You know how people have certain smells that are calming; mother’s perfume, lilacs, whatever. I think these smells come from our childhood. Those lilacs used to bloom in Grandma’s garden every May. Dad smoked a pipe. Now when those odors drift your way, you’re transported back to a safe place and time. I’m sure it works both ways, with some scents triggering sadness or fear. We are animals, after all.

My special scent is lake water. It’s the smell of my childhood. I love to swim, especially outdoors. Chlorine just doesn’t rev my motor the way that seaweed and sand does. Heck, I don’t even need the sand. A rocky shore or seawall will do just fine. Nothing beats swimming in the open water, blue sky above, trees reflected on the water, birds calling all around. Playing Marco Polo with my kids is pretty darn good lake fun, too. The best part is the way my bathing suit smells the next day. It’s kind of like grass, fresh fish and wind all mixed together. Don’t judge me until you’ve swum a mile in my swimsuit, brother.

The soccer season is almost done and I have a final observation: You just don’t appreciate the development of self-control as a character trait until you’ve spent a lot of time with 6 and 7 year olds. They have come a long way since last August.