mmm.. the smell of the heater. Strange that I think the heater even has a smell but it does. Its toasty and warm smelling.. obviously, its a heater! Its dark in the apartment, not a single light is on, I'm cuddled up under my soft flannel sheets and then I hear it. The click of the heater turns on, I wait a few seconds and then I can feel that warm air float across my cold face and I smell it. mm! When its dark like this and theres nothing around but the sound of early morning traffic driving down the road it makes dreaming so easy. I just close my eyes and with that single smell the heater gives off I'm suddenly back in the downstairs family room on rockurst court in fairfield. Its Christmas eve and the thought of Santa coming in the morning is too exciting to handle! Little did I know that when I grew up I'd be able to experience the same tingly feeling of being tired and wired at the same time run through my whole body just by drinking too much coffee or a red bull. Catie and I are wearing our matching nightgowns.. plaid Christmas colors with a white collar of course and we are dressing our barbies and applying new lip smackers in our cardboard SEE's playhouse. Tonys running around the outside of the playhouse in his camo pj's being the "robber" thats trying to break in and steal our toys.. walking through the door of the playhouse was never as fun to him as shoving a toy gun through the window of it and threatening his little sisters I guess. Kerri is just a toddler in footie pajamas with curly dark hair and a gap in her teeth.. she's crawling outside the playhouse where the robber is jumping around her but we don't let her in.. besides, our playhouse is made out of cardboard. She'd drool a hole in it or worse.. rip off the shelf on the inside that had pictures of SEE's truffles on it. God forbid. Not the truffles! Dad and Mom are in the living room upstairs with Nonni and Al. Not sure what they are up to as a kid, as an adult tho I'd assume mom was stressing about dinner and santa the next day while dad dozed off next to the green garbage bag full of wrapping paper. Suddenly the phone rings and Dad answers.. we all stop and sit quietly for about 2 seconds until we hear dad say it.. "well hi there Santa Clause!" Then its on.. the race to the kitchen.. somehow the "robber" always manages to shove in a push while Catie and I are tripping over our night gowns anyway and we all run around Kerri leaving her downstairs while we fight in the kitchen to get to talk to Santa on the phone.
Funny how that single smell triggers so much and I'm so easily back to that day like it was yesterday. Then suddenly my stomach feels like I have a sumo wrestler squeezing it with all his might sending shooting pain up my back into my shoulders. My hips feel like there is literally a large ball stuck in between them pushing them apart and my abdomen cramps like none other. I'm having a contraction. Suddenly I'm not in a playhouse, I'm in my apartment. My beautiful husband is off to work already and anxiously waiting for the call to come home and take his wife to the hospital so we can meet our son. Its 4:30 in the morning and I just ate a piece of pietros all meat pizza. Probably the cause of the contraction that just distracted me from my trip down memory lane.
Tony isn't a "robber" anymore and he's not shoving guns through my window. Instead he's my best friend and he walks through my front door to hang out with me and my husband. He doesn't wear GI Joe camo pjs.. at least that we know of and he's become more of a person that strives for peace and equality in the world than shoving little girls out of his way while trying to get what he wants.
Catie still wears night gowns, every day. She is still playing with barbies and her latest lip smackers is root beer flavor. We don't play in playhouses anymore since she is a 20 year old adult and even if she could fit in one we couldn't get her to the floor or inside it. I believe she's the reason I find myself day dreaming of old times more than enjoying current times. When I catch a smell from the heater Catie and I are best friends again rather than a caregiver and recipient relationship like I feel the majority of our life has been. Its not that I don't like our life, I just miss what it was and like to dream about what it could have been.
Kerri is far from a crawling toddler.. She still has her curly dark hair and has beautiful teeth now. She is still trying to get in on the activities of her older siblings and she doesn't let a cardboard door hold her back. She's not crawling on the family room floor anymore but instead traveling to Rwanda to help people in need. Talk about leaving those SEE's candy house snobs in the dust!
I even have 2 more siblings since that Christmas Eve.. My mini me and Anne marie.. never saw that coming!
I truly love my life and the people in it. I love how much these contractions hurt because they mean in a couple of years I will have an excuse to buy another SEE's Candy playhouse. I love how that reheated pizza hit the spot and most of all I love the smell of the heater because it triggers so much of the good stuff I've experienced in my life. It sends me back to my little girl days where my biggest fear and worry was whether or not I'd be able to talk to Santa before my siblings did.