Istumble down the stairs, more asleep than awake. I’d been up half the night, torn between sadness that we’re moving, fear of what lies ahead in Stonesworth, and dare I say it, a slight tinge of excitement at the possibility of something new. Nothing is ever new in Brownsfeld, and that is one of the many reasons it’s home. But sometimes new is… good.

“Good morning, sleepyhead,” Mommy greets me, motioning toward the pot of coffee. I always allow myself a cup before I daven, Abba says it’s okay. I give her a half smile and help myself. Mommy hates that I drink coffee, but I tell her that I need to, and besides, it’s delicious, and she refuses to fight with me about it — as long as I know she doesn’t approve. “Any plans today?”

I look up from my mug and watch her, thinking.

There’s a series of sketches spread across the table; Mommy is trying to come up with a perfect depiction for Ferdl the Fireman, a new book about a horse who puts out fires. She keeps shaking her head and making comments like “he’s just too horsey,” or “not brave enough.”

I love her.

“No plans,” I say. “Not that I know of anyway. Of course, the Ladies Auxiliary and the school PTA might have other ideas.”

Mommy snorts and shakes her head. Ever since the news leaked that we’re moving, people have been calling from every front. I guess it was inevitable that it would get out, because, as Tzippy put it, “trying to keep a secret in Brownsfeld is like trying to sneeze with your eyes open.”

“I got a call from the JCC,” Mommy says, rolling her eyes. “As if I’m going to change our plans because they really need Abba to build them another set for this year’s production of ‘Mommy, Is It Shabbos Yet?’ ”

I giggle but then I’m angry. Yes. Yes, we should change our plans. The JCC needs us. Our friends need us. We are part of a community! Why are we leaving all of that behind?

“Why?” I burst out. Mommy looks startled, she’s dropped one of her sketches.

“Why what?” she says warily.

“Why are we upending our lives, uprooting ourselves from a town that loves us, that cares about us, to move to a dumb city full of fancy people who drive pink cars and eat salad? What’s wrong with staying here? Why can’t we just homeschool Simchi? Why do we need to do something as irrational as pick up and move to a place where we know no one and nobody knows us?” My voice is high pitched and screechy, I barely recognize it. “What about Sari’s ballet classes? Tzippy’s college? My school? Tzviki’s yeshivah? What about Abba’s workshop and chavrusas and the Gewirtzes and my friends? What about this house, with our yellow kitchen, and the trampoline? It makes absolutely no sense. He’s just one kid, Mommy. Don’t forget you have five more.”

I hear a gasp behind me and whirl around. Sari is standing there, hand over her mouth. I know I’ve gone too far, Mommy’s face is white, the green of her eyes stands out starkly as she stares at me. But I can’t seem to stop. “It’s always Simchi this and Simchi that. Well, I’m sick of it. Sick of it!”

“Rachel Ahuva,” Sari cautions suddenly. I turn and see Simchi staring at me. I don’t know when I’d started crying, but all I see of Simchi’s little face is a blurry circle surrounded by tufts of blond hair. I stumble toward the doorway. “It’s fine,” I say over my shoulder. “It’s not like he can hear me anyway.” Then I flee to my room. (Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 712)