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Whose purse is it anyway?

Submitted by on Sunday, 1 June 2008 No Comment

Originally published Oct. 9, 2007, thehive.modbee.com

A mom limped her way to Saturday’s soccer game, her flip-flop having flopped halfway across the parking lot when one of her kids accidentally stepped on it.

“Anyone have any tape? A safety pin?” she asked. I have all this stuff for the kids, she said, but nothing to fix my shoe with. Can you believe it, she asked.

Well, yes. I have a receiving blanket and a warm snuggly bunting in the trunk of my car, and I’m not even sure which kid they’re left from. Do I have any idea where my umbrella is? Let’s just say my current plan is to hope it really doesn’t rain tomorrow.

The sad state of the car doesn’t bother me much, because my automobiles always have been four-door versions of Fred Sanford’s truck. But my purse – oh, my formerly svelte, stylish purse! Now, that one hurts.

Truth in advertising: My purses always would have fared well on “Let’s Make a Deal.” Back when I was a reporter, my handbag would show up in a room 10 minutes before I did. I had to have something huge enough to hold a tape recorder, notepads, pens for any weather that might arise and a mini umbrella. A friend called it my shoplifting bag, but at least I knew where my umbrella was.

Over the years, desk jobs have let me to scale up and down, depending on the mood. Spring cleaning would see me in a cute little purse-let. You know the kind – it barely holds a lipstick, license and ATM card. Think Miata.

By fall, as the junk accumulated, I’d be back in the full-size model. But my biggest was the handbag equivalent of a Lexus – roomy enough to get me there, but not something that screamed Mom.

Now, I’m toting a mini-van. It’s 12 inches tall, 18 inches long and almost a foot wide now.

The contents: a pamphlet from Big Guy’s doctor, three rubber gloves, a Bluetooth I bought almost a year ago and haven’t had time to learn. Eleven pay stubs, and two notes from the guys’ teachers about what they would study in September. Oops.

Percy, Toby and Harold – it’s a “Thomas” thing. Eight sticker backs — the fronts are probably stuck in my car. An asthma inhaler and a dried-out pack of wipes.

Two packages of SpongeBob cheese crackers, plus the remnants of the third. Four stray sticks of gum and an indeterminate amount of gum chips. Reminders about soccer and school picture days. Twenty-six papers from school, telling me how much the guys ate and whether they napped. Three diapers.

Five pens – I’d wondered where they’d all gone. Ten sales receipts, ranging from Raley’s to Big Lots to Kohl’s to Orchard Supply. The oldest is from June 24, but the rest are within three weeks, so I’m not doing so bad there.

What’s missing: Other than a wallet, anything that really belongs to me. Anything that says I am a person, not just a child maintenance unit. No makeup. No earrings that looked cute in the morning but became purse chum by 10 a.m., as phone conversations became painful. Not even a comb.

And that’s why none of us could help that poor mom Saturday morning. It’s something they never tell you in the “getting ready for baby books”: Once the kid arrives, your purse ceases to be your own.

Copyright 2007 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.

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