“Not me!” Lydia cheered, as Clara grumpily went back to eating her pizza. “I’m very excited about my birthday next year!”

“Good!” Her mother and I said, “That’s the right attitude. Why are you excited about your birthday this year?”

“Because…” She poked a thumb at her chest as it swelled proudly. “I get to have TWO birthdays this year.”

Andrea and I shared a confused look. “How is that?”

“Because…” She bowed and waved an arm elegantly. “Clara agreed that she and I are twins. And that means her birthday is now my birthday too.”

Clara suddenly stopped eating her pizza and straightened in her chair. She stared wide-eyed at the wall in front of her. “What?” she said finally after swallowing hard.

“That’s right!” Lydia said, continuing to dance in her seat. “You said we could be twins. And now I get TWO birthdays.”

“Well, yeah…” Clara fumbled with the words as the concepts continued to roll around in her mind. “I said… We could be… But we were just…”

“Clara, did you really agree to be twins with your sister?”

She looked frantically back and forth between me and her sister. “No! I mean, yes, but we were just playing. I didn’t think that-”

“You didn’t think that by agreeing to be twins with your sister that now she would share your same birthday? Clara, that is exactly how twins work. They are born at the same time. So, that usually means they have the same birthday. If Lydia is your twin sister now, that means she gets to share your birthday.”

Lydia gave an exaggerated thumbs up across the table to her sister. Gideon, who was quietly listening to one side, did the same.

“So, what did she offer you, Clara? Was it worth it? To let her be your twin sister? Clara…” I said softly, “Was it a bowl of lentils?”

The older girl growled and squeezed the side of the table. “She can’t have my birthday!”

I put my arm around Lydia’s shoulders, “Lydia, I give you my blessing.” then I leaned in and the two of us looked across the table at Clara who was fuming and muttering to herself. “But you should leave tonight,” I said quietly into her ear, “flee to the East before your sister destroys you.”