|The Littlephant Day Bag by Swedish Designer Camilla Lundsten|
What I failed to notice on the website was a description of the tote as a diaper bag. This did not, however, escape my mother. When the bag arrived I called to thank her.
“Do you have something to tell me?” she asked.
“Umm, thank you, I really like it!” I enthused, assuming my first thank you had not been a sufficiently gushing response to receiving a $215 bag.
A beat, and then: “Is there a reason you would want a diaper bag?”
“A diaper bag?” I asked, distracted as I unzipped my new purse and started removing wads of tissue paper, then a gray folded pad—must be a laptop protector, I mused to myself about what was obviously a changing pad. And then I saw it, inscribed on the bottom of the bag in a curlicue cursive script:
Maybe for you. And only you.
Or when it's not only your bag. Anymore.
Your belongings helplessly thrown together.
With the ones of a tiny human.
When your bag needs to be more than lovely.
Share the space.
In a bag from the world of Littlephant.
In a flash, that yellow crocheted bobble tied to the metal slider of the zipper with a piece of grosgrain ribbon was no longer a whimsical touch of Scandinavian design. I had been attracted to a soft toy for an infant like said infant is drawn to a set of shiny, jangly keys. Through a combination of embarrassment and horror, I snapped back into the present and explained to my mother that I had just thought it was the right shape for carrying my laptop on a plane.
For a moment, I felt empathy for my mother. The fact that I made a conscious decision not have children is not exactly news to her. I did, after all, write a book in part about just that subject. But despite it all—the blog, the book, the twitter handle—somewhere deep inside she still had an ember of hope, an ember I had unwittingly kindled with my request for a diaper bag for Christmas at the age of forty-one.
Once the shock wore off, I did in fact put my Littlephant into service as my go-to work bag. It turns out all the pockets and zipper compartments a mother needs for a day out with baby are also quite useful for cords and notebooks and pens and adapters. After a month or so of using the crocheted bobble to pull the zip open and shut, the yarn unraveled and it came away in my hand. I went to re-attach it, thought for a moment, then threw the bobble away.