My mother's purse was always full, ready for anything four kids could need when out of the house. Mine also is full of "just in case" items. My daughter, even though she's not a mother, can fit so much in her purse that when she starts removing items I am in awe of her packing skills.
My earliest recollection of carrying a purse is of a homemade denim one I had in high school which was full of important things like makeup and pens and cherry Lifesavers candies. It feels strange when I go somewhere without my purse--it really gets to be a habit! Even when my mother was affected with Alzheimer's she never left the house without her purse. By that time, however, it was empty except for her house key rattling around inside it. It was the saddest thing to me. Life once so full and vibrant became an emptiness profound in its vacancy. Sometimes I think about that, but usually my full purse reminds me of Mom and how she was always prepared to care for her family no matter where we were. It's a tradition I have continued and passed down to the next generation.