The Playroom: New Year's intentions

Author: Maraya Steadman '89, '90MBA

Maraya Steadman

When my youngest child leaves for college and I am sitting in my quiet house missing everybody and all the mess and the noise, and I am feeling old, lonely and pathetic, I am going to look up on the wall of my kitchen, there above the coffee maker, where I wrote myself a note.

Sit down, drink an entire cup of hot coffee, enjoy it.

I own a bazillion white coffee mugs I bought in a huge box at a restaurant supply store. Why? Because I leave half-drunk cups of coffee all over my house. I seem to have some sort of middle-aged dementia when it comes to where did I put my coffee?

Every morning I start out with the best of intentions, but then somebody needs me to find their shoes, or a couple some bodies get into a fight over the blue Legos, or I just walk upstairs and put it in the linen closet.

Some of my mom friends get up early to have some quiet time in their day, time for the ritual of that first cup of coffee. Like meditation, yoga or a hot shower, preparing them for the day about to begin. I believe in ritual and hot showers, but not enough to get up at 5:30.

Today, after getting the older children off to school, I poured my third or maybe fourth cup and sat down at my computer. Within minutes, my 3-year old peed on the playroom carpet.

After I cleaned that up, I found my half-drunk cup on top of the washing machine, cold.

I tried again. The coffee was gone. So I sat down to tell the dog all about it. He fell asleep beside me as my youngest child played upstairs.

The moment was so peaceful, filled with nothing but the sound of my daughter playing, the sleeping dog at my feet, open windows and the breeze. If I were drinking a hot coffee and some was blog creating itself, the morning would be perfect.

But perfect never happens does it? It’s all about trying to get the moments where they are, for what they are, ordinary, simple, a quiet morning at home with the sleeping dog and a young child.

I think I will just hold on to all these half-drunk cups of cold coffee decorating the tops of radiator covers and the washing machine, and give thanks for the child who needed me for something more important than drinking a hot coffee, like dry underpants.

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