When Riley was little, she watched Full House episodes whenever she got the chance. She would find herself so involved—as if she were Michelle, Stephanie, or DJ—solely because she wished her dad behaved like Danny Tanner. The way Danny responded to his daughters when they got upset, failed at something, felt any emotions at all, was exactly what Riley wished would happen in her house. She wished it so badly she would pray for her dad to respond like Danny during every episode where Riley could relate. Sometimes, she would even try to watch certain episodes at times when her dad might be in earshot.
Riley has been praying for a mom and dad that understand emotions and can respond with compassion, empathy, validation, and love for as long as she can remember.
When she started therapy, it felt like that prayer was answered. But Imagination Land swallowed Riley and she continued to create stories even when things were going well. No one is Riley’s mom and dad except her biological mom and dad. But she had begun to believe that one could create their own parents, non-biological, mentor-type humans that she chose, and when she did that she made the mistake of believing it was a mutual thing. Instead, she was writing a story that was only hers.
That’s what Imagination Land does—the stories keep going forever and ever to protect Riley and in the end, Riley is generally hurt. Who would want to be Riley’s mom?