I’ve coveted it for years. Ever since I was old enough to know who Louis Vuitton was and what made “his” bags so special, I’ve wanted it. It’s a silly thing to covet really – a purse. But this isn’t just any purse; this is my mom’s Louis Vuitton “Speedy” bag.
It’s the bag I most associate with her, and it’s the bag I most associate with my childhood. She bought it before I was born for $100. (You heard me right: $100.) It’s her go-to bag – her first love in the handbag world. Yes, it’s a “designer” bag, but somehow this is Jackie O., not Kim Kardashian.
She always swore my sister and I would never get it – that she couldn’t decide who should be entitled to it so neither of us would win. Well, my sister saved up and bought her own several years ago (after we had a Chardonnay-lunch at Arthur’s in SouthPark and together got brave enough to actually go through with it – obviously she more so than I).
I never invested in one – I am not exactly sure why. Maybe it’s because even with a husband and four kids, I still don’t feel grown up enough to own a Louis Vuitton (or maybe it’s because of the four kids – sports fees, clothes for growing kids, and four 529 plans are my Louis Vuitton – OK and maybe with a little Lululemon mixed in).
Well, this past Christmas, my mom came to the house with some bad news about that Louis. She explained it had an irreparable break in the zipper so it would finally be retired. She’d hang on to it for posterity, but wouldn’t use it.
Well, of course, I felt an immediate need to adopt it – I mean, who cares if the zipper is broken? Who has time to zip their purse anyway??
I carefully brought up the idea to my mom, and to my surprise, she was totally game.
I don’t think she knows what the bag symbolizes. If she did, she probably wouldn’t have given it up so easily. To me, it’s the essence of my mom: beautiful but humble; classy but not showy; sturdy and well loved.
When I carry it, I instantly feel the qualities I so wish I could’ve inherited from my mom but just didn’t quite get: unbelievable organizational skills and preparedness. I mean, I have four children, and I never seem to have a Band-Aid or a Kleenex, but my mom has those plus a safety pin and anti-bacterial wipes.
How many countless times had she reached in this bag to get me something when I was little – a tissue when I was upset, a piece of gum when I was bored at church, a bandage when I had fallen in the park? And how lucky am I to get to do the same thing for my kids (well, I probably won’t have the Band-Aid or tissue, but I will totally have the gum)?!
I can guarantee you there were no sippy cups or Goldfish ever carried in that bag (and somehow I survived without either at my immediate disposal). There isn’t a speck of dirt or lipstick stain inside the bag – she managed to keep it pristine for over 35 years. And she used the bag all the time! I mean, if that isn’t a high standard to live up to, I don’t know what is.
But, that’s my mom. Quietly remarkable.
I know I have a huge responsibility with this thing. I intend to carry the bag proudly knowing it has seen more of the world than I have. If I’m ever in doubt of what to do, I can look to the bag and know exactly what my mom would do: stay strong and humble.
I hope one day my daughter will quietly ask me to adopt it because it is the only bag she associates with the women who helped mold and shape her.
And, maybe she’ll finally see how lucky she is to be the only girl among all of these boys when she looks around and realizes there is no sister to fight her for it.
(Side note: The above picture of my mom, me (in the stroller), and my sister was VERY hard to find. I know it’s a little like a “Where’s Waldo” picture for the Louis, but you can see it hanging there by the stroller. Here’s an idea for us moms: we need to take more pictures of ourselves with our accessories because we just never know how our kids will want to remember us – it might just be with that fabulous handbag that we saved up for months to buy.)
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