The Playroom: Losing Things

Author: Maraya Steadman '89, '90MBA

Maraya Steadman

Yesterday I took my son and his friend skating outside where it was 18 degrees under the lights. My son is ready to go; he’s wearing a light warm-up jacket. I tell him to go get his winter coat. He runs around the house and arrives in the front hall ready to go, again, in a light warm-up jacket.

“Where’s your coat?”


“I told you to go get your coat.”


“Where is your coat?”

“I don’t know. I’m fine Mom, I’m fine. I don’t need a coat.”

And then I started barking about yes you do need a coat. It’s freezing cold outside and if you don’t find your coat I’m taking money out of your savings account because this is ridiculous, you’ve left your boots at school, you can’t find your coat and I don’t know what else I said other than, “I don’t want to hear one word about how cold you are, you will get out there on that ice and you will skate.”

So we left for the flooded tennis courts turned into a sheet of ice and his friend didn’t have any socks and my kid didn’t have a coat but they did what I told them to do, they got out there and got on the ice and skated around and they had fun. I had fun. Watching them, standing under a propane heater with a hot chocolate, enjoying the laughter and the goals scored in the snow. Eventually, my son got off the ice because he needed a hat, but I was in a good mood so I didn’t say anything about not wearing a hat, I just handed him mine.

I enjoyed a relaxing winter evening with my kids, the kind you never have where I grew up in southern Virginia — where kids don’t play hockey outside on Sunday nights. It was one of those Midwestern moments when I am grateful for the cold, the snow and the ice. We even regrouped after we got home and found his coat. Stuffed in his back pack?

I was still in a good mood this morning, until it was time to leave for school.

“Where’s your hat?”


“You have three hats, where are they?”


“Where’s your Blackhawks hat?”

“Dad took it.”

“Where’s your Notre Dame hat?”

“My sister took it.”

“Where’s your hockey team hat?”


“Okay, then, you borrowed my hat last night, where’s my hat?”

“The dog took it.”

“The dog took it?”

It was at this point that I started barking that the dog did not take my hat , where are your hats and you need to take responsibility for your own things, now I don’t even have a hat, how fast can you lose a hat, how many hats can you lose and I don’t remember what else other than, “We are not leaving for school until you find a hat.”

We must spend at least 20 percent of every morning running around the house looking for things. Hats, coats, boots and gloves just add another layer to the myriad of things we can lose before school. It’s one of the drawbacks of a Midwestern winter, all the gear, and all these Midwestern moments racing around before school looking for hats.

I found my hat covered in dog slobber next to a chewy toy. I found my son’s Notre Dame hat in his sister’s room. I found the hats because I was looking for my keys. And there is no way we are leaving for school until I find those keys.

Maraya Steadman, who lives in a Chicago suburb, is a stay-at-home mother of three children. Her website is Email her at