When your kid was an infant, chances are really good that you carried a lot of crap. A quick rundown of the things I would carry would be; Baby in the Baby Bucket, Diaper Bag, Umbrella Stroller, Purse, One or Two Coats, and a Bag of Groceries (always out of something). That list changed over the years. I subtracted the Baby Bucket and Umbrella Stroller. Eventually we lost the Diaper Bag, first replaced by a bag of spare clothes and then it was a backpack with an assortment of Kid's Books and Preschool Homework. There was always a coat that someone wasn't wearing. He had a beverage or a snack that he wouldn't finish and so I carried it along for "later." But as the years went by, the list dwindled to Stitch's messenger bag and that ever present bag of groceries, because we're always out of something.
Then he started Skating.
I started out with good intentions: A Skate Bag. Just one, and it just has skates and gloves and the pass, maybe some change for the vending machine. And I had some noble vision that Stitch would carry Stitch's Skate Bag, since this is Stitch's undertaking.
How naive I was.
The skates fast needed guards and soakers, each in quick succession. (Why they can't make a product that is both in one, I can't figure out.) Then he started losing gloves, so I bought them en masse and collected them in the skate bag. Then he started needing Ice Coupons and Punch cards to work with Coach. Then he needed CD's. The Skate Bag grew unwieldy in its contents, with Stitch always dumping everything out to the wet and muddy floor whenever he needed the change for the vending machine, because that always fell to the very bottom underneath the loose plastic plate they put in there. And Stitch never carried it. When I forced it on him, he whined his indignation with pathetic displays of eye rolling, limping, and groaning because I was surely a slave driver. More often that not, I just carried it myself. When Winter came, we added Coats to the equation and my neatly organized world began falling apart into puddles of melted stink water.
The hard lesson came at our first competition, when I had the costume, Coats and Real Boy clothes and then trophies added into the mix. (One of which was a fragile glass affair.) Dad was accusing me of "taking up too much space", Stitch was rummaging around in any parcel he could see for no real reason other than to see what was in it, and the only things I was sure of the location on were the blade guards. I was grasping those in a cold sweat as I watched them eat popcorn, thinking "I swear, if they think any of that's coming home with us, there's a cold day in hell they're going to enjoy."
After that day I dug out my old college suitcase from the closet, and dubbed that the New Skate Bag. It has more room, and it has wheels. Of course, now Stitch fights me to get it, finding it immensely pleasing to drag around, through snow, mud, slush, puddles, down stairs and over grates where he can make a horrible racket, and he can threaten the toes of myself and younger skaters.
But it's still a chore. Stitch will still dump everything out of the Skate Bag if he can't find what he's looking for. He'll come whining to me that he can't find fifty cents so he can get cookies for the Zamboni Driver. (I have to admit, the ice is really clean when Stitch does this.) The CD should always be in the front pocket, but it ends up in the main pocket where the case has been torn to hell with toepicks. Coats and scarves and layers are a magic act of stuffing and zippers. And now we have wet shoes because of all the snow on the ground. Stitch never carries any of this because he's in a race to get on the ice, and it's me in the lobby doing a Jenga act trying to keep all our things together and not vomited all over an entire bench. No Zuca is going to magically save me from these things.
One evening, I was dragging the Skate Bag, toting my purse, draped with the coats, the Wet Shoes were pinched between my cold fingers, and I was thinking "Sisyphus had it better, he wasn't teetering in skates."
But then I thought, "Well, at least you don't have a costume this time. And we're out of eggs. Better stop at the store."