Yesterday I went to my brother Dennis' house and had the lovely fortune of spending some quality one-on-one time with my niece, Riley. When you have 11 niece and nephews it's hard to have that individualized time, and I so grateful when those moments occur. Riley and I spent a lot of time coloring and chatting while we did so, played dress up and with her toys. I had such a nice, quiet evening with her, and even in our simple play, I was aware of how grateful I was to be with her, and for her.
Riley is Dennis' second child and first daughter; I've always felt a special connection to Riley because she is the first and only of my nieces and nephews to really look like me, physically. I imagine this is how cool it feels to have a child, to look at your daughter or son and see yourself reflected in them.
Riley is a doll-- she's a total girls' girl, and has the sweetest voice to coincide with her very feminine personality. If you're looking for some girl time, look no further than hanging out with her. She has a sweet disposition, as well, evidenced best by how much she loves and cares for her baby sister. Riley loves to give Ella hugs and kisses, loves to be kissed and hugged by Ella in return. Yesterday Ella woke up cranky from her nap, and Riley immediately invited her to go play-- it was clear she wanted to do that both to cheer her up, and because she genuinely wanted to play with her. As someone who values the relationship sisters have with one another, this was a really touching moment to witness.
For all of her sweetness, Riley also has a playful deviousness about her, which I love and totally connect with her over. We laughed as she encouraged my brother to drink her brother's milkshake while he was out of the room "just because", and we've recently bonded over her newfound love of the Haunted Mansion in Disney. My heart literally melted when I received a phonecall from her when she vacationed in Disney this summer, wanting to ask me questions about the mansion and gush in how much she loved it. It was while I was on that call with her that I realized Riley and I don't just look alike but we are alike...and I am so thankful to have her as my niece.fami