“Limoncello?” You’re asking yourself.
Yup. I love it. Simply put, the scent of Limoncello hand-sanitizer, brought my tough-as-nails, teenage daughter, back HOME.
As a dad, my job is to fix things. It’s my nature, what my own dad instilled in me. Broken faucet? I’ll handle it. Need a picture hung? Don’t sweat it, I’m here. Car troubles? I got your back. My daughter’s emotional troubles? I had no damn clue.
The opening chapter of my fatherhood, begins about six years ago. By some sweet miracle of God, I met my future wife. Along with my soulmate, I also met two of my future kids, one of which would change my life forever.
My daughter, then nine, was an innocent, sweet, “normal” little girl. She loved horses, Miley Cyrus, swimming at the pool. She was the jolt of energy, the carefree happiness, I’d desperately wanted. After just a few months, I was in love. The “packaged deal” I’d nervously barged into, was now my family.
As time went on in our joy filled world, a weekend liberty from our children, turned into a nightmare we’d never be able to forget.
When the kids returned home that Sunday, something was off. My daughter and her perma-smile, were gone. The bouncy demeanor she once possessed, all but a memory. She had been traumatized; her innocence stolen. The unthinkable happened.
It was immediately noticed by everyone in her life and the barrage of questions and tear-filled answers began. Within 3 months, the “person”, was imprisoned. Now though? It was up to my wife and I to help pick up the pieces of our little girl. Or so we thought.
Fast-forward to the here and now. After six years of constant worry, never ending issues and with a PTSD diagnoses thrown in our laps, fresh ideas were out of reach. We’d been in and out of therapy sessions, tirelessly learning/teaching coping skills, if only for sample doses of a content daughter. It felt as if we had completely failed, that I had failed.
I did what I thought Dads were supposed to do. I comforted her, consoled her, tried my ass off to build up her seemingly nonexistent self-esteem. I brought her flowers, left notes for her before school, took her for ice cream, ANYTHING to make her feel good. Despite her good looks, the beautiful voice she was blessed with, the admiration of teenage boys, she was struggling more than ever.
We did what no parent ever wants to do, what my wife and I only spoke about as an absolute last-resort option: We stubbornly enrolled her for seven days in a place where she could interact with other teens her age, struggling with similar issues. It was heartbreaking, to say the least.
Finally, after years of drawing, music listening, walks, talks and any other coping skill you can imagine, my daughter found her thing.
Limoncello hand-sanitizer. The mere scent of it, the texture, took her stress away and subdued her memories. It calmed her nervous tendencies. She felt better. No more pacing, no more nervous taps of the fingers. She was talkative again, smiling more than ever, hanging out with friends more. Hell she even made NEW friends.
The irony in it all? I’m a sanitizing fool. I seriously use it constantly. I’ve always kept it at work, on my bedside table, in all our bathrooms. It’s been as much a staple in our home as PB and J.
Last night, her and I we were watching a movie. She rose from her seat, walked to the kitchen and opened the cabinet. She returned, sanitizer in hand. I glanced at her, stuck my palm out and smiled. The return smile on her face took me back to the innocent girl I’d first met.
Thank God, for .99 limoncello scented hand-sanitizer. Thank God, my daughter is finally back home.