Welcome to another installment of “Musings of a Mid-Life Mom,” the monthly guest column by the very talented Ashley Bass. A gut clenching, chin dropping, enthusiastic view on kids, men and all the other stuff that gives us wrinkles!
Case Study 1: The Handbag
On Labor Day weekend, the fam and I struck out on an errand. It seems ‘we’ were in need of a new grill. I’m never one to discourage a certain part of ’we’ from cooking dinner so, as any self-respecting American would do, we hopped in our big F-250 and headed to Sears. The kids had had a great day thus far. We had gone to the park, eaten lunch, and had naps. What could possibly go wrong? Answer: I would discover that motherhood not only effected my body, mind, soul, and every thought…it also effects (wait for it….) MY FREAKIN PURSE.
We pulled into the mall parking lot, unloaded, and strolled inside. The children behaved as perfectly as any 2 and 3 year old possibly could. They walked with us, looked around at all the stuff in wonderment (Sears is no Target, ya know), and generally impressed us with their good manners. Once in the outdoor department Jason began the ’grill purchasing dance’ by talking to the nice older gay gentleman who seemed to be an authority on grilling. A grill was chosen. This is the part of the purchasing process where they stick it to you! Apparently, we needed a new propane tank, a grill cover, new grilling tools, and every other new thing a man could possibly think he needed to cook a perfect steak. At this point the kids were getting antsy, so I took them on a walk through the clothing department, in hopes of distracting them just long enough…
Chaos! Jake started running in and out of the racks, Libby set out in hot pursuit, her sole intention of cataloging enough information for a really great tattle session. I looked desperately over my shoulder to check the progress of the checkout, only to see Jason and Sweety in a very deep conversation about the pros and cons of a stainless steel finish versus a matte finish. Damn, I need a miracle! So I look in my purse. I don’t know what I thought I’d find in there… ah, a snack baggie full of Cheerios, Kix, and Goldfish. I have miraculously found a bag of Toddler Crack in this purse I’m carrying. Not only that, but I hand over a Nemo sticker, an Elmo sticker, and a little Matchbox car. What the Hell???? Where did this purse come from? I’ll tell you where. It came straight from Heaven! I know it came from Heaven because there is no way it’s mine! I’m way too awesome to be the owner of this purse. This purse belongs to some sad woman who wears mom jeans and is obsessed with sewing her kids Halloween costumes.
My very elegant and expensive handbag was a gift to myself after a particularly harrowing business trip, too many years ago. I had never spent more than 20 bucks on a purse until I saw this one. I remember it like it was yesterday… Walking through Neiman’s, or Nordstroms, or Saks.. Okay, maybe not like it was yesterday, but I sorta remember staggering through some department store in High Point, NC after having ‘celebrated’ a very successful sales trip. I tripped, my cheap purse broke, and I saw a pretty cute, but too expensive handbag (read cost as much as my mortgage payment now) under the glass in the purse department of some un-remembered department store. I pointed, the saleswoman handed it to me, and I dumped the contents of my wounded warrior into a new and gorgeous handbag! (If it’s expensive it’s called a ‘handbag’).
My purse used to be an oasis in the desert. I could always find a matching wallet that actually had money in it, a pen, a pack of cigarettes, a Diet Coke (seriously), a tampon, my Blackberry, a calendar full of really important grown-up stuff, and at least three different lipsticks. On Labor Day Weekend 2010, I discovered this purse I carried looked sorta the same on the outside as the one from six years ago, but the guts of it had changed as much as mine had. The Toddler Crack had replaced the cigarettes, the empty wallet was one I found in a drawer when my old one became a toy, crayons had replaced the tampons (and let me tell you that was an awfully grim discovery!), the Tylenol once used to tame a morning headache is still there but in its infant form to be used for fevers and new teeth, and my calendar now has a whole bunch of three-year olds birthday parties, new baby’s sip-n-sees, volunteer committee meetings, and a whole bunch of other functions that don‘t serve adult beverages.
Good Lord! One of the most depressing parts of my discovery came when I took a good hard look at the purse I was carrying and discovered it was my once glorious handbag. Now some of the logo-print has been colored in with pink crayon, one of the straps has been used, on many occasions, as a teether, the zipper is broken, the once pristine suede bottom is now all grungy and dirty, and it’s lost all of it’s shape- at this very moment it is sitting all collapsed and pitiful on the floor next to my desk. I just realized my handbagis now just a purse. It started life on the shoulder of a ’go getter’ and is reaching the end of its’ life on the shoulder of a ’step-n-fetcher’ (for those of you not from Texas a ‘Step-n-Fetcher‘ is the ‘Go Getter’s‘ gopher, a maid/nurse/cook/wash-woman… a mom). To add insult to injury, the gal who works for me carries a lovely Burberry handbag, and some days a pristine Louis with matching wallet! I’m getting real bitter about that… I think I’ll fire her for the rest of the day!! Bitch! After I kick her smug ass out of the store, I’m making an empowered decision! I shall be handbag carrier again!
I think I’ll hussle out and get myself a new bag this weekend! I see a girls road trip in my future. Here is what’s going to happen. A group of four of five of us are going to pile into one of our Mom-type vehicles. We are going to hit the Interstate and head South! We shall have brunch at the Four Seasons then head out to shop. If I do it correctly, I will enjoy enough mimosas at brunch to keep me deliriously happy for a couple of hours. (Maybe my old purse can see its way clear to hold a flask one last time.) I am going to walk into the Neiman’s and point at the prettiest handbag I see, buy it, and take it home!! I’m so excited! Once I get it home, I’m going to load it up with all the things I need. I will stand in front of the mirror modeling with it and then I, too, shall be smug! The bag will be wonderful and I shall be happy. Then…I will unload it, put it back in it’s nice felt pouch, return it to it’s box, and put it in my closet. Happiness is knowing it will be there waiting for me… when the time is right.