“Is there a place to go?” I asked.

“Yup. The guy was really nice, said there was a little girls room upstairs.” Sean said with his hand on the small of my back.

I stepped out of the car and said, “C’mon girls, let’s go upstairs and go to the bathroom.”

“Ok,” they chirped in unison.

We tromped upstairs, stopping every step or two to reconfirm that we were going to the bathroom.

“That’s right. We’ll go right up to the bathroom and then hit the road again,” I said ushering them up the carpeted stairs.

We walked single file down the hallways past a few doors.

“Mom, what’s hit the road? Does it hurt?” Ave asked.

“No honey, it means go.” I said.

“Hit means go?” she stopped.

“No, but go,” I said chuckling. She snickered and scampered ahead. We got to the end of the hallway and then finally into the bathroom. Briar went first while Avery played with a squat farm sink at just her height. Briar launched herself off the toilet with a whisper-shout, “Your turn, Ave!” and nearly elbowing Briar off of the sink.

Avery sat and did her thing, cat one point shushing Briar. After she was done she went to the sink to wash her hands.

“Mom?” Ave asked in a stage whisper.

“Yes, sweetie.”

“Mom, after I wash my hands can we see the little girl?” She asked hopefully.

“What little girl?” I asked.

“The little girl who lives here and uses that little sink. Can we see her?” She asked as I clumsily put together in my head that she was referring to the little girl of Sean’s “little girls room,” comment.

“No, we can’t honey,” I said as I dried her hands.

“Why, cause she’s sleeping?” she asked looking up at me. Her eyes were so dark, so expectant that I lost myself in the moment of thinking of nothing but her face.

“Mom, it’s ok. I’ll hold Briar’s hand and we’ll walk without waking her up, ok?” She and Briar were already holding hands.

It’s these moments when I am able to occupy not just the space near her, but the trajectory of her thoughts, that I find myself being weak, and riding rather than steering. One day I’ll need to explain, but not this day.

This day and the days ahead will embrace sleeping little girls, fairies in gardens and anything else that the three shades of blue in my daughters’ eyes are able to see.