Aromatherapy: The Wonder of Nature’s Perfume

TulipFestAfter a long, cold winter, I can hardly complain about the heat and humidity of the last few days. It seems hard to believe that only a few days ago, I was covering my sensitive annuals with hay due to a frost advisory.

IMG_9627Nevertheless, my perennial bulbs are loving this heat spell and I am taking full advantage of the abundance of blooms to bring indoors.

If you have followed my blog over the years, you know my favorite flowers are Lilacs. These are my Miss Kim Lilacs-which bloom 2 weeks later than the standard ones- so my Lilac season lasts much longer than one would think possible. Putting my nose into the florets is “heavenly bliss”. I have no other way to describe the delightful aromas that put me into a state of ecstasy.LilacBliss

Then my Iris start opening- both single and double bearded varieties. The single ones have a sugary powdered scent that satisfies my cravings, while the doubles have a darker, richer fragrance that doesn’t let me go.HeavenlyIris

This year at almost the same time, the Peonies began opening. They have a completely different aura. Sweet, but more sophisticated, with layers of roses infiltrated into them- wild, climbing, tea- all varieties are collected into one breed.Peony9698

I spent Memorial Day weekend catching up on yardwork, with many hours spent outside. By  the time I returned to work on Tuesday I wasn’t sure I could take even a half day indoors. I decided to bring a bouquet of flowers to the office. I collected Peonies, Iris and Lilacs and set them up in my 150 sq. ft office that I share with my partner.

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We enjoyed the sweet wafts of scent that the breezes from  our open window spread around the room. However, the real aromatherapy was noticed when our colleagues came bursting in the door- frantically asking us questions- and then paused, mid-sentence- to notice how wonderful our flowers smelled. By the time they were done taking in and appreciating the beautiful display, they had forgotten the urgency of their visit and we were able to conduct business in a much more agreeable way.

Too bad I don’t know of any season that yields more fragrant flowers than the month of May. As the days get hotter, the fragrances are only noticeable to the birds and the bees. As beautiful as Sunflowers, Phlox, poppies and Gladiolus are, they really don’t have the same scent appeal. May is the season for Aromatherapy.IMG_9645

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A Mothers’ Day tribute to myself

I usually don’t have positive thoughts on Mothers’ Day- so this year I am doing something different. I am writing a tribute to myself on all the things that being a mother means to me.

* Always being there for my kids: whether it is a ride, a hug, lunch or someone to talk to, I am ready to jump into action for whatever they need.

*Unconditional love and support:  no matter what they do or say, I will always love them.

*Knowing when to give praise or express disappointment, or whether to just listen and empathize. Finding the right balance is tricky and depends on which kid and the situation. Knowing each child’s strengths, weaknesses and passions helps in these parental judgment calls.

*Being a good role model for my children: showing courtesy and politeness, responsibility, strong values and solid work ethics. By being a good citizen, I show my kids how I expect them to behave as they grow into adults. They each show these characteristics in their own ways. They may have their own beliefs and ideas, but they stick to them and work hard for them.

*Pride: like the mother lion, I can show off my cubs, even when they are grown. Their accomplishments, whether it is receiving an award or achieving a milestone, give me bragging rights to express how proud I am.

*Friend or Foe: This is the hardest part of being a mom (or dad)- how to juggle being a pal and parent at the same time. It is amazing how quickly things can get out of control and laughing can turn to yelling. It is very hard to draw the line, so I probably put myself in the “foe” category by not fully stepping into the “friend” role. Maybe friendship will happen later in life, but right now I am still the parent.

Safety Patrol: whether safety meant no running with sticks, biking with a helmet, or texting me for a ride if they were in an uncomfortable situation, I was always concerned for my children’s safety. With my daughter living the college life in Boston, I know I have lost any measure of control so I try not to think about it. At least she has the “courtesy call” down- meaning when she is travelling any great distance she will let us know when she reaches her destination. Instead, I am focusing my safety lessons on my son, who will soon qualify for his driver’s license.

*Mi Casa,es Su Casa: as a mom I always wanted my kids to feel safe and comfortable in the house. I let them freely invite friends over to hangout and kept plenty of snacks stocked for unexpected gatherings. Even as they leave the nest, I always want my kids to feel welcome to come home- hopefully not permanently, but for enough time to reinforce our love and support and keep us feeling like a family.

*Letting go: This is also part of being a parent. Realizing that I have fulfilled my duty of raising children to live independently. Hopefully they have picked up the skills through daily chores, or at least watching me do them. Thankfully, letting go happens in stages: first they take the school bus, then they learn to drive; they start with a sleepover at a friend’s’ house and then go to summer camp. By the time they are ready for college, they should have weaned themselves and feel the urge for independence. The hardest part for me is giving them that final push and encouragement to go.

However, it doesn’t matter whether they are 2 or 20 or 50, they will always be my kids and I will always have these feelings and roles as their mom. All of these emotions and traits go with the territory and make me the kind of mother that I am. Many of these were learned from my own mother (and father) and will likely be passed to the next generation. It is called family.