It took two tries and several years, but we sold our house. I don’t think either of us believed it would happen. We furtively moved our things, loading a small pick-up with the garage door closed and making quiet trips to a storage unit. “We’ll probably have to just move it back in,” I thought with flaming cheeks.After a month in the storage unit and about 10 days in our rental, we closed. A soft ding from my email program and the words appeared on the screen: “Mike is back – all is complete.” I rolled the reality around in my mind. Rationally I was thrilled, knowing how the long hours we’d logged as naive newlyweds, tirelessly deconstructing the house were being leveraged to begin the next chapter, but the sensation was tinged with defeat. I had expected relief, maybe euphoria but what I felt was something closer to a balloon coming untethered from its post, yet so little helium remained it just sort of hovered, neither sinking nor taking flight.

Just hours before we’d made a final sweep through the house. My eyes scanned the walls that have surrounded us—Seven Christmases, first as newlyweds with eyes full of excitement, then as new parents without a nickel to spare, and then later, with more of us. Sean moved through the house slowly, reverently. I noticed that his shoes were off and chuckled, all these years and it took having it be someone else’s for him to really embrace the no shoes inside policy.

It happened at the same moment, we began to weep. Babies. All nighters. Birthday parties. Blisters. Ambitions. So many memories rattled around. We never truly felt settled, as if somehow knowing we’d move along, but standing there, eyes burning and chins trembling, we realized we were saying goodbye to our home.

Our home.

Saying goodbye is proving to be as hard as the work that brought us to this day. I think that’s good. I am happy for our old house and the family that will be making their own memories with their baby daughter.

Their house.