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The 30-Pound Bag I Carry as a Mama With a Chronic Illness

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Weeks ago I complained to my daughter about the heavy bag I carry on a daily basis. Currently it’s royal blue, weighs about 30-pounds and has been a constant companion for many years. It has evolved from a college Kmart purchase called, “The Bag,” to a diaper bag, to a bitchin’ backpack. It has been many different colors, but it has never left my side. Like me, it is not fashionable. But it is functional, dependable and durable.

When people realize how heavy it is they ask, “What on earth do you have in that bag?” I cannot give them a brief answer so I usually say, “Everything but the kitchen sink.”

This bag is more than an ordinary bag. It is a part of me. I mostly carry it over my shoulder and it rests against my hip the way my babies used to.

Thirteen years ago it carried baby bottles, binkies, diaper wipes for my first-born daughter and my wallet, among other things. Six years ago it carried pull-ups and eczema cream for my newborn, rainbow baby boy. Five years ago I added glasses for my aging eyes. Four years ago I added many EpiPen Jr’s for my newly diagnosed food-allergic son. His food allergies, asthma and recurrent croup have added many medications to my bag, as have my food allergies, asthma, anxiety and chronic pain/illness. It contains band-aids to heal old wounds, drink boxes to quench a never-ending thirst and a Nerf football incase my children want to play catch.

I have added and subtracted items from my bag as the years passed, just like the people who have drifted in and out of my life.

My bag has seen two babies grow and has been taken on many family trips and vacations. It provides comfort and security to all of us. It has held my marriage license after my husband and I eloped in Lake George, New York. It carried my babies’ hospital tags and hats from their birth, plane tickets for my kids’ first trip to Disney, report cards, the one ring from Lord of The Rings, birthday cards, special gifts, my Kindle which I nicknamed Michelle Obama, and a special key chain full of some mystery keys which I have had for over 30 years.

I’m still busy raising my children, so I still take great care in planning what I must put in my backpack. It contains many objects which help my children thrive and stay alive. It contains hope, memories and dreams for the future. It is my version of the Mary Poppins cart-bag purse.

I think of my bag differently now and will not complain about its weight in the future. The weight that felt like a heavy burden, is actually a great gift. I have children and a loving husband to help carry things for. I am so blessed to have them in my life. As I stare at all of its zippers and pulls, I realize that someday I will not have such a full, heavy backpack.

My children will grow and carry all of their own necessities, as they slowly begin a life no longer dependent upon me. They will be free to live life on their own terms with their own burdens and bags to carry.

I pray that their loads will not be too heavy, and that their lives will be full of joy. But for now, I will gladly hold my heavy bag full of the important things for my sweet children.

I will grasp it whole-heartedly for I know the day will come soon when my bag will be smaller and lighter. And my heart will long for the days when I carried a heavier load.

Photo submitted by contributor.

Originally published: March 7, 2019
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