Golden threads of love weave their way from the front cover, right to the end of this beautiful story. Tess is a little girl held in the heart of a loving birth family, who experiences the anxiety of separation for the first time when she starts school. Her mum reassures her that even when apart, their love is like a string between them, stretching as far as it needs to. Tess learns how her new friends have strings too, linking them across time and space with those they love. None of this is enough to prevent her from feeling very sad & lonely, & she unties the string & lets it fall. Only mum wrapping them back together at the end of school brings her comfort. This is a gentle exploration of what love & belonging means, & the emotions we experience when our sense of connection is shaken.
Any child naturally might feel anxious leaving their parents to start school, just like Tess. But how much harder separation can be for a child who has not always had a secure family base. Abuse, neglect & loss leading to developmental trauma, creates a deep fear for a child of whether they are loveable & whether they will be abandoned again. The child is terrified – when we are apart, will you remember me? How can I trust you are on the end of my string? This fear expresses itself in many ways for children with insecure attachment styles – some may become distressed & clingy & others may become avoidant & seem outwardly unaffected. Both strategies developed as self-protection, by little ones who do not believe others will comfort them, or find it too difficult to ask.
A traumatised child needs lots of signs of safety communicated to them by their parents or carers – this is what love looks like in our family & this is how we will help you hold it in your heart when you are apart from us. Transitional objects, a visual reminder of each other, can be one way to help with this – keyrings, notes, bracelets..
Reading Love together can create opportunities to reflect on lots of different strings & how strong or fragile they might feel. Those we hold or held, & those we have dropped or had cut from us. Tess learns that everyone has strings – love that goes sideways, backward, forward & upward. A story to support adoptive parents & carers in creating safety to explore together interwoven themes of love, comfort, grief & loss.