The Playroom: All shook up


Author: Maraya Steadman '89, '90MBA


I am dialing Donna’s phone number as I am scraping some food stuff off the table with my fingernail. She is out. I am sure doing something productive like swimming or taking her son to a skating lesson.

This makes me think about what I am doing. Realizing that if I am ever a victim on some investigative crime show, and they do that thing where they take a scraping from under your fingernails to analyze it so they can try and find your killer, they will decide my killer works in some sort of a chicken nugget factory.

I look up and see one of my snow globes. I collect them. Why? Well, they are kitschy and I like kitsch. They loosen up the breakfront, filled with crystal stems for formal dinner parties I never have, and, well, they are fun to shake up, which is kinda the point.

I walk over and the first one I pick up is from the zoo. It has a T. rex in it. Memories of last summer and an awesome dinosaur exhibit at the zoo, the children and I were all so happy that day. Emma in her stroller, my older two running ahead and running back to us excitedly to tell us about what they had discovered. It was a glorious day.

And that was when, with a great introduction about how we will never do this again, I broke my never-buy-anything-in-the-museum-gift-shop” rule. We bought tie-dyed T-shirts with peace, love and dinosaurs on the front for the girls, and a T. rex with gaping jaws for William, and puppets and puzzles and a snow globe for Mommy.

I want to go back to that day a hundred times, then I want to go back again. And I shake the globe and watch the glittery snow fall. My Emma is in preschool now, and I’m all shook up.

My youngest has left the home to venture out and my chemistry is raging, so I start thinking what am I going to do? I think about signing up for yoga, which I have been told will change my life. I think about going back to work, but I come back to the reasons why I left. I write letters. I make more coffee. I put the snow globes away. I call Donna. I miss Emma. I start to cry.

Later, dazed, driving, almost home, I notice a woman standing out in the snow. I see her standing there and think what is she doing outside, it’s so cold and blowy and snowy and yet she is outside anyway and she seems so happy. There she was, all bundled up, with her coffee, walking her dog, talking to her friend, laughing.

Stop. Look. Listen. Listen to the snow fall.

I still cry in the shower and get cold in the snow, but I can walk my dog, drink my coffee and laugh with my friends, out in the snow where all the glittery bits seem to fall right where they should.

Maraya Steadman, who lives in a Chicago suburb, is a stay-at-home mother of three children. She can be reached at

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