Posts for emotion coaching

A Bit of String: A Small Lesson in Loss

Forever Family - Allison Kenny - February 3, 2015

“The Squirrel” had a sad morning. After confidently doing all her jobs (make bed, brush teeth, get dressed, help make breakfast, etc.) with independence and pizazz, she fell apart over a little piece of silver string. She was ready for school, so early, you see, that she had time to choose a toy to play with in the car.  She chose silver string, a few beads and a pair of kids’ scissors.


Maybe you are thinking that it’s ridiculous to let a kid bring this list of objects into the car for the 10 minute drive to school. That’s what I was thinking when I said yes. But my kid has had more loss than any one of her few years should have to face. It comforts her to bring transitional objects from our home to the car and back again. It reminds her that her new home still exists even when she can’t see it. That it (and her mamas) will be there when she gets back.

So, I say yes to bringing everything from beads and string, to hair brushes and hot sauce into the car on the way to school. This morning, though, “The Squirrel” had so much sadness that not even a random assortment of beloved objects could help. When she didn’t know how big to cut the string for my bracelet, she cried and cried and cried. I turned off the car engine, sat on the porch and held her, knowing we’d be late for school but prioritizing her time to grieve. I knew that she would spend the rest of the day playing like a champion, charming her teachers and working hard to remember all the proper ways to behave in this new life she has landed in. This was her moment to fall apart. So I rocked her. I sang to her. I helped her get grounded.  I kissed her and washed her face. She was still crying as we drove to school and got out of the car. From behind her purple glasses, she looked at me and said, “Mama- can I just bring in a little bit of string?”

My girl just needed something to hold onto. A little bit of silver string as she moves from my arms into her school day. When I see her later she’ll likely be all smiles, playtime and a big helper during dinner. But I’m grateful to have been there for a crack in her armor. Every Go Girl! deserves to feel her feelings.  So she can let them go, head back out to the yard and dangle from the monkey bars a little lighter than she was before.

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