The grey streak catches my eye as it sneaks past the kitchen door. What is Dave the Cat up to?
"Mum! Mum! Dave's got a bird!"
Oh great. Birds in the house totally freak me out.
The kids corner Dave in the bedroom where she is hovering protectively over her prize.
"It's still alive!" someone shrieks.
Right. That's it. We're shutting the door and waiting for Dad to come back. No way am I trying to catch a flapping bird.
"Leave Dave alone and get out of the room!" I order.
But kids being kids, they all completely ignore me - here is a fascinating adventure at breakfast time, how could they possibly stay away?
Of course they open the door. And of course the cat escapes. Dave the Huntress stalks into the dining room and drops the bird under a chair. She sits there eyeballing it, occasionally batting it with a paw.
Oh my. It's a baby. A little baby bird and it's barely moving.
I thrust aside my fear of flapping things, and summon all my courage.
I will have to rescue this baby myself, no way I can just sit back and watch Dave teasing it.
"Get a towel, someone," I demand, "And someone grab Dave."
While the kids hold Dave, I use the towel to scoop up the baby bird. It is tiny.
Its little heart is beating so fast. One eye is injured, half closed. Was it my imagination or did this baby bird just look right into my soul? I have the feeling the bird is grateful, that it knows it's safe now.
The kids run to make a bed from a box, line it with soft things, put water in a dish.
"Can we keep it, mum?" they want to know.
"Well, the bird is hurt, yes, we can look after it... but it's not a pet!"
"I think she's a girl. Can we call her Tinkerbell?"
"We'll have to keep her away from Dave, mum..."
"The bird is hurt, guys," I warn them, "She might not live. You have to prepare yourselves for that."
They go off to school, with a great story to share for News.
I sit on the window seat holding the little bird, willing it to survive.
Eventually I tuck the bird into the bed the kids have made and go about my chores.
When I come back to check on her, she has closed her eyes and her heart is beating slower.
It doesn't look good.
Not long after that, Daddy returns and pronounces her Gone.
3.20pm the kids burst through the door.
"Can we see her?"
"Is she better?"
"Where is she?"
This is the part I've been dreading.
"I'm sorry guys, the bird was hurt too badly. She died not long after you left for school. But at least she didn't die alone and scared; she was safe in her little box..."
Miss Fab nods sagely, surprisingly calm, as if it was news she was expecting.
But the boy, the big nearly-nine-year-old Boy bursts into tears.
"Why did she have to die?! It's not fair! I'm so angry at Dave for killing her..."
I put my arms around him, his whole body is shaking with sobs. I'm surprised at such a strong reaction from him.
He looks up at me.
"Is she in Heaven?"
The question we all want to know when a life is snuffed out. Where are they now?
I'm no theologian, but I take to heart the promise, "He will wipe away every tear from your eyes, and there will be no more mourning, no more death, no more sorrow..."
"I really do think so," I reply. "She mattered to you, even though she was just a little baby bird. God sees your tears, you know. He sees that you cared about this bird. And guess what? God cares about that bird too. Jesus said that when even a sparrow falls to the ground, God notices and He cares."
My Boy wipes his tears away, nodding, satisfied.
He goes off to find the bird and give her a burial.
I am left standing, marveling at my son's tender heart. Thankful that he cares about God's creatures.
He will never be the kind of boy who pulls the wings off butterflies or torments kittens.
This little moment has given me a glimpse into what he's made of. There's a compassionate heart beating in there.
It is hard to recognise at times. Often it's masked by childish selfishness and immaturity.
Disguised and clouded by endless demands and boyish mischief.
But its there. A kind heart. A tender heart.
I will hold onto this as we move into the next stage of life with our Boy.
His birthday is tomorrow, my own baby bird.
Where has the time gone? It has flown and taken my baby with it.
Come back, baby bird! Stay with me.
No, the baby is gone for good.
He has flown away and left me with a Boy, Nine Years Old.
A boy with a tender heart, deep down.
Happy Birthday Dash.