It was the bag to have at my high school. One of my favorite Dave Chapelle jokes is that he was just rich enough to be poor around white people. I went to a mostly white, very affluent all girl school. We weren’t poor, I wanted for nothing, but some of these girls had everything. It was easy to be jealous of their Audis and Tiffany’s necklaces. It made the “enough” we had seem like too little in my impressionable, high school girl mind. I wanted for nothing.
Except a Kate Spade bag.
The first Kate Spade I ever bought was a little pink wristlet. I was pregnant with Ella, and Matthew and I were going to France. I had heard horror stories about pick pockets so I didn’t want to bring a purse. I thought a wristlet would be the perfect solution to my anxiety; I could have it attached to me all the time, always in my line of sight. And I got the cutest one I could find. A Kate Spade.
I remember it felt like I was crossing some line, turning more into myself. I could have gotten any random thing but no, I wanted something that would say something about me. That would stick out, even though I’d always been shy and easily put in the background. That wristlet was one of the first steps of having what I like to call a curated life.
Years have gone by since then and now, you can track my motherhood by the different Kate Spades I’ve owned. The computer case I got after Matthew got me a laptop for my first Mother’s Day. The dress I couldn’t wait to put on after winning a hard fought battle against my baby weight. The cross body I took around Europe, the one full of my things and tokens, in direct opposition to the enormous diaper bag reserved for Ella’s snacks and knickknacks. The wallet I got when we came back to the U.S. and I was suffering through my second round of morning sickness and wanted something to cheer me up. The necklace I wore to my brother’s wedding, 7 months pregnant and tired and swollen with Jack. The dress Ella wore in her very first preschool picture, the one where she’s glaring just like I did when I was a kid. Before coming to stay with my parents this summer, I kept changing my mind between my maroon shoulder bag and my gray one, not sure which would make the best diaper bag. I went with the gray. No matter what, it was going to be a Kate Spade. My favorite happiest girliest brand.
I never gave much thought to the founder of Kate Spade but from what I’ve read this last week, it sounds like she gave a lot of thought to us. The women who loved her brand. Celebrating them, dressing them, accessorizing them, making them feel beautiful and confident. Appealing to their quick, curious, playful, and strong minds.
I felt like I needed to say something, to add my voice to the chorus of people who knew her and people who didn’t. I’m just one person and she has a legacy in my life, my motherhood. I had never given any thought to her, or even known she was a real person, but her creation has sprinkled joy and whimsy into my life and I just couldn’t let that go unnoticed, unsaid. Kindness is rare enough these days, clearly, with all the pain in the world. It’s too late, perhaps, but this is my kindness to that special lady and her beautiful legacy.
“I adore pretty things and witty words.”
So do I, Kate. So do I.
P.S. This can’t go unsaid either- depression is dangerous and it does not discriminate. If you need help, there are numbers to call. If you suspect someone needs help, don’t wait for a call. Let’s count on each other.