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Permission To Break My Heart

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Permission To Break My Heart

My five-year old daughter, Siena, fell in love recently. It was with another girl – a five-year old princess named Vivien, who lives in a castle in Chicago and is the daughter of my best friend Katsy.

Siena and Vivien have known each other since they were three-months old, but they haven’t actually seen each other since. They’ve only heard stories. Siena has heard great tales of Princess Vivien, and Vivien has heard the wondrous stories of Siena and her fairy magic.

But a few weeks ago, they got to chase fairies in a zen garden, play on the beach, sleep in the same bed every night, bathe together with Roberto – the toy penguin, eat fish and chips at the English pub, watch fireworks over San Francisco on the 4th of July, listen to a dharma talk about Harold and the Purple Crayon, leave fairy notes, spend hours in a hot tub, and share other magical adventures that made them fall in love.

They were so in love that Siena pretty much ignored her Mommy and Daddy for a week. She didn’t care about morning snuggles in the bed, because she was too busy coloring with Princess Vivien. She didn’t want to be read The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, because she had Princess Vivien to build puzzles with instead. Mommy and Daddy were just a wee bit sad. We missed Princess Siena. But we didn’t tell her, because we were happy she was so in love.

Then, Princess Vivien had to go back to Chicago.

And Siena wept. Unconsolably. For hours.

She threw herself on her bed and pointed to the trundle bed where Princess Vivien had slept, and she said, “Every time I look at her bed and she’s not there, my heart hurts.” And she wept some more.

And I started to cry too, because I am missing my friend Susan Aisha, who just died, and I am feeling the same way – that every time I look her way and she’s not there, my heart hurts.

Siena was so bereft and exhausted from a week of so much play, she fell asleep at 2:30pm and I finally woke her at 6pm, thinking she might actually sleep all night if I didn’t. After dinner, Siena said, “Mommy, it hurts so much to love Vivien that I don’t think I ever want to see her again.”

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Lissa Rankin

Lissa Rankin, MD is a mind-body medicine physician, founder of the Whole Health Medicine Institute training program for physicians and other health care providers, and the New York Times bestselling author of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself.  She is on a grassroots mission to heal health care, while empowering you to heal yourself.  Lissa blogs at and also created two online communities - and She is also the author of two other books, a professional artist, an amateur ski bum, and an avid hiker. Lissa lives in the San Francisco Bay area with her husband and daughter.


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4:50AM PST on Jan 2, 2012

Thanks for the article.

6:05PM PST on Dec 30, 2011

Beautiful children!

6:28PM PST on Dec 28, 2011

What a sweet daughter you have. I'm glad you're teaching her these lessons young, so she won't grow up afraid of them the way I think most of us have. Thank you for writing this.

6:15PM PST on Dec 28, 2011

That was such a sweet story. Thank you.

1:23PM PDT on Aug 17, 2011

awesome story! will share. reminds me of that old phrase: love means letting the person we love permission to break our heart yet trusting them not to.

6:35PM PDT on Aug 12, 2011

Lissa, your parenting skills are brilliant! Thank you for that story. I will share parts of it with my grandchildren when next they cry from a heart heavy with love.

12:44PM PDT on Aug 12, 2011

that is so nice!

10:31AM PDT on Aug 8, 2011

Bless.What a great story.

5:27AM PDT on Aug 8, 2011

this is a very special story. i wish the we could all love each other unconditionally.

2:52AM PDT on Aug 8, 2011

Adorable, heart-warming. Thank you so much!

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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people are talking

@Naomi D. - I love that Baha'i saying. I've never heard that before so thank you for sharing!

these are great ideas - the little girl will be raising awareness and have a totally unique costume.…

I'm so glad these beautiful pups were rescued.


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