This morning has been no better or worse than others. In fact, slightly worse because an overnight rain soaked my shoes, which I had forgotten on the porch, yet again. First world problems as I call them.

The boys are cheery and gabby and we manage to leave the house on time with no altercations and no delays that make us run and jump over sidewalks like a group of sun-scared bats on the way to the first deep dark cave (no negative reference to school or maybe just a small one?…)

So we walk. There’s chatter and silliness and loud “No, no, I’ll say it. Mom, listen to this…” and some of last night’s toilet jokes on replay. Some are that good, according to 11-year-olds and under.

Hold hands, small hugging palms hiding in mine and if I hold stronger than I should is because I know the jumpy nature of such holds. They go poof before you realize it. So hold on while they last.

A sparrow hops from between some cigarette butts on one side of a chicken-wire fence to wet sand on the other. She’s round and fluffy and the hopping is exquisite. Elegant and light and we’re spellbound.

Toilet jokes are forgotten. We stare. She stares back. Hops. Stares. A hand squeeze but this time it is not me. It’s the small hand making me heed the bird and its exquisite tiny feet. “Mom, isn’t she cute?”

I am struck again by how we attach ourselves to memories of no particular day or place. Muck, sand, a brownish bird and five more minutes until school starts. All wrapped up in a forgetfulness-proof mental package that will never be stamped with the awkward “when was that again?”

The day rolls into a big fat cinnamon-tinted cocoon of a sunset with a glued-on ghost-white moon and when night comes I know of the one thing I learned about today. “No special day” memories, or no-planning-to-acquire-memories-but-did-it-anyway kind of day.

Heart stringsAnd I know of two things that will never leave my prized possessions box (not that I have one, but I will think of one) and those are: a string of no particular glamour that Sasha has loved and played with since the dollopy days of toddlerhood and he still holds dear, and a pressed little daisy which Tony gave me one day at a park that has long disappeared off the Vancouver map. It was drizzly and cold and ten years ago and a late daisy made it from his tiny fingers into my heart and journal. Just like today, we were half-way into winter, which is why heart strings feel warmer than ever.

DaisyToday I learned that heart strings are not negotiable. They just are. They appear out of nowhere and they will stick forever. It takes one to learn to spot one when it happens.

Heart strings are never planned for, so don’t start trying. That’s the magic of it all. They happen with no warning and often you realize what happened way after they’re gone. But they’ll be there when you least expect it. Magic.