In our house, we talk about how love grows between our hearts like invisible threads of elastic. Wherever we are, these threads always connect us to one another. And there is always enough thread to unravel, however far apart we are. And because the threads are elastic (and we're not just talking your regular elastic here, we're talking magic, super-strength, invincible elastic), our love, though it stretches, can never bend or break. Sometimes it might pull and that can cause us pain. But the threads always endure, they never snap. For our girls, explaining love in this way helps in all sorts of circumstances. When they are worried about being apart from us, the elastic stretches to keep us connected. When they miss those they have loved and lost, though it hurts because their old threads of love are pulling, there is comfort in knowing they are still there. When we tug each other's threads out of anger, fear or frustration, they are strong enough not to be pulled out and, though we may cause one another pain, we can stop pulling and the threads will snap quickly back into place. And the threads of love that connect us aren't confined to our little family of four. Our hearts are also linked to those who love us, our extended family and friends, the village of people who surround us and support us and bring colour and joy to our lives. This week, I finally got round to putting some bunting up in our youngest daughter's bedroom. And it is beautiful. Seeing it there makes us smile.
Last year, at her adoption celebration, our friends and family decorated small card hearts for her. Some wrote messages on them. Some went sequin crazy. Some drew pictures or just signed their name. But whatever they did, each heart represents someone who cared enough to be there. Someone who loves our family and wanted to celebrate with us. Now, every time she goes into her bedroom, she is reminded of all the threads of invisible elastic that connect her heart to those of others. She sees how many people love her. And hidden among the hearts are words or drawings of encouragement and love that will always be there for her, in good times and bad. To all those whose hearts are connected to ours, thank you. "For love, though it stretches, never breaks or bends."