Creating sensory memories

Walking the baby down our country road
As we’ve come around to one year since my maternity leave, I’m realizing how acute my sensory memories of that time are.

Sound: Anne Bogel’s voice while listening to the podcast “What Should I Read Next” (newly discovered during my maternity leave) and narrator Hillary Huber from listening to the audio version of Katherine Reay’s Dear Mr. Knightley, the first audio book I attempted on my leave (which is when I rediscovered audio books).

Taste: Spinach salad with craisins, walnuts, avocado, blueberries and an olive oil/balsamic vinegar dressing that I ate almost every day for lunch. Also, the Adventure Trail Mix from Aldi that got me through all the late night feedings.

Smell: New baby, of course. Also, spit up. And the dirty diaper of an exclusively breastfed baby, which I’ve heard likened to buttered popcorn.

Feel: The feel of my CityMini Jogger handlebar bouncing along the gravel road during my daily walk.

Sight: Fiona. All Fiona. Drinking in every chubby roll, every tiny toe, every micro-expression.

Fiona sleeping

There are other sights, sounds, and smells that bring back similarly distinct memories for me.

For instance, the smell of wild honeysuckle immediately makes me think of my childhood playing for hours in the backyard on a summer’s day, picking honeysuckle blossoms and sucking the “honey” out of them.

The crunch and squeak of really cold snow underfoot reminds me of so many winter days spent skiing as a kid.

The sight of palm trees reminds me of spring breaks spent camping in Florida at Fort De Soto park.

As I contemplated these things, I began to realize that I could curate these sensory memories. If I want to remember a special time in my life a certain way, I could actually choose what sights, sounds, smells, etc. to surround myself with. At Christmastime, I can choose the scent of pine and the taste of hot chocolate. If I only put a little forethought into this, I could create this.

In fact, I have the ability to create these experiences for my daughter.

So, this spring, what’s on my list? What do I want her to associate with her childhood springs?

  • The scent of a honeysuckle jasmine candle (from Roxanna’s Candles)
  • The sounds of the spring peepers serenading us to sleep through open windows
  • Also, the feel of cool fresh air swirling through open windows
  • The sight of flowers, all kinds of beautiful flowers — in our yard and in local gardens
  • The taste of the freshest salad ingredients: greens and cucumbers and peppers galore

What sensory memories will you curate?

Facebook Twitter Pinterest Plusone Email