I woke with a start. Through bleary eyes, I try to see the clock. 1:35 am. I can't sleep for I am thinking about the day ahead. I decide to get up and walk, but just as I roll over I hear a small voice from the next bed call out "Mama?" "What is it, Anna?", I whisper into the dark hotel room. "Can we go for a swim in the pool?" "No, Anna. It is the middle of the night." She pauses, but I can tell there is more on her mind. "Mama?" "What is it, Anna?" "Do we really have to leave Sophie here at college?" My heart breaks as I tell her that yes, we do have to leave Sophie in Steubenville.
Early that morning, I go to her dorm room to do what my mother did for me when I left home the first time. We organize her room and chat about small things. We can't bring ourselves to talk about much else. After everything is in its place, we go back to the hotel. We stand in the parking lot and say our good-byes. Sophie and I get back in the van and we drive up the winding hill to the campus that will be her new home. We embrace and the tears flow freely. She starts walking away, and I return to the driver's seat and try to compose myself. I look out the window one last time and I see another student come up to Sophie and hug her. They sit down on a bench and in that moment, I know that everything will be all right.
We are back home this morning, and in a little while, I will call her. I am already planning what to put in the first care package from home. I miss my baby girl.