15.01.02 // A New Riley Family

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Thank you to Papa, Daniel, and Christopher for today's photos of Emma Rayne Riley.

The seven of us have always been a family; I just didn't have a name for us. Mom and Papa and Erin and Daniel and Chris and Kathleen and I - other people called us the Riley family, which made sense, but that wasn't language that I usually used. My name wasn't Riley and this was my family, so how could it be the Riley family? Something changed, though, and now that is the language that I use. Not only do I think about us as the Riley family, I think about myself as a Riley. I'm no less of a Rivard, of course, I've just picked up some new language. When I think about this seven person ensemble, and when I think about myself as member of this family, I think about myself as a Riley.

Which is lovely, because being a Riley just keeps getting better. Our family has grown incredibly close over these past few years. I'm not exactly sure about all the mechanics, but I think it has to do with all of us slowly learning how to be a family of adults. Whatever the reason, it's been a huge blessing. And well timed, too, because the franchise is expanding. We've added a few new faces and a whole new generation. Justice and Jesse and Emma have come into our lives, and I can't wait to see how our family will change in the coming years. The holidays already feel different, with more kids around than there has been in a long time. And everyone's getting a promotion! We're aunts and uncles and grandparents now.

And now, perhaps more acutely than ever, I'm deeply grateful to Mom and Papa for building this family the way they did, for making us whole when wholeness was not guaranteed. And I'm thankful to my Dad, who collaborated with Mom and Papa on the whole big Riley/Rivard mosaic that is my family life. Thank you, all three of you, for your generosity, your humility, and your creativity.

It hasn't always been easy, and it hasn't always been guaranteed, but the Riley family has stayed together.  We eat, we laugh, we run. We watch movies and make cinnamon jello. We take funny pictures of the puppies and try to keep them from barking too much in the morning. Our family is a source of joy and energy for all of us, and now we get to the deploy all that goodness for a greater good. We get to open up our family, and welcome a new family - a new Riley family, Daniel and Justice's family - into the center of our Riley family.

Happy Birthday, Emma. Happy New Year, Rileys. It's gonna be a great year.

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p.s. Emma interrupted our regularly scheduled programming, but don't worry - I'll share the Christmas book I promised y'all on Tuesday. Have a great weekend.