When my children were very little, I was saddled with both a diaper bag and a purse. As with all the other moms on the planet, travel, even if it was merely to the corner grocery store, was never a quick and easy trip. Lots of planning and packing were required to increase the odds of a poop-free, pee-free, throw-up-free, tantrum-free outing.
Once we moved beyond the diaper years and I was able to retire the diaper bag, I realized that my poor little average-sized purse was not capable of housing all of the things a mom still needed when venturing out in public with her children. So while other women enjoyed the freedom of being able to buy a purse based on its cuteness factor or how well it match an outfit, I continued to evaluate potential purses based on the size, number and placement of interior pockets, ability to hold small toys, snacks, small books, hand sanitizer, hand wipes, emergency pull-ups, and multiple travel-sized tissue packages. My son was prone to frequent bloody noses so my tissue supply had to be adequate, along with special nasal spray and a prescription ointment.
A few weekends ago we had a yard sale and as I looked at the array of purses I had placed out on a table for sale, I could remember at what ages my children were when I purchased each individual purse. I noticed that the most recent ones were quite smaller (and much more fashionable) than the previous years’ models. As my children had gotten older, my purses were able to get smaller. My son outgrew his nose bleeds so I was able to downsize my tissue supply to just one travel package and could toss the prescription medication. The need to carry pull-ups was long gone. I no longer had to carry toys and books because my kids had graduated to portable video games that they held onto for dear life with their own hands. They were also old even to be able to handle a trip to the corner grocery store without the need to snack on crackers and juice during the 10-minute drive.
Even though the muscles in my back and shoulders appreciate that I now carry a normal purse, I have to admit it leaves me with a bittersweet feeling. I kind of miss the “magic” that my previous purses contained. I loved seeing my kids’ eyes get as big as saucers as they watched me rooting around in the depths of my massive purse and wondering what treasure would appear… a stick of gum? The perfect Band-Aid to cover a child’s imaginary wound? A snack-sized baggie of Goldfish crackers? A toy?
All of the purses that I placed in the yard sale were purchased by mothers who had come to the sale with their young kids. It’s comforting to know that the magic will live on.