A scarf & Perfume: Parenting a child with anxiety

“Mama, can you spray the perfume?”

Each and every morning, with tears In her eyes, she would ever so quietly ask for a spray of my perfume. Her favorite perfume of mine.


As she slowly got dressed, for school each morning, the struggle was encroaching her and becoming more and more real.


The struggle was enveloping her and making her chest tighten, while fighting so hard with the ever impending monster consuming her…


anxiety.


The subtle spray of my perfume, embedded within one of my scarves or on her dainty wrist, would carry her through the day. The long arduous day of school, for this little girl, was overwhelming.


But the simplicity of the spray of perfume eased her mind for just a moment.


We had the same ritual each morning.

She would ask for a spritz and I would spray the perfume on her, then on me, and reassure her we would be thinking of one another.


The scent was a reminder she was not alone when she was having a hard time or missing me. She could inhale and breathe in a part of me to soothe her worries.


She could rest her weary head on the cotton and transcend to a place far away from where her anxiety would take her.


Years of perfume, years of scarves, years of worry each morning and many years of her big sister walking her to the classroom.


As her tiny feet would cross the threshold into the room filled with colorful charts and inspirational posters, she entered a world which caused her fear.


A fear she had to face for seven long hours…

A fear of not seeing her mama.

A fear of not seeing her twin who was in the room next door.


As anxiety took hold of my little girl, within the building up the road, my mama heart ached.


An ache I barely can explain with words.

It was a profound ache where I struggled to move forward with my day, wishing to take the pain away from her trembling heart.


Now ten years later, each time I get a gentle whiff of the particular perfume, I am transported back…


Back to a time of sheer struggle and the many days and nights of endless snuggles for comfort.


Back to a time of tears choked back, suffocating her thoughts, and many nights of tears flowing uncontrollably as interrupted sleep took over.


Back to a time where social anxiety took over in the outside world and carefree frolicking in the comforts of home was her safe haven.


Back to a time of utter exhaustion while hoping and praying for a sense of freedom and relief.


Ten years later, now wearing her own scent of perfume and walking confidently into school, my eyes well up with tears.


As the tears flow, my heart pumps faster, my throat tightens, and I am filled with pride and a deep sense of gratitude… so much gratitude.


As I gaze at her in awe, I see a young woman filled with strength and resilience, composure and an understanding of her particular needs, and a profound ability to calm others down when their anxiety peaks.


Maybe this is her silver lining…

for those with anxiety or feeling the struggle heavily weighing them down, to witness her strength and gain inspiration from the bumpy path she once traveled.

Maybe their path is similar, filled with many twists and turns and days of feeling lost, but to know they are not alone and one step closer to embracing peace and tranquility.


Sometimes maybe all we need is a little piece of home to carry us through the day and lots and lots of mama’s perfume.