The Missy Purse is dead. Long live the Missy Purse.
In all honesty, this was not a surprise. Our developmentally disabled ward Missy tends to pack her ever-present purses to the breaking point – and then about three trailer-loads beyond it. A black hole attracts less mass than a Missy Purse. Soldiers have traveled with smaller loadouts on campaign. In fact, since Missy stands under five feet tall, and weighs less than 100 pounds, you could make an argument as to whether the purse carries her.
Mind you, Heather and I stay vigilant. We’ll periodically smuggle the purse out of sight – which is a little like hiding an elephant under a windbreaker – and cast off some of the detritus. But no matter how many times we revisit it, its contents always seem to regenerate, including:
- Seven weeks worth of bowling scores, folded until they resemble origami.
- Three Hot Wheels cars, still in their well-handled packaging.
- Intermingled flash cards from three different decks.
- $13.72 in loose change.
- Two Harry Potter winter hats – even in July.
- A thick stack of bingo cards, secured in a Ziploc bag.
- The Ark of the Covenant.
- The missing “dark matter.”
- A partridge in a pear tree.
Like the TARDIS of Doctor Who fame, Missy’s accessory of choice always seems to be larger on the inside. But even the mightiest purse has limits. Zippers cease to fasten. Stitches start to give. And, inevitably, the shoulder strap will wear through.
Just as inevitably, Missy will refuse to give up on it right away. Sometimes dragged, sometimes hauled, sometimes presented to one of her Official Porters (us) with a curt “Here,” the Missy Purse will be paraded in honor for another day or two, before it is finally allowed a decent burial and replacement.
It’s hard to let go. Even when it’s become too much. Even when it’s become an obvious, uncomfortable burden.
Most of us have carried something similar, even if it isn’t a bright red piece of faux leather. Sometimes it’s an old resentment. A toxic relationship. A painful memory that shapes expectations. Or yes, a prized possession that’s become “What’s it in the shop for this week?”
Sometimes we’re not aware of the damage it’s causing. Sometimes we have to be told or made aware. But most of the time, we know darned well that it’s become a burden – but it’s easier to hold on than to let go.
Letting go means unfamiliar territory.
Letting go means figuring out what to do next.
Letting go means admitting we’ve held on too long, to something that no longer rewarded the attention, if indeed it ever did.
There are a million reasons for not making the hard choice. We know the burden well. We’ve learned to live with it. It’s not that bad, really – right?
And all the while, the seams are splitting. And the shoulder is getting sore.
Ultimately, the choice is ours. Friends can help (and welcome help it is). Advice can offer suggestions, empathy can provide comfort and relief. But the hand that loosens the grip has to be our own.
Only then can we make way for something new.
There’s a new Missy Purse now. Black, this time – a rare choice for her – and rather snazzy. Yes, it’s already accumulating stuff of its own. But it’s more manageable, more comfortable, more useful. And when its time comes in turn, maybe it’ll be a little easier to make the separation.
After all, it’s all a matter of purse-ception.