02 November 2011

The Magic Mommy Bag.

Yesterday morning when I got to work, I dug my hand deep into my purse to find my phone and glasses when my fingers touched something small and crumbly.  I'd apparently forgotten that a bag of colored Goldfish snacks had been left in this bag, and so with jostling and moving about, some had tumbled to the bottom.  It wasn't a disaster but it made me think of how my use of a purse has changed over the years.  I searched the contents to see what else I could find and sure enough in addition to the normal grown up items (i.e. wallet, car keys, Bates id and keys, lipstick etc) were a number of others---two mini packages of tissues, a tube of Neosporin, infant Tylenol, a lone (unused!) diaper, one random sock of G's (at least that solved a laundry mystery), and of course the bag of Goldfish.

Had mine become just another diaper bag disguised as a purse?  When did this happen?  Back in my DC days, my purses were Kate Spade knock-offs that I could get for $25 at the K Street corner vendor and only I knew otherwise.  Chic and stylish.  Or, if I was trying to be a minimalist, I wouldn't carry a purse at all, but just a tiny vintage cigarette case I'd scored off Ebay to act as my wallet and that fit snugly in the back pocket of my jeans. It carried just the necessary cards.  (Who uses cash and coin anymore?)

Fast forward many years later, and my purse is more like a shoulder bag, so not stylish, and contains several items that can be used in case of an emergency.  Skinned your knee at the playground, G?  Let's slather on some Neosporin! (though I should probably add some band-aids to complete the medical supplies).  Need a quick diap change?  No problem there! (Unless it's one of an explosive nature, for which there is definitely nothing in the bag to  help in a situation like that.)  Runny nose?  Tissues to the rescue! A meltdown on the horizon because you're hungry and I forced you to run an errand with me before we get home from work/school?  Goldfish can help! 
Who knew I had a plan for these several potential crises? I'm not sure at which point my purse did become part diaper bag, but the reality is it has, so clearly I've passed the Boy Scout golden rule to always "be prepared".  The thing is, I already have a perfectly fine diaper bag.  It currently sits on our dining room table.  It also is stocked with the necessities, plus a few more, for those longer excursions away from home.  The purse-bag goes with me every day to work, while G is at daycare.  There's really no need to carry all that stuff if he's not even with me during the day.  I keep his cubby well stocked at daycare, so the diaper bag need not stay either.  A quandary.

This is where the fine line between being prepared as a mom to an active toddler and attempting some semblance of style is blurry.  Maybe it's because I no longer care that my purse match my shoes, coat etc.  Maybe it's because since living in Maine my wardrobe and accessories have definitely seen a dramatic change--not necessarily a bad thing, just different.  Maybe it's because priorities have shifted.  I don't know.

Here's what I do know: when my fingers grazed the powdery remains of Goldfish, my first reaction wasn't of irritation or annoyance at now having half the bag of colorful fish spread throughout my purse, likely causing a cheesy crumbled mess. Instead I grinned.  In my day that is often fraught with putting out small fires, making people happy who don't necessarily deserve it, and overall being crazy busy, this small token of my little boy puts me back on track and ready to face whatever comes my way.  Even though he's not physically with me during the work day, I need only to look into my bag for the sweet reminders of him. And my computer desktop background.  And the two framed photos of him on my desk.  And the wallpaper on my phone.  I'm sure my purse aka Magic Mommy Bag will continue to carry these things, unnecessarily or not.  But that's ok.  At least I'll always be prepared and always be reminded.

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