Sunday, April 19, 2009

Carry On

As I was plodding through the rain to my car, I had bags in one hand, keys and an umbrella in the other, a purse slung over my shoulder and a phone between my shoulder and my ear. My oldest was walking, head down, engrossed in a video game trying to stay under the umbrella. Half way across the parking lot, he started juggling a book he was carrying, pulled it out from under his arm, and- without looking up- said, "Could you hold this?"

"Huh?" I asked, incredulously.

"Can you hold this?" he asked again, as though explaining it to the profoundly stupid.

"Keith," I began, "we could not be more than five feet from the car. You hold it. Besides, where would I carry it?"

He spared me a quick glance, verified my statements and said, "Oh. Okay."

I have come to realize that when God created females, He modeled us after many different animals. Lately I feel like one of those animal characteristics has been called upon more than the others. I have been a talking, walking pack mule.

While my kids play tag, run circles around me and try to kill each other, I'm like a human shopping cart, to which things keep getting added. Normal humans would have to have an additional twelve arms to carry what we super-moms can manage.

I recently switched from carrying a large purse to a tiny one. On any given day, I could have made millions on "Let's Make a Deal." Yo-yos, candy, Barbie Dolls, a Bratz doll with one leg missing, Legos, pony-tail holders, a broken Christmas ornament, used and unused band aids, and various other oddities floated aimlessly in the bottom of my purse. And it was commonplace for my children to bound up to me with something else in hand and ask, "Mom, can you hold this for me?" I'd nod as I would shove the newest treasure into my seemingly endless, uncomfortably heavy purse.

Finally, I developed a shoulder pain that was pesky enough to keep me from sleeping well. That was the proverbial straw, and I began searching for little purses. Once I made the switch, I thought, I wouldn't have to carry nearly as much.

Well, I don't have to carry as much in my purse. But it has not insulated me from being my children's "go-to gal" to hold all their miscellaneous "stuff."

Who else but a mom would have in their arms, at the same time, a poster board from a project, a library book on bugs, grocery bags, a gym bag with very ripe, dirty clothes, the mail, a stuffed animal and a diet coke? And still have their seven-year-old look up at them and say, "Will you hold me, mom?"

I think a collapsible grocery cart should be standard issue for all new moms. When they are babies, you could use it for all of the diapers, extra outfits, baby wipes, bottles, etc. you lug around. When they get older, it would allow someplace for all the Happy Meal toys, juice boxes, goldfish snacks and all the extras, too. School years would be so much easier and efficient with a cart to carry all the jackets, notebooks, backpacks, lunch boxes, etc. And summers would be much more fun when you could push all the floats, swim towels, picnic baskets, sunscreen and everything else.

As a mom prepares for her "empty nest" when the children leave the home, it is not only the house that feels empty and quiet. There are no more requests from little people to, "Hold this."

The large luggage-like bag she once called a purse, crammed with enough preparedness to make a boyscout feel inferior, can be scaled down to a wallet, cell phone and keys.

So while I complain about feeling like a mountain of clothes and stuff that can walk and talk, I am very mindful of the fact that all of those "things" represent some very special children. Children who I would not trade for the world...

Children who could really carry their own things every once and I while, don't you think????

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