One of the greatest joys of Sawyer getting a bit older these days is that Susannah and he are actually able to start playing together. We’re talking authentic, real interaction with one another here – not merely sharing the same room during playtime without uttering a word to each other.  They are having fun except for when they are pummeling each other and it gives me hope that someday, when I’m dead and gone (cue violin accompaniment, please) they will be close and familial.

Recently, Sawyer has been able to partake in Susannah’s favorite form of play – the pretend games.  There is something so fun about watching a young child develop enough cognitive awareness that he or she can engage in pretend games of another time, land, or being altogether.

Yesterday, Susannah and Sawyer were playing “Chrissa” (this would be her new American Girl doll  that included a DVD we are all obsessed with) and as they both rounded a corner and nearly knocked Solomon and I to the ground, Susannah shouted “Mommy, I’m pretending to be Chrissa!!!”

When I asked Sawyer who he was pretending to be, he looked at me with wide, innocent brown eyes and without skipping a beat said, “Me.”

“You’re pretending to be you?” I asked. “Yes” was all he could muster at this point because he just had too much to do with playing Chrissa and pretending to be himself and all.

Later in the day, I found myself reflecting on this conversation and came to realization that maybe what he said was not so out there after all because, truth be told, sometimes I feel like I’m pretending to be me, too.

I’m pretty comfortable in my own skin.  It took a while.  But I am.  I think most people would describe me as a real, what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of gal.  I try to shoot straight from the hip because honesty and truth is something I value beyond belief.

But since I am being real and truthful right now, I must admit that there are times when I feel like I am such a work in progress that I’m a little confused as to what I believe and who I think I am.  As an onion has many layers, so do we.  What resides deep in those layers that is insulated by the outer skin?  How does it affect me in the everyday things that I do?

Natalie Grant sings a song called “The Real Me” that I adore. – it goes right to the core and often brings a tear or two to my eye. OK, maybe a few more than two.  Especially after I learned it was written after her own recovery from bulimia.

During my journey in faith, I have come to realize that God is the only one who really knows our real heart.  The real me.  Admittedly, he knows me better than I know myself.  Thankfully. This is exactly what Natalie is singing about.

Maybe we can all identify with Sawyer a little bit.  Maybe we all feel that we pretend to be ourselves once in a while or all of the time, depending on your place in life at the moment.

May we all just find the courage to start peeling off the mask a bit.  Just be.  Find out who we are and what we believe in.  What we stand for.   Be still and know.   We are perfect with the 20 extra pounds, with the drooping boobage (not that I have these or anything after bearing three children in four years…), the cracked tooth, the stubby fingernails.

My 20’s were a period of confusion and unrest for me.  It wasn’t until I hit the 30’s that the drama in my life subsided a bit and gasp, I began to live a SOMEWHAT normal life.  Still with drama.  But a more peaceful drama. Yes, it does exist. And I’ll take it over the other kind.

Later in the day when Sawyer came bounding down the stairs I asked him if he was still pretending to be himself.  He looked at me like I was completely nuts.

In a loud and all-boy voice he shouted “No, Mommy!!!  I AM LIGHTNING MCQUEEN!!!!!”

That’s my boy.  May he always be so convicted as to who he is.  May he use this as a tool to stand firm and not be scared to reveal his true heart.

On second thought, that’s my wish for us all.  Myself included.

Give yourself a gift today and take five minutes to listen to this song and watch these beautiful images.  What a great reminder to us all.

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