New Orleans “Scent” for Me: I’m Home

There’s a scent flowing in the New Orleans air that’s reminiscent of my childhood mixed with a fragrant burst of something wonderful can happen any day now!. Have you ever smelled a feeling in the air?? I have and more so being home now. In New Orleans even the thick humid air can smell of all things good. If you ever saw a cartoon such as Woody the Woodpecker, when there was something cooking the aroma would turn into a hand floating towards the person, motioning with it’s pointer finger to follow the smell, that’s New Orleans, except you will actually get a taste of the delicious goodness that it brought you to, instead of getting hit upside the head.

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Today that smell brought me back to my childhood, maybe 10yrs old or so sitting in the window seat of my Fave Cousin Nisey’s bedroom at their townhouse across the river in Algiers. We would sit, stare out into the mass of trees and beautiful sky as if it was a paradise full of dreams to come true; talking for hours, planning out our dream lives with certainty that our spoken thoughts would come to true.

We both spoke of a life living in big mansions with every amenity possible from pools to our very own rose garden. We did not want the typical pets, no we dreamed of owning chimpanzees and lions as pets with diamond crusted collars. We did live in the era of watching Michael Jackson, so maybe that’s where that idea came from.

Unlike, Nisey whose plan was to be a big time attorney and corporate executive, I wanted to be a Mommy with 10 children and a grade school teacher.. Why why why, I’m thinking now, but I wanted to be like my Momo and in my eyes she was all things great. My Momo was a mother of 9 and dreamed of being a teacher, but motherhood, work as a Nanny and life took center stage. She found pleasure in raising her children, grandchildren, teaching Sunday School and doing missionary work and sharing life’s lessons to those who sought out her wisdom., a life still filled with kids.. She said, she lived though us and felt  proud of our individual accomplishments, as if it was hers.

So, looking back at my wish to be the ‘Lady who lived in a shoe with so many children she didn’t know what to do” wasn’t a bad life goal. My life as a mother, adoptive mother, foster mother and Auntie Dee to my nieces and nephews and even kids who weren’t enabled me to touch so many lives. My niece is a teacher, so in many ways our dream  came to fruition, through the means of our family tree..

Some days I wish I would have dreamed a lil bigger, if only for me. It’s been a blessing to care for others, but some times I wonder what life would have been like not being a caretaker.. Maybe, it was just that intoxicating smell that has me feeling like there was supposed to be more to me, but you know what, it’s not over. The smell filled my spirit just at the right time. I served my purpose and I did a wonderful job taking care of others and now I can do me.

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One wouldn’t believe that I was a 16 year mother, if my daughter wasn’t proof  lol, but I did well for myself. I did so well that I was able to adopt a baby-girl I so desperately wanted and you know how strict adoption agencies are. I was a single black woman and my desires were granted. I was once a teen mom on the verge of being forced to give my baby up for adoption to being a single black woman who adopted a 6 week old baby. Amazing isn’t it..?

I’m back in the land where I was forced to escape to only to come back to show her, show New Orleans that I did OK for myself and I sense she is proud of me. Proud that I listened to the advice of my elders and stayed in Minnesota, proud that I survived an abusive marriage and survived life period. There’s no safe place, my life only got better, because of me. Things that gone on in New Orleans happened in Minnesota, murder, sex, drugs and the list goes on, it was there. I married a drug dealer in Minnesota, one of the biggest ones at that, but I turned it around and got out. Years later, I’m home and she greeted me with wide opened arms, allowing me back home, to live in my promise land that my ancestors built for me. They made it here and I have full rights to claim my inheritance and live off their harvest.

The fingers of aroma, I’ll call it, made it’s way to Minnesota, tapped me on the shoulder and filled my nostrils with the loving soul of New Orleans and pulled me back into her bosom, filling my tummy with her milk and honey.

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I have no regrets for the days of yesterday. I know those I sacrificed my career goals for appreciate and love me for it. I know now, most of them understand that it’s time for me to do something for me and will support and encourage me on my new journey.

It’s unbelievable that my life managed to be all that it is.I’m sitting here smiling for the 1st time in my life looking back over it all. I made it, but that smell in the air is proof that the best is yet to come. Yes, it’s my time and I’m so happy that New Orleans called me home.



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