. . . .just like songs. All these bittersweet moments coming up in our lives. I’m trying to cherish everyone of them. Such beautiful words . . . ?? Liz Craig

    • Cathy

      Thank you, Liz. Time is going so fast, isn’t it? Thank you!

  9. Randy

    Sometimes I hear what you are saying. Sometimes I see what you are saying.
    How wonderful to smell what you are saying. I love you Sis.

    • Cathy

      Okay, so this made ME cry. Thank you, bro.

  10. Julie

    Oh friend. This brings it ALL home. Here we go again, right? What a wonderful story. I joined the ranks of perfume-wearers just last summer . . . for the very same reason. It’s changed my life! In ways that no one but me would ever know. Transitions are so hard. Feathers help. xxoox

    • Cathy

      Yes, my sweet friend. Feathers help.

  11. Jean McElroy

    You are amazing!! I love reading your “Daily Grace”. Please keep them coming!!

    • Cathy

      Oh, Jean. How kind you are. Thank you for being a Daily Grace-er!

  12. Vickie

    Now look what you’ve done…you’ve made me cry. Again. My heart goes out to you.

    • Cathy

      Thanks, Vick. It’s all good–of course.

  13. Leslie

    Okay, maybe I have another new favorite Daily Grace…

Cathy Rigg Headshot

Hi. I’m Cathy.

This is a blog about writing, creative living, and grace in the everyday. It’s my hope this little spot on the internet will be for you a place of quiet and reflection, a source for inspiration, and a reminder there’s beauty all around—we simply need to keep our hearts open to see it. Thank you for being here with me.

Posts Archive


Pin It on Pinterest

Verified by MonsterInsights