At varying times over the past 18 years that I've been a mom, my purses—regardless of size—have held extra tissues, bottles, diapers, wipes, fruit snacks, Poptarts, candy, apples, soda, apple sauce and crayons. The older my children get the more space I claim of my own. My purse now holds lipstick, lip liner, lip gloss, pens, gum, an eye glass case and the occasional Lego.
It’s hard to feel sexy when you have a coconut in your purse.
Yet just this past weekend I slipped an entire coconut into my purse because my 8 year old won a coconut and he couldn’t hold the coconut while playing games at the fair and I couldn’t hold the coconut while eating a strawberry ice cream cone. Long after we left the fair the coconut lay nestled in my bag beneath napkins and scraps of paper, notes and coins.
After getting my children settled in for the evening I went back to the fair for the adult portion of the event. I drank a carbonated raspberry, apple concoction that I’m pretty sure was sparkling water and sat on a bench in the front row: a prime seat to view a band I wouldn’t have otherwise seen singing songs from the 80s and 90s that I wouldn’t have otherwise heard.
"I'm going back to the grad fair," I told my oldest son.
I didn't have a reason: I just wanted to go. If I'm not with my family I don't really go out a lot. My social life now is a lot different than it was 20 years ago. I don't miss it. Still, a measure of my sanity involves the realization that I need to do more for myself. My social life cannot consist merely of workshops, conferences and seminars.
"Because she needs a man," my daughter answered.
I wasn't going to the fair with illusions of meeting a guy. I was going so I could spend time with my friends; listen to music and ideally dance.
It wasn't until the morning after when I emptied my purse of slivers of paper, used napkins and empty gum wrappers that I remembered the coconut as I watched it hit the floor with a thud and a roll. I had no idea what to do with it; I can’t open it but I can’t seem to throw it away.
Sweet, milky memories of my first night out in a long time lay trapped within its thick, hairy skin. I hope that’s not a metaphor for my dating life.