A mother's purse is a magical treasure trove of answers. Answers to life's most pressing questions. "Do you have any aspirin? Do you have a bandaid?" Right? If you're a mom you know what I mean. People always wonder why we carry the backbreaking purse. "Do you really NEED all this stuff?" They think it's because we are insecure. A mother's purse is the family backpack. Do a search of your purse right now. And if you are a man, look through your wife's purse. If she were alone she would never be carrying YOUR wallet, or everyone a bottle of water or the snacks your son will need after school. My purse has baggie upon baggie of things for survival.
But it pales in comparison to my mother's purse. It was so filled with the most unbelievable items when I was growing up that I just knew one day she might pull an entire dining room set right out of her bag, complete with floor lamps and a buffet hutch. Oh sure, she had the usual stuff, bandaids, and aspirin, but she also had the bactine and a bottle of peroxide! I really though she might actually pull out an entire Walgreens store right then and there sometimes. Antacids? She not only had the Rolaids, she had Tums, and an entire bottle of Pepto Bismal. "You need different tummy drugs for different tummy troubles, and every kid likes different antacids." Uh huh. One day we were in a hotel room and I was trying to plug in my hair dryer at the desk so someone else could use the bathroom. I said, "I sure wish I had an extension cord." Guess what. Yep, right out of the old purse my mother scooped in her hand and produced a 9 foot extension cord! I shook my head. And dried my hair. Even recently, my son needed batteries for something, and he said the magic words, "I sure wish I had some double A's." And my mother produced a baggie of batteries...in EVERY size...even 9 volts! Even perfect strangers need only utter a wish and I have seen my mother pull out little bags filled with neosporin and gauze. A little ice skater was crying with bleeding blisters one day and the tears caught my mother's compassionate heart and she walked over to the anxious mom and child and fixed her right up. No crying children in MY mother's presence! No siree!
When I was really young I thought of her purse as magical. Kinda like Mary Poppins bag. I thought it a rite of passage. When I grew up, certainly I would be passed down the secrets of the magic purse. Like the President gets the BOOK OF SECRETS when he becomes the keeper of the Oval Office.
I would finally get to know just how you pull out ANYTHING anyone EVER needs, from a seemingly normal, albeit large, sized bag. One day when I was in about the seventh grade, my mom was driving me to school. We were late so I was eating toast in the car. Crumbs were flaking everywhere and I blurted out, "I sure wish I had a plate." My mother reached over the console and produced a ceramic plate from her purse. A Plate. A CERAMIC plate. Was in her purse. THEN, she said without batting an eye, "Do you need a knife?" She kept driving, looking forward, like this was normal, all in a days work. Why, everyone has a ceramic plate and a knife in the purse. What's wrong with you? I sat looking at her, brows furrowed, mouth open, like I KNEW this was NOT normal. I had friends and I just KNEW their mothers did not have table settings of plates and flatware in their handbags. No, they did not. At that very moment I knew my mother was not normal. People had been telling me this for years! But NOW, I had proof! She had just pulled a PLATE from her purse...WHILE DRIVING!
As I sat staring at her. It was a moment I will never forget. I KNEW in that instant I would NEVER get the SECRET BOOK,
I would not be passed the secret handbag full of magic. It belonged to my mother. And it was HERS alone. There would never be another one after hers. She filled it with her own brand of love. Love for her was being there for everyone who ever may need her, or anything she has in her magic purse.
She is a care-taker of ALL souls. She has never told anyone "no, " or "I can't help." No, her purse is overflowing with help for everyone, just as her heart is overflowing with love and compassion for everyone. Her magical bag is HER. Filled to capacity with items for anyone, whatever their needs may be.
I will never have my mother's purse. I try my best. For as a mother it is now my job to "take care" of people. And although I try to fill my bag with all of the magic my mother's purse held, her bag will always have things I am lacking. Things I still need in my daily adult life. And it is a comfort to know that she is still there with that magical purse. All I have to do is say.."I sure wish I had a ...." And these days it comes next day air. The magical purse is still filled with my mother's own one of a kind brand of magic. Her wisdom, her love and her guidance. That's what fills her purse. And while I cannot produce at this moment a plate or an extension cord from my cute silver handbag, I will try to recreate the love that was always in my mother's magical purse. For the LOVE that was inside was what was really magical.