She hears we're going on an outing and she hurries up to get dressed. On goes a carefully considered T-shirt with a crocheted shrug over it, embroidered jeans, pretty socks and sparkly shoes. She pulls her curls up so that they cascade down the back of her neck. She checks the mirror and scampers into the van. We arrive at our destination just a few minutes later. With the baby on my hip and Nicholas following behind, we follow her into the office. "I'm here," she calls out to the receptionist, "but I'm not sick. Nicky's sick. And maybe Sarah Annie. I'm just visiting."
I think the nurse might burst out laughing, but she manages to stifle it. The receptionist gives in to the giggle. The children are weighed and measured and temperatures checked. The doctor arrives. He asks Karoline how she is and is met with a full report of the last week, including every cake baked, a full accounting of Cox Farms and the hayride, and the happy news of her trip to Red Robin, complete with a rendition of the birthday song. Now we're all smiling from ear to ear.
By the time we leave with $200 worth of prescriptions, it's confirmed that Karoline has an ear infection and a fever, among other things. She gathers her stickers (and a few extras for Katie).
"Good-bye. I'll see you later. Thanks for having me!"
I don't think the sun has ever shone so brightly in that office.