Daddy picked me up again on Friday from school. "Hey, how was school?"
"Not bad. We've been working on time. You know, looking at a clock and writing down what time it says. I think I've got that. Much better than all that regrouping stuff." I wrinkled my nose and shook my head.
Daddy chuckled. "We'll be especially quiet when we get home. I'm hoping Momma and Peyton are still napping."
Surprisingly, the house was quiet when we walked in. Daddy gave me a thumbs-up and motioned for me to follow him into the kitchen.
"There's a couple of Meme's muffins left. Want one?"
"Sure. I'll make us some chocolate milk."
"Perfect," Daddy whispered.
We ate in silence then Daddy wiped his mouth with his napkin. "Do you have any homework to do?"
"Just my reading."
"I think I'll sneak in some studying for my sermon for Sunday while it's quiet."
I knew where Daddy would study. He would sit in his big recliner chair in the den. All kinds of books and papers were stacked on the table beside of him.
"I got a book from the library. I can study with you."
We settled into the den, but we only had about thirty minutes of quiet. A cry burst through the baby radio thing on the table. Daddy closed two books on his lap and started to push the foot thing down, but we could hear Momma's voice over the radio.
In just a few minutes Momma came into the den carrying the kid. "Hey Sweetie. How was school?"
"Good. Like I told Daddy, we're studying telling time ..."
The kid's crying interrupted me.
"I think he's hungry. Be right back."
Daddy stood. "Here, I'll help you. He gets impatient."
All three of them walked toward the kitchen. Guess I'll tell Momma later about my day. That kid sure knows how to interrupt me.
During supper Momma talked about things she needed from the store for the kid. As soon as the dishes were in the dishwasher, Daddy left for the store. Momma hurried upstairs to change the kid's diaper.
I ran upstairs to my bedroom and fell onto my bed. I just don't fit in here anymore. I don't think they need me.
The Brooks' would only make me come right back home if I went there. I jumped off the bed. I knew the perfect place to go.
I piled my sleeping bag, pillow, and lantern flashlight into my old wagon. Tiptoeing back into the kitchen, I grabbed a couple of juice boxes and some cheese crackers and added them to my supplies.
I pulled my things across the street as fast as I could without dumping the wagon and parked it under the big tree. The broom was still on Sara's back porch, so I raced over and hauled it up the ladder to the treehouse.
Dust flew everywhere as I swept out the one room. I sneezed three times. Finally it was cleared out enough to make my new bedroom. I smoothed out the sleeping bag and put my pillow at the top. My lantern was right beside me along with my snacks. I laid down on my tummy and looked out the front opening.
The sky was a little bit dark. I clicked on my flashlight. Outside it got even blacker. I didn't much care for the dark. In my bedroom I had a little nightlight. But I sat up and moved my lantern closer. Was that a noise? My hands got a little shaky. I hugged my pillow tight. I would be safe up here, right?
"Chloe, are you up there?" Daddy's voice called out.
"I sure hope it's you. Our family isn't complete without my Chloe-girl."
I leaned out the doorway. "Really?"
I threw my legs over the edge of the treehouse. "I figured you had a new kid and didn't need me anymore." My lip quivered.
"Are you kidding?" Daddy climbed up the ladder and sat down beside me. "You are a very special part of our family. No one can take your place. It will take some time to get used to not being the only child. I had to do that."
"Of course. And I have a younger brother and a younger sister." He put his arm around me and hugged. "So I can help you learn to be a big sister. I have experience." He kissed the top of my head. "And please don't run away again. I don't like it when you're not in our family. I love you."
"Okay Daddy. I love you too." I looked around. It was almost all the way dark now. "I didn't much like being out here in the dark by myself."
"I don't really like it either. Let's go home."
When I walked through the front door, Momma rushed up and hugged me. "Please don't scare me like that again."
"I'm sorry to scare you, Momma." My eyes felt wet.
"And I'm sorry that I haven't been able to pay attention to you. But we all have to learn how to be a family. A family of four now. Will you work with me? Tell me when you feel left out?"
"Sure, Momma. At least I only have to get used to one kid. Poor Daddy had to get used to two."
Why did Chloe feel like she didn't fit into the family anymore?
Running away wasn't the answer for Chloe. What suggestions would you give Chloe on how to deal with change in the family?