The girls exploded into the house, instantly shattering my brief moment of calm after coming home from work. They piled on top of me on the couch leaving the front door standing wide open in their excitement to tell me all about their new neighborhood friends.

Clara was particularly eager to tell me about how she had driven the neighbors car. She stood on the back of the couch, precariously balanced above my head, and pointed. “There. It’s that one.” she said. “Not the big one, of course, but the little one. The pink one.”

I didn’t have to look. I understood and nodded. She smiled wide, “It was sooo much fun.” she pretended to almost faint with joy and fell back onto the couch beside me, “But I drove it into the ditch and got it stuck on some rocks and my friend’s mom came out and yelled at me and said I can’t drive it anymore.” She shrugged, and scrambled back up to stare out the window at the pink jeep in the neighbor’s driveway.
I raised my eyebrows and turned to say something to Lydia. That’s when I realized that Lydia’s face had some new scratches on it. A bad rash on her forehead, nose, and chin.

“Oh no, Lydia. What happened to your face?” I pointed.

She went cross eyed and tapped at her nose a few times. Her sister, who was now draped across my shoulders somehow, quickly launched into a breathless explanation. “Oh, she’s fine. She just fell on her face riding down a hill on our friend’s skateboard.”
“Excuse me, What?!”

Clara started to explain what a skateboard is.

“No, I know what a skateboard is. But… what?”

I looked back at the 3-year old in the delicately laced pink princess dress she had begged to put on that morning. She was still tapping absentmindedly at her nose. She smiled dreamily and her eyes seemed to twinkle with a private memory. Then she suddenly made a whooshing sound, threw her arms out to her sides, and began running through the house. Clara, who was now upside down on the other side of me, frantically rolled off the couch and chased her sister up the stairs.