We're at a motel in upstate New York. That's right -- a motel. And if you ever toured the U.S. in the 1970s, you'll recognize the kind of motel It's one-story and brick. You can pull up right to the doorway and unload your car. This motel happens to have about a dozen or more motorcycles parked in front of the doors. Apparently, a lot of older people from Canada ride their motorcyles to upstate New York for the weekend.
The room inside is nice though with wood floors and wooden tables, a bed, and a rollaway bed so that Earl, Grace and I can all fit. Grace and I shared the bed while Earl took the cot.
So far, tears have fallen intermittently and sobs have shaken Grace's swimmer's shoulders several times.
Before we left yesterday, she sat on her bed clutching a stuffed panda bear, rocking back and forth as she cried.
We lured her out with the promise of a family breakfast and convinced her to bring the panda bear along. Breakfast with the boys was a little belligerent with Tucker picking apart everything I said, before the boys gave hugs to their sister who was going away for four months. Well, Spencer gave a hug. Tucker stood still and was hugged.
Spencer had asked me earlier in the week, "Will you cry when you leave Grace?"
"Of course, I will," I told him.
"I'm not going to cry," he said.
And he didn't, but he gave her a few words of encouragement.
While we were driving nine hours, I called and checked on the boys. Spencer had "a few" friends over, including Chelsea and Hannah. Um, no. That's not okay.
At least it took my mind off the impending departure.
Today is the day when we get to travel about 15 miles, find Grace's dorm room, make up her bed, put some posters on the wall, have lunch in the cafeteria, walk around the campus and sit in Adirondack chairs. I can cheerfully anticipate all of that. I just can't think about that moment -- that moment that is stamped onto the schedule -- family goodbye at 4:30 p.m.
That's when we'll climb in the car and leave her alone with people she has only met on Facebook.
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