I knew I had a problem after I bought my first diaper bag in 1996. I suspected it before that when I was working and had an unusually high number of female sized brief cases, but the diaper bag situation really solidified my suspicions– I have a bag problem.
I purchased a diaper bag before my first baby’s birth. In the store I was dreaming of sashaying about town with this stylish diaper bag over my shoulder and an adorable, clean and perfectly behaved baby in my arms.
When the baby arrived and I realized that the cute diaper bag was only good for short runs to- maybe- the mailbox, not for full hour long adventures to such exotic locales as Target and the post office. (also if I had any chance of a clean baby, I needed more stuff than that stylish bag could carry)
So one diaper bag lead to an entire wardrobe of Not The Perfect But Really Cute and Suitable For Certain Situations Only diaper bags.
This problem remained semi-dormant after the diaper bag years, probably because I rarely shopped for myself. My purse collection which was stashed on a closet shelf , was a jumble of discount store grabs, flea market finds, mother-in-law hand-me downs and a very rare, sweet leathery splurge. I carried the same black bag to church for over 5 years, used a cross body most days until it looked like hell then replaced it with another; I had one clutch that I found at a resale shop when my daughter was buying jeans.
Then I spotted a Vera Bradley purse.
Actually, I spotted a torrent of Vera Bradley purses. Not being one to follow a fashion trend or purchase something for the label- I silently mocked those carrying them.
“Pfft, Please. Everyone and their 11 year-old daughter are carrying these things. Talk about a uniform,” I would say as I scrolled through the Vera Bradley website.
But then I fell victim to the colorful fabrics that added whimsy to my friends outfits; sunshine to a dreary drop-off lane.
But I couldn’t carry a bag like that, too flashy.
So I bought a wallet.
I love that wallet. Perfect size for my stuff, it holds my phone and has a wrist strap if I ever need it. Which I do.
Perfect size to schlep books and all the file folders I use when we record podcasts or the materials I use when I talk to classrooms. Plus, that pattern! It says, “I can function as a mature adult, but really? I’m not all that serious.”
One day I was in a store and a cross-body bag not only leapt into my hands, but it flopped itself down at the cashiers counter, grabbed my credit card and then, mysteriously, my purse contents were quickly organized in the many pockets and slots inside. (I think my friends, the birds and mice did it all while I sang.)
“STOP!” I told myself. “You have enough. No more Vera “I’m One Of Them Now” Bradley purses or wallets or eyeglass cases. NOTHING!”
Apparently I listen to myself about as well as my kids do.
Before I would allow myself to unwrap this one I went through the closet shelf that was overstuffed with bags. I collected the totes, the cross-bodies, the clutches and the wear-on-my-arm bags of many styles. I thinned the collection down to just a few favorites and gave the rest to a group collecting women’s clothes and accessories.
And now, I am done.