Yesterday we headed to Utah to drop Whitney's stuff off at BYU. After a whirlwind unpacking in the new apartment, and a quick hello to a few new roommates it was off to Heber for Trevor and Megan's wedding reception. The yard was beautifully decorated and everything was just lovely, including the two 'hotties' scooping ice cream. This morning we made the drive back down Provo Canyon to really leave Whitney in Provo. Two years ago when I did this, only Eli and I made the trip. I was doing great with the whole situation, or so I thought. We had an ice cream cone at The Creamery and then walked her back to her dorm. The image of Eli trying so hard to blink back his tears is forever embedded on my heart. As Whitney and I hugged just 'one more time' we agreed not to cry and not to say goodbye, but just 'I'll see you soon.' I had been praying for months for courage and strength to be able to let her go, and I can honestly say those prayers were answered for several days. I experienced a calm reassurance that she was where she wanted to be, where she was supposed to be, and where she needed to be. I was fine for about 2 days until I went into her room the first time she wasn't there. Then it hit me. She was gone. I think I stopped breathing. It felt like forever, just standing there, taking it all in. No more sound of her laughter, no more scent of Jasmine, no more 'wits from Whit', no more JEOPARDY challenges, and no more 'goodnight, mom, I love you'. The days went by quickly, and I found that taking deep breaths made it all okay. I came to look forward to her e-mails, and I could still hear the laughter in her voice when she called. Dropping her off last year was a bit easier, but Eli still blinked back those tears for a few miles after we left. This year we had the whole family, so it was a bit different. I asked Eli if he had anything to say to her before we left. "Nope. Just goodbye." No more tears this year. Maybe third time's a charm. It was a bit hard on Cassidy, their last hug was a little longer,but they left each other with a smile. Dad's hug was big and friendly, mine a little bit gentler, but again, no tears, and just an "I love you...we'll see you soon!" Some days I miss her like crazy, but on days like today, I am grateful to know that she is once again, where she wants to be, where she is supposed to be, and where she needs to be. It doesn't get much better than that!