Real Life Mama: Being your authentic self

Have you ever met someone who knows exactly who they are as a person? Look, I am 38 years old, and it has taken me all of that amount of time to figure out who I am, and sometimes, I still question myself. Yet, somehow, I produced this amazing little thing that has known most of her life exactly who she is! And this week, this original child of mine, my Reagan, turns 8.

Watching this girl grow over the years has been nothing short of entertaining. She is the queen of silly faces and imaginative ideas. From early on, her hilarious personality has shone through, and she has been making everyone around her smile ever since. And that personality, along with her favorite color, interests, passions, likes, dislikes and pleasures have not changed. She is locked in on who she is, and it is admirable.

Bugs and outdoor adventures have been her thing since she could escape out the door as a toddler. Mud, dirt, ants, snakes, dogs, cats, frogs, butterflies, spiders – they are all her favorites. If there is a hole to dig, she is on it (even when said hole is not welcomed in my yard). If there is a frog to catch, she is all over it. Just the other day the neighbor found a garter snake and she begged me to hold it. Thankfully, Mrs. Neighbor advised it was too big and they threw it down the hill. But little Miss was bummed that she didn’t get to put her hands on it.

If they were not forced, the child would never wear shoes. She hates them – always has. As much as possible, she wants to feel the earth underneath her toes. When I tried to give her a piggyback ride over some stones a few weeks ago, she reminded me that she was used to it and did not need my help.

And that is another thing that she decided early on that she did not need – my help. Not with brushing or doing her hair (we pick our battles), picking out her outfits (which never include dresses – those are definitely not her thing), riding a bike or pretty much anything. She’s got it. She can do it all. Ok, so maybe she did get that part honest. Ha!

Baby dolls and barbie dolls have been rarely a thing for her – she wanted to play with dinosaurs and balls. She loves any and every sport and has been begging to play football for two years now (Daddy finally gave in and said she can play flag football in the fall – she is ecstatic).

Since she was 15 months old, she has been a climber – escaping her crib and high chair and soon after the baby gate I put in the doorway of her room to keep her from roaming the house if she woke up in the middle of the night. And the tree in our front yard has been one of her favorite places to scale for a few years now. It is her tree now.

She has always had a knack for sensing something wrong with someone and has an angel-like ability to say the words that are needed at any given time. Her words come right off of her heart and her creative compliments are one of a kind. Just the other day, Lee did a quick fix to her softball face mask (which literally involved taping up the Velcro – since she lost a piece – with some ridiculous red tape). As soon as she put it on, she sighed a big breath of relief and sweetly said, “Lee… he’s a lifesaver.”

And she literally didn’t care that it had red tape on it, or that her hair is a mess, or her clothes don’t match, or her feet are black on the bottom 99% of the time. She also doesn’t care if you love to be dressed to the T, with perfect hair and wearing shoes, she loves who she is and loves all of those around her for who they are.

In 8 short years, this little child has opened my eyes up to so much. It is almost weird as a Mama to take lessons from your child. But I swear almost daily, she reminds me by her subtle acts – her confidence in who she is and what she loves, her passion in her consistent interests, her joy in her unashamed laughter and her inclusiveness to all around – how to be a better person.

To say I am proud to be her mother, would be an understatement – which in and of itself is ironic. Because, you see, nothing about her is a show. It is not to get likes on social media or have the most friends or even to impress anyone. It is just who she is as a person – genuinely and authentically her. And I thank God every day that He blessed me with this magnificent, one-of-a-kind child.

Happy 8th Birthday Reagan Roo.

Sarah (Pitson) Shrader was born and raised in Lima. She is a Lima Central Catholic and Tiffin University graduate. Sarah is a full-time working mama who enjoys writing about her somewhat crazy, always adventurous life as a mother. She lives in Bath Township with her daughters and writing inspirations, Maylie and Reagan.