Our Funny Valentine

Today at church it was Todd, Riley, me and Seth in a row, in that order. Early in the service Riley asked to change seats with me.

“Why? Can’t you see?” I asked her.

“It’s Valentine’s day, and you should be sitting next to Dad,” she grinned. She’s really curious about “romantic love” and even wrote herself a Valentine from an imagined secret admirer today. She didn’t think I’d notice it was in her own hand writing. We made a big deal about who it could possibly be from? This is kind of a big deal. Trying to pull a fast one. Not typical for literal Riley. Very cool.

In the back of the church during the service there are Reiki practitioners who are ready to send good juju to anyone who takes a seat in one of their chairs.

I leaned over to Riley, and said, “Do you want some Reiki today?” 

I was making conversation, and never thought she would. Our usually fearful little girl, nodded, hopped up and walked all by herself to the back of the church, and sat down, with the attitude of, “Bring it on. Reiki me!” 

The Reiki practitioner smiled and appeared touched by having such a little person in her chair.  When Riley came back to us, she clapped and sang along with the music, no self-consciousness.

Fun with the baby-sitter when I went to chorus today. Chutes & Ladders.  

This afternoon she went (without me) to an all girl Valentine party down the street. She hit a blip when she couldn’t quite do the craft they were doing, but refused help from the other girls. She didn’t want to be treated like a baby. Some tears were shed, and she hid. The girls handled it well, but Riley left feeling like she’d “ruined the party.”

It was a rough walk home for her. She cried, and raged, and growled all her feelings out. Mostly just the frustration of being her. She wasn’t mad at anyone else. When we got home, we laid on the bed with Jingle and talked it though. She told me all about the party, and there were a lot of really fun moments. She agreed it was mostly a great time.

When her feelings are allowed, they blow right through her.

When I make the mistake of trying to stop them, well…you know the deal. What you resist persists.  

She’s happy again, running around the house giggling with Seth.

She doesn’t think I know, but she’s left Valentine’s on mine and Todd’s pillows for tonight.

Just now she fessed up, “I’m really the one who wrote my secret admirer card.”

So many layers to this girl.

Our funny and complex Valentine.

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15 Responses to Our Funny Valentine

  1. Jenny R says:

    What a great post.

  2. Bonnie says:

    She’s really branching out, isn’t she?

  3. Such a beautiful, intriguing soul she is.

  4. Amanda says:

    Oh Michelle! I’m thrilled THRILLED to the point of chair dance! This is so amazing, the interest in romance, the deception element, the bravery of going for the reiki – it’s all so wonderful.

  5. Niksmom says:

    I may have said this before but I am just loving reading about how Riley is blossoming and unfolding. Discovering for herself and sharing with you the complexities of who she is. It’s really beautiful.

  6. Carrie Link says:

    I don’t know where to begin! With a church that offers Reiki? Chutes & Ladders? The anon. card? Wanting you and HT to sit together? I’m verklepmt with emotions that are not blowing right through me, but rather, overwhelming me with love for that girl!

  7. Jerri says:

    Like Carrie, I am overwhelmed with love for (and pride in) your girl. Her bravery shines like a candle in the night.

  8. Sally says:

    Your reminder, you are blessed.

  9. Kim says:

    Everything about this made me smile. Layers indeed!

  10. naomi says:

    She’s such a sweetie!

  11. kario says:

    My 10-year-old is also terrifically interested in this notion of romantic love and wants to role-play with herself. It’s hard not to let on that I know what she’s up to…

    Riley’s courage (and yours as a mother willing to let her spread her wings) are astonishing. Proof positive of what happens when you are a deliberate, loving parent.

  12. jess wilson says:

    omg, has she ever seen the brady bunch?

    she has her own george glass!

    it’s a rite of passage!

    happy heart day, o’neils!

  13. amber says:

    Aww, what a touching glimps of your girl. I love that she tried to fool you! That is so cute.


  14. Oh this is a sweet post and its very interesting for me to read this post.I like that answer in church as its very cute.I like that you share this with us.Thanks..

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