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For Your Marriage

Josh and Stacey Noem have been married for almost 20 years and have three children in middle school and high school. They blog about parenting and their adventures as a family.

Josh’s Purse

There is a saying, “You can tell a lot about a woman by the contents of her purse.” I do not carry a purse. But I recently nicknamed the boot of our Honda Odyssey “Josh’s purse.” Just to clarify, by “boot” I mean that fantastically deep and accommodating container between the driver and passenger seat – I want to make sure you have a good visual.

So if you can tell a lot about a person by the contents of their purse, what can we tell about Josh from the boot of our car? First a list of contents:

Three audio books: This is not an anomaly. Josh averages between two to three audio books at a time. They are usually on some point of historical interest such as the Wright Brothers or a catastrophic natural disaster; or one of Malcolm Gladwell’s latest works, or anything on baseball—most recently The Cubs Way (which I highly recommend).

Two batting gloves: Josh has a membership to the local batting cages where he goes to hit balls for as long as he likes. They happen to be in the same area of town as the children’s schools sohe keeps the gloves handy to take full advantage of any opportunity that arises.

His wallet: Perhaps it seems a little odd to keep a wallet in the car. But remember, technically it is in his “purse.” Which makes a little more sense.

Library cards: Each of the children has a library card, in addition to Josh’s. He is excellent about “keeping the children in books.” This means they end up at the library at least once or twice a week at random in-between times.

Mint chewing gum: We like gum, though it seems like we only chew it in the car. The children vary in their flavor of gum preferences, but they can all agree on mint flavored Extra. They call it “green gum.” Close quarters in the car are definitely improved with minty fresh breath.

Small package of wet wipes: We have not needed to change a diaper in well over seven years. As we all know, however, wet wipes are just about the most useful tool out there for a variety of messy, sticky situations. Sadly, since we need them so infrequently these days, they are more like ‘used-to-be-wet’ wipes, like a package of thick tissues.

Plastic grocery bags: This is a preparedness measure. Our kids can be susceptible to car sickness on longer drives. While it does not come up frequently, when they need a bag, they need a bag and we’ve got them!

Wires: I think these are for phone charging. They may also be sound input cords for the portable DVD player on long trips. Tough to say. But either way, Josh is prepared.

If you can tell a lot about a person from their purse, that is what I think Josh’s “purse” says about him: he wants to be prepared for the needs of the family.

As point person for the children at school and in their extracurriculars, Josh is in the car A LOT. He may spend as much as a quarter of his day in the car. It is no surprise, then, that he has taken to making sure he has whatever he may need to provide for himself or the children.

The audio books keep him intellectually stimulated and from going a little crazy from listening to our truly subpar local radio offerings. They are also excellent educational tools for the children, who often ask us to put in an audiobook when they’re in the car.

The batting gloves make sure he takes full advantage of awkward downtimes, and also that he can get to do something that he deeply enjoys with those otherwise useless in-between minutes. Instead of wasting time flipping through his phone in a school parking lot, he is doing something active and engaging. It makes him happier and gives him more energy for the children afterwards.

As for the rest of his stuff, they are all random supplies that allow him to be prepared to meet almost any situation that comes up in our day-to-day family life.

Josh is a highly introverted, quiet, easygoing man. He is an excellent husband, father, and friend. The way he shows his love is not through big actions or loud effusive words; he shows his love by who he is and by providing for those dear to him. By being prepared to meet others’ needs, he shows his attention and affection.

And I show him attention and affection by teasing him about his man-purse.