A note from Daisy: After the warm and wonderful reception to Brie’s last Perfume Pairings Guest Post, I have asked her to contribute another one in honor of Mother’s Day.
In about a week, I will finally wrap up a grueling semester of teaching. I very much look forward to getting back to the kitchen and back to my dear Readers. In the meanwhile, I am pleased to hand the reins over to Brie again for this beautiful tribute to her friend’s mother and to all mothers. Enjoy!
Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age arrives alone, unaccompanied.
–Woon Tai Ho, Riot Green
Christine is my oldest childhood friend. We have known each other for 42 years. When we met, she lived one flight down from me in an apartment in NYC. Her mother, Catherine, was a bubbly woman of Greek descent who lived life to the fullest. She had an infectious laugh and the ability to always see the glass half full instead of half empty.
One Christmas, Catherine invited all of her daughter’s friends over to present us with gifts that she had chosen quite carefully for each of us. What was revealed after we tore off the wrapping paper were handcrafted ornaments of various animals. I was secretly hoping for the cat (my favorite animal) and was dismayed to see that she had given me an owl instead. Sensing my disappointment, she pulled me aside and quietly whispered, “Do you know what the owl represents? Intuitive wisdom. Never forget that you are an owl, not a cat.”
At the time, being four months shy of becoming a teenager, all I cared about was getting what I did not think I had: popularity and attractiveness. Intuition and wisdom were the very last attributes I wanted to cultivate. Sadly, Christine lost her mother to breast cancer a few years later.
Flash forward to ten years ago when I asked my parents to retrieve all of my Christmas ornaments from the common storage room in their apartment building. To my horror, all of my collectibles from Hallmark had been stolen. The only decorations left behind were worthless stragglers, including that owl from Catherine. Despite my first reaction to it all those years ago, I took it back with me. When I hung it on my Christmas tree that year, I thought of Catherine. Her words haunted me and every year following that one, I placed that owl on my tree.
Slowly but surely, the owl became my animal, and eventually my three children heard the story of how I came to love them through the Catherine’s wise words.
It should come as no surprise that when I saw Soap and Paper Factory’s Owl solid perfume, I bought it un-sniffed. Luckily for me, it smells fantastic! Owl is a bright, rosy geranium on top of a dry down of sandalwood, tobacco, and vetiver. For a solid and natural perfume, it lasts an incredibly long time. The tea I love to pair it with is Organic India’s Tulsi Tea – Sweet Rose. Tulsi, or holy basil, is an herb renowned in India for its healing properties: it relieves stress and protects the immune system. That beautiful Sweet Rose tea melds so nicely with the Soap and Paper Factory’s Owl perfume.
Three years ago, I included a letter with my yearly holiday card to my friend Christine. I wrote about the exchange between her mother and me. I also included a picture of my owl hanging on the Christmas tree. Last year, she confided that she keeps my letter in a special place and reads it from time to time. I hope that it serves as a reminder that her mother’s memory lives on in the heart of a woman who hopes for wisdom to accompany her into middle age.
Now that I am a mother myself, as challenging as it has been to raise children in a world that isn’t always so wonderful, I can say that motherhood is an experience that I would not have wanted to miss.
Mother’s Day isn’t necessarily about biological mothers, as far as I am concerned. We can get love and that motherly connection from our closest friends. I know because I have! For that reason, I think that is an important to stress that many of us are already “mothers” to others without even knowing it.
This story is dedicated to all mothers: past, present and future.
Happy Mother’s Day to you all!
Thanks to Brie, we also have a special Mother’s Day Giveaway: A tea sampler including Organic India’s Tulsi Sweet Rose Tea, and a small sample of Soap and Paper Factory’s Owl solid perfume. To enter, leave a comment below and tell us who is the “mother” you would like to dedicate this post to.
This drawing will close at midnight EST on May 19. Anyone in the US or overseas can enter. The winner will be drawn by Brie and her children from her special ceramic owl. We will announce the winner on this blog in a separate post and also make the announcement on Twitter.
The winner will have one week to contact us with a mailing address. In the case that the winner does not get in touch with us, we will draw again for a runner-up.
Good luck, Everyone!