My three-year-old loves to play dress-up. I can’t blame her. I remember well being a kid older than her and parading around the house in one of Mom’s old gowns. I’d pretend I was a princess or a rich young lady, and I’d be transported far away to somewhere far more glamorous than the familiar surroundings of our house.

Other times, I would go out to the fallen-down, tucked-away willow that was my secret hideout, and I’d be an adventurer discovering a new world. Sometimes, I would line up all my dolls and stuffed animals and be a teacher.

As I watch my daughter play dress-up, accompanied with other kinds of pretend play, I smile. Her imagination is so fertile and her interpretation of how things work is right on.

To be honest, I have to admit I still play some dress-up and pretend games. I pretend sometimes that I’m not a wife and mother, and I long for the days of productivity and efficiency that seem so surreal to me now. At other times, I pretend that this whole “Catholic thing” isn’t important, and I act in ways that, no doubt, make Jesus wince.

There are times I pretend that I’m in charge, that I’m the one who has to solve all the problems. I dress myself up in a confidence that fits as badly as Mom’s old gown and parade around. I pretend that what I’ve been asked – called – to do doesn’t matter.

And then I wonder why I’m so unhappy.

I could learn a lesson from my daughter’s games of dress-up. She is emulating what will come; she’s acting out things she’s observed from me and other role models. When I dress myself up in the guise of wishing-I-were-someone-else, I’m not striving toward the Kingdom, I’m sinking toward the world. When I wish for things to be different, I’m not giving the present moment to God; I’m not letting him take care of things.