Our 60 days of gratitude are winding down. We only have two weeks until the big birthday. This summer has been filled with a lot of ups and downs, but each night I whisper my prayer of thanks.
We are all getting giddy with excitement for our vacation and I suspect that there will be great floods of gratitude pouring out of us as we embark on our trip. A trip designed to really highlight the “little” things (which are, of course, the big things): nature, beauty, our active bodies, time with family, a slower pace, sunshine, water, peace.
But gratitude isn’t always about the big, little things. Sometimes it is about not hitting too much traffic on the way home. Or having some time to take an unscheduled bath. Or finding just the right word to express how you are feeling. And tonight my gratitude is about…
It’s an ugly old thing. Army green and black, it is actually a diaper bag. And it was probably the best thing I registered for when I was pregnant.
I had help when I was registering. Kind of ironic, looking back, that I allowed so many decisions to be made by someone who wasn’t sticking around to actually use any of the stuff, but at the time I was so happy to have a partner, I probably would have agreed to just about anything. And there it was in the diaper bag “dad” section. Filled with no frills bags in bland colors, so that no dad would be embarrassed to be carrying a bright, polka-dotted diaper bag around town. And though I looked longingly at the pretty bags, I’m nothing if not practical and not only did a backpack seem like a great idea, I would have bought anything that would ensure help from the dad of the twin tornadoes who were on the way. So, we registered for the backpack and a matching messenger bag which could be used on a quick trip to the store or whatever and it was a done deal. I was never a particularly frilly girl anyway.
Alas, no dad ever wielded that bag. But, I found as a single mom of twins, it was actually super handy to have my hands free at all times. And considering that leaving the house meant taking a shitload of diapers (pun intended) and wipes and pacifiers and bottles and changes of clothes and then as they got older, snacks and bandaids and first aid and…well, that damn bag was just about the most perfect gift I could have received.
From our first trip on an airplane (have you ever tried to change a baby in the bathroom of an airplane? It’s a treat!) to our latest trip to the beach just a couple of weeks ago, the backpack has gone everywhere with us. Affectionately known as “the family backpack”, it has grown from diaper bag and airplane carryon to daypack and overnight bag. It’s our go-to, our right-hand, our partner-in-crime.
I know it seems silly to have such an attachment to a bag. As discussed, it isn’t pretty. There have been many times since the baby years passed when I’ve thought I could find a more attractive alternative, but then I feel like I’m thinking of trading in my faithful mate for a younger, sexier model and I scoff at myself. Good looks aren’t everything, after all. I should know.
Ten years this bag has been there through thick and thin. Through diaper explosions and delayed flights and trips to the ER; through parties and picnics and camping trips, it’s been our constant companion. It’s solid. Strong. Dependable. Versatile. Sometimes over-burdened, but never quits on us. So much more than a pretty face.
And even though its original destiny was to be a “dad bag”, I’d like to think that it has received more use and love as our “family backpack”, proving that even the destiny of an inanimate object can change and find true purpose beyond the supposed-tos and could-have-beens.
Now, as the boys tenth birthday draws near and we prepare for one of our greatest adventures to date (both our trip and our entrance into the double-digits of life), I find myself appreciating this bag anew.
Thank you, old friend. I’m so grateful you’ve stuck by me all this time.