Another Lesson In Surviving Parenthood...
As I woman, I have often lost essential items in the bottomless pit that is my purse. Men might not have any idea what I am talking about... yet. So for you men I have a few questions...
Where do you keep your car keys? How about your wallet? Your Blackberry or cell phone? Your change? Work supplies? Your pens? Comb? Your lipstick? (Yeah, I don't wear lipstick either but I do carry around chapstick.) If you mentioned a briefcase, backpack, gym bag or computer bag, then you are just carrying what your ego describes as a 'manly bag' which is just another name for purse! (For that matter, I don't like carrying a purse around either. Give me jeans with pockets for change, keys and ID and I'm a very happy woman. Ah, the joy of life without kids.)
All things change once the children come along. Children will give you enough experience in Disaster Mitigation, Preparedness, Response and Recovery Planning to be able to run FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) with one eye closed and your hands tied behind your back while standing on your head!
When children are very young you have to bring along a diaper bag every time you go out or horrific events will occur! Trust me on this. As they get older they need even more additional items such as band-aids, antibiotic, snacks, pencil, paper, game books (to keep them entertained), wipes, hand sanitizer or (again.I.repeat) horrific events ensue when they are left behind. (The items, not the kids... actually, I guess that depends on where you leave the kids but that's a different post altogether...)
I was under the gross misapprehension that once my kids were past the diaper and kindergarten stage, I would again regain the use of my arm for more productive endeavors. Nope. Then comes the carrying of backpacks, sport equipment, show and tell items, works of art created from the imagination from the same child who can not imagine a clean room. In winter, there is extra boots, clothes etc.
So it is with no great revelation that I have a love/hate relationship with my handbag. Or purse. Or backpack. Or luggage. Whatever you want to call it as it does change in size and it's variety of optional organization pockets and system of managing everything. (Including the kitchen sink if you've seen some of the sizes of some of these monstrosities!)
But despite all this, I still had hope. Once the kids hit the teenage years, I couldn't imagine what I would have to carry around for them. By that time they are self-sufficient, right?
WRONG! I'm still finding things my kids have kindly deposited in my purse because they either don't have pockets or the item is too big for the pockets they have... So I decided to stop carrying a purse. Problem solved...
Except that now, I have to juggle my wallet, keys, a book while waiting for the kids to get out of whatever activity they're involved in. Hand sanitizer and tissue (because this is the flu season) Paper and writing utensils to remind me of all the things that I forget to do. Date book to keep the appointments of a family of seven. Comb. And lets not forget the supply of advil, tylenol, midol, feminine products. (I DO have at least five of us women in the family so far who always seem to need these things) Grocery list and coupons. A small first aid kit with only band-aids, individual packets of antibiotics, antiseptic wipes, tweezers and safety pins. And let's not forget the cell phone and ipod with chargers and earphones.
So I came up with the idea of finding a small over the shoulder beach kinda duffel bag with lots of pockets so that I can leave the things that won't melt or freeze in my car. (That was my intention anyway.)
While doing normal shopping in Target one spring I found one! It is canvas (so it's washable!), about 18” long with two straps so you can wear it like a packpack. It has two outside pockets with Velcro closures. Inside it had a single zippered pocket and a canvas zippered pouch which could be detached from a canvas line attached near the top of the bag. COOL, I thought. I’ll never lose my wallet/change purse again! I can put my stuff in there and even if stuff gets thrown on top in an emergency, all I have to do is pull the cord. SOLD! I went home with that little baby in my hot little hands. (after duly purchasing said item, of course – my hands are not THAT hot...)
I was thinking all my problems are now solved. Granted, this canvas bag is slightly bigger than my normal purse but once I get out of the van, I wear it like a backpack. So what’s the problem you ask? It sounds perfect...
Except that since I am wearing it like a backpack the kids have started to put stuff in the outer pockets when we are out since they’re so handy. MP3 players, earphones, half eaten pack of chewing gum, used tissue (Euwww!!!) Since it’s a duffle like contraption they’ve started asking if they can put their shopping bags inside. And their soda bottles. And whatever else they don’t want to carry.
“What am I? A pack mule?” I finally snapped while in the middle of the mall. You don’t want to know what they answered back with. Let’s just say that if I could’ve gotten my hands on the little darlings, I would have applied some Motherly discipline.
Unfortunately, I can’t say that they are the only ones contributing to this bag….
So I’m standing at the counter at the Subway sub shop yesterday. Our sandwiches had been made, soda and chips had been picked out. “$28.26, Mam.” I start digging through my purse for my wallet.
I was tugging on the tether strap attached to the wallet. Have I mentioned that this is a LONG strap? Finally it comes out of the bowels of the bag. I open it up and pull out the cash I have on hand in bills. $26.00. No problem, I thought, I’ll just use the debit card. I look through the wallet and pouch three times and NO debit card.
OH NO! I must have just tossed it in on top of everything when I stopped for gas. I peer into the depths of the purse. Nope, not a sign of it. Checking all the pockets just in case. My good luck angel is out to lunch. So I start taking things out of my purse and laying them on the counter. Notebook, envelopes, writing pad, box of tissue – at this point everyone is staring at me. I’m holding up the line. The kids look at the tissue box and start howling with laughter. They are pointing at it and asking in the loudest, most obnoxious voices ever “A BOX of tissue?”
Luckily I found the debit card under the tissue box and handed to the cashier who was now looking at me like I was some kind of alien species.
I turned to the kids “I kept forgetting to put it in the car for you little cretins of mischief. So I had put it in my purse so I wouldn’t forget again!” (And I had forgotten to take it out.)
They continued to howl with laughter all the way out of the store…
QOTD: “Good families are generally worse than any other.” Anthony Hope (1863-1933) The Prisoner of Zenda