I've found it over dinner, trying to get as much conversation and romance in as possible to one meal.
I've found it underfoot, when the universe saw me walking through stress and grief and sent a subtle sign to me to slow down just for a moment.
And last month, waist-high in the ocean on our last day in Hawaii, after a week of stress detoxing in saltwater and sunshine, when an unfamiliar ease filled my brain and body, I glanced down and saw it again.
Take this with you, I let that moment whisper to it. Then I chose to take the fullness in my heart as well as that heart, and tucked the leaf into my beach bag.
When we got home and unpacked two suitcases of sandy clothes and still-wet swimsuits, I found the heart leaf, folded in half and dried out. The color wasn't the same, the musky smell had faded. But after all that travel, I knew where exactly where it needed to go.
I laid it across beautiful, handmade Japanese paper my good friend Shawn wrapped a wedding gift he gave me nine years ago. I've used bits of it in other places and this was one more place a square of the purple flowers and indigo waves outlined in white and silver needed to be. I hung it up in my bathroom so I could see it while I am floating in the tub, trying to recapture that ease I had in Hawaii.
It was up a few days before Lil E noticed it.
"OH!" he said, his words muffled by the electric toothbrush humming in his mouth. "You put up the heart!"
"I did!" I was just as excited he noticed as he was. "It's to remind us to keep looking for love and we will keep finding it."
He nodded, staring at the leaf, now floating on paper waves in a frame.
I watched him. The moment expanded almost like it did that last day on the little island in the great big ocean. Almost. This time, the sentimentality and symbolism was interrupted.
With that, the little boy with toothpaste bubbled up in the corners of his mouth and dripping off his chin, flipped off his toothbrush, tapped it twice on the edge of the sink, spit, and smiled.
Of course, I laughed. Of course, he can have it then. Of course, we both are full of it already.