This is my wonderful, adorable, feisty niece, Samantha, who shares my love of perfume, as does her mother. My sister named her Samantha because my dad tried to name both her and me Samantha, which my mom vetoed, yelling something about “I already have three boys named Tom, Dick and Harry, I don’t need a girl called Sam!” My sister, Shirley, and I both preferred that name to the ones we got, but who knew? My Dad always called her Sammie Dean, the Cajun Queen. They were fast friends from the moment she was born.
Sammie Dean (Samantha Nadine, her middle name after my mom who didn’t get a middle name) graduates from high school this Saturday. I never had any daughters, so she’s been like a daughter to me, but better — I’ve gotten all the fun parts of playing girls with her and none of the heartache. My sister calls us by each other’s names, and that’s either because she confuses us or she’s just lost her damn mind or both. We fight like cats and dogs — she’s just obstinate and stubborn and crabby and moody, and I love my niece dearly, she’s much more like her mother than like me, as I’m sure you all have surmised.
My oldest son moved out a few months ago, leaving me a little short in the kids in the house department, and now my cranky, wonderful niece will be going off to college for nursing this fall,and I will see her so much less, and that’s so sad because it has been so much fun watching her grow up and become this really great, though cantankerous, human being. Have I mentioned how crabby she can be? Have I mentioned how hard it is to watch the young people you love move away and take their lives with them?
Over these many years, we have shared a love of shoes and makeup and perfume, all the girlie things that I have missed with a house full of boys. Her favorite perfumes are La Chasse and Rose Ikebana and de Rosine Un Zeste de Rose (a bottle of her own she is getting for part of her graduation present), and it’s been so much fun letting her try all of my perfumes and figure out which ones she likes and which ones she doesn’t like. She dances and acts and is anything but a shrinking flower, and she’s so tiny, but eats nonstop. We have a running joke about her summer fat she puts on — every summer, when she is out of school, she has all day to graze through more candy than Hershey has, and she puts on 5 pounds over 3 months (approx 5,000 candy calories a day times 90 days equal 5 pounds for her, about 45 for me), which disappears about two weeks after school starts. I’ll miss the little girl she has been, but regret that there will be too little time with her now that she’s getting really interesting.
But in the meantime
I have my three great-nieces
that I get to play girls with.
And these three are ALL still Barbie age. Oh, pipe down all you anti-Barbie people. Barbies are fun as long as you don’t take them seriously. They’re certainly not any worse than having little girls watch artifically enhanced singers and actresses and think they should look like that instead of something they know is plastic. Well, they both are plastic, but Barbie doesn’t have a heartbeat and doesn’t try to fool you that she isn’t plastic.
There was a perfume error yesterday. All that talk of Borneo made me wistful to wear it, and I spritzed some on and then went and trained people all day, having to lean over them. Then I happened to think… I wonder if they think I smell like dusty chocolate cobwebs and if I smelled like that on purpose or had been rustling around in the attic of a chocolate factory? Just because I think it smells good doesn’t mean everyone else will. I think tomorrow I’ll put on the Criminelle so they can wonder why I smell like tuberose that has a cold and is slathered with Vick’s Vaporub, carrying a whip.
Does anyone think we go out too far on a limb perfume-wise? Are we learning to appreciate the different and ugly for what they are or in spite of what they are? We had lots of Barbies when we were little girls, and we cut off their hair and drew glasses in blue ink pen around their eyes and smushed the boobs on one or two of them so they could be the boy doll, and they just looked like anything but a beautiful Barbie, but we still thought they were beautiful, mostly because they were the only Barbies we had.
We choose what we love. My life has been so rich because I’ve had great choices and the luxury to love the odd and different and to even encourage that oddity in those people that I love. Is perfume so much different? As Yeats said “A pity beyond all telling Is hid in the heart of love.” It is in the flaw and the cracks and oddities that love has a way to flow in.