A prominent smell memory of mine derives from my childhood, directly associated with my mother.
Recalling my early memories of the ages between five and ten, where these smells seemed the most prominent, is when I would be woken up by my mom getting into bed late at night coming back from work. There was always a pungent scent of cigarette smoke that lingered with her wherever she went since she has been smoking cigarettes for as long as I can remember. To give an idea of my upbringing, it is fairly common with my family culture for the children to sleep in their mother's bed growing up without an urgent pressure to sleep in our own rooms until we're comfortable to do so. No matter how much she washed up, she always had a hint of cigarette smoke on her because it is just a scent that I now associate with my mom. Whenever she would be in bed, her hands and arms were always icy cold. Even now, when we come home, my mom would ask if we could stay in her room, and just like always, the slight smell of cigarettes remains mixed with her perfume or whatever she would be wearing.
Even though I personally don't smoke and get nauseated from constant cigarette smoke, the smell of it, on specifically my mom, brings back familiarity and a nostalgic feeling. It's strange to think about, but there will be those rare moments when I would pass by a smoking area or a person smoking the same brand as my mom and it would suddenly bring me comfort, triggering memories of my mom and the emotional closeness we share.
My personal view on my mother is that she never sugar coats anything to avoid hurt feelings, she always says exactly how she sees it, and most of the time her advice has proven to be essential in the future. The cigarette smoke in my relationship with her signifies the strengths and weaknesses my mom battles within herself, and what I subconsciously ended up associating her with when I think of her life. She is the strongest person I have been lucky enough to learn from, but she is also the weakest.
- Danielle Goking