Don’t get me wrong. I still carry a purse, but now it’s technically more of a tote/canvas bag/whatever is nearby kind of a thing. That’s because I’m a mom and gorgeous handbags have been replaced by practical totes meant to carry whatever is needed.
Prior to becoming a mom, my handbag collection was carefully curated, with each bag having it’s own story to tell. In good years, I could count on a coveted handbag as a gift from my husband for my birthday or anniversary. I had seasonal bags, nighttime bags, and bags that might stain easily, but never did.
And then I had kids and my stylish handbags turned into diaper bags, turned beach bags, turned whatever is big enough bags that I wouldn’t mind getting covered in food, spilled water, and lord knows what else my kids would throw my way.
My handbags used to be filled with up-to-date lip liners and their matching lipsticks. I’d have a bit of cash, a credit card or two, a cell phone, and a tampon. I needed nothing more. My life was relatively unconstrained and the contents of my handbag reflected as such. My bags had hip names given to them by the designer like Muse, Dream, or Majorca. Bags were like my companions, on hand for first dates, last dates, girl fights, my engagement, and my wedding.
Now my bags have an entirely different story to tell. My bags aren’t just the keepers of snack packs of goldfish crackers or mashed up pretzels one of the kids dumped without me noticing. My bags are the keepers of my children’s stories. My bags are the spare underwear carriers and the carry-all for crayons kept on hand for dinner out with the kids. My bags are now Lego carriers, action figure sherpas, and the holder of hair ties that the little one will invariably request.
Sometimes I look at my unstylish, unhip bags, and I miss the old days. I miss my pre-mom days when I could purchase a purse instead of think of tuition or braces. Thinking about my old purses makes me miss the old me, unconstrained, frivolous and impractical.
So when I start missing the old me, I just dig down the bottom of my current bag. In between the rogue Tic-Tac and the Band-Aid lying in wait is a notepad and pen that I always keep in my purse. I look through it and see that my children have hijacked the pad and covered it in notes to me. My 7-year-old will have written countless versions of, “I love mi Mom and Dady,” in handwriting just messier than that of a serial killer. His 3-year-old sister will have followed suit, writing her own version of an ode to me. She can’t write her letters yet, so she’ll just write squiggly lines over and over, as if she’s written me a letter as well.
By bags are no longer cool and hip and neither am I. My bags are now full of water bottles, half eaten apples, sunscreen, and barrettes. Someday when my kids are bigger, I’m sure I’ll have nice bags again. Until then, this old bag is content with her old bags. My handbags aren’t just filled with my kids’ junk, they’re filled with my kids’ memories. It may not be trendy and chic, but it’s beautiful none the less.