Purple | Paper Doll Tales

Two of my favorite smells are purple.  1.  The lilacs from my family’s tree-sized shrub, lilacs that I gathered by the armful, hacking away at woody stems to harvest the smell that flowed in nearly visible wisps from our kitchen to living room to bedrooms. 2.  The lavender that is the essence of sun and stone and summer and Provence to me after we spent a few vacations in that Southern France paradise where field after measured field sprouts the dusty-headed crop that perfumes the air.

Purple is a smell that found me, took me captive, and left no survivor.  My olfactory soul belongs to lilac and lavender.

Little C has reached that age of defining herself by a ready answer to the “What’s your favorite color?” question all the grown ups towering over her love to ask.  Purple!  She claims it like she invented it.  Like there is no question that this is the correct answer that will earn her a star sticker or at least a smiley face.

This answer would have caused one of those epic sibling standoffs just a few years ago.  But EB has recently changed her favorite color to orange, the color she once assigned to her beloved Dad as his favorite color.  (He raises one skeptical eyebrow, but these are the important things you just go with if you’re particularly good at being a Dad.)

Just yesterday, though, our whole city, school, and yea, minivan were caught in the grips of a common Pittsburgh phenomenon: black and gold.  Our city is particularly adept at raising children in the Black and Gold method.  We rear die-hard fans with no wavering and no prejudice.  Hockey, baseball, football…we are loyal to them all, and we learn early on (even us transplanted children) that clearly the best colors on any field anywhere are Black and Gold.

“My new favorite color is black!” EB crowed from her car seat yesterday, clad in pink skirt and flowered shirt.  She held a Pittsburgh Pirates rally sign on her lap from a school assembly, the school where they teach reading, writing, mathematics, spelling, and black-and-gold.

Sometimes we stand in a school assembly or at a flower-decked altar and we decide who and what will be our favorites for life.  Other times, like in the labor and delivery room or a field in Provence, our favorites find us.  Either way, we can all give ourselves a gold star for answering the question, “What’s your favorite color?” and waiting to hear the stories behind it, because the answer to that question is more than one word–it is a lifetime of experiences and loves.


Day 8 of 31 days.  For the month of October, I’m joining in on 31 Days of 5 Minute Free Writes.  Following the rules to write an unedited response to a prompt in 5 minutes, the insights and gratitude I gain in that short time will lift my soul skyward for the day.  Join me in reading!  Grateful for the challenge of Write 31 Days.


  1. Jo said:

    So true! But what does it say about me if I like LOTS of colors and my favorite changes often?!

    October 8, 2015

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