A Blogazine, based out of Park Slope, Brooklyn, that features fun and interesting articles. Topics include: parenting, society, real estate, career, style, spirituality and more. Written contributions are always welcome!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

I Am a Bag Lady

Bethany Rule Vedder

I am a bag lady, and proud of it. It's an honorable profession in my family, made so by my 92-year-old grandmother whose bag I first dug treasures out of during church. By my definition, bag ladies are always ready to go, have a good pinch of wanderlust, and love people. They don't require much in the way of possessions, but focus on being ready to roll when the opportunity arises.

It's hard to stay in touch with my true bag-lady roots when just leaving the house in the morning requires a lunch bag, toy, and pillow for the strollered one, a backpack, snack, and shoelace help for the elder son, and keys/phone/breakfast/running gear for me. Diaper bags, reusable shopping bags, and deep pockets are far more a part of my world at the moment than the suitcases and overnight bags that are buried pretty deeply in the closet. Sigh. I had the pleasure last week, however, of spending a couple days at the retirement center where my grandma lives, visiting with her. While she no longer throws her suitcase in the trunk and drives across three states to come visit me, she still has a purse slung over her walker, complete with handicap parking sign (just in case someone takes her out), her room key, a compact, gum, and a wad of kleenex. She may be confined, but she's still ready for that next adventure!

Bags make me feel ready whatever the day throws at me. They empower me, prepare me, and weigh me down. As moms, we tend to carry something with us for every anticipated need, desire, delay, and possibility. While I struggle sometimes with bag envy, wishing I didn't have to carry so much, I have to admit it's less about the literal schlepping of a myriad of things, and more about what I feel responsible for. The hidden weights that make it a challenge for me to be spontaneous, free, and ready for adventure! To be a true bag lady. I know that it's more about my mindset than the contents of my ever-shifting bag, and that I have a lot to learn from my still-dancing grandmother who hasn't lost her spark or her itch to travel, even if her range is limited to breakfast at the closest Bob Evans whenever family is in town.

Bag ladies seize opportunities as they come, go where they're needed, and always have a trick or two in their current bag. The less I take, the more creative I learn to be with what I do have. It feels like I don't have much these days, with work and funds in short supply, but I do have my attitude, my family, my creativity, my hopes, and my dreams. They're always in my bag, even when I lose them at the bottom of a pocket of dispair. The fewer things I have, the more I can do and the freer I feel. Backwards logic perhaps, but it's a way of life for us bag ladies!

Bethany Rule Vedder, is a coach, wife, sometimes sane mom to Douglas (2002) and Fynn (2006). Bethany is Editor in Chief, of Sanemoms.com. A site came from the belief that talking about what keeps us sane, and sharing our stories, is a wonderful way to validate and strengthen who we are as moms, and what it is that makes us strong. Bethany lives in Park Slope and is also a regular contributor of Hip Slope Mama.