Shuffling and muttering I bring my house back to normalcy after the Armageddon of Christmas and the New Year. This task holds a melancholy push/pull of hold on and let go. Candy cane wrappers tucked into sofa cushions. Pine needles lining the grout. Boxes and bags and fudge no longer suitable for eating. A fridge full of this, that and yesterday. Glitter – because they still wanted to toss reindeer feed on Christmas Eve at the ages 18, 18, 20 and 22. Sheets to be pulled from beds that hugged their once-little but now adult bodies one last time before we said goodbye. Shampoo and soap no longer needed in the downstairs bath for the daughter already halfway to San Francisco. A coffee mug still holding my grown son’s precious words from the other night. He is already home again in South Carolina. Evidence of even the littlest one who no longer lives here by her scent on a crumpled blanket that she threw over herself as she nestled into the crook of my right arm. I shuffle and mutter to put order back to where chaos briefly lived these last few weeks; all the while wondering how I will endure the inner chaos that order will bring. And as I straighten the salt dampened boots by the front door I see them – sentries – 3 keys on 4 hooks that metered their precious comings and goings while we were all together this one last time in the home we built. 3 keys that are no longer needed on 4 hooks; the 4th lanyard dangling from the pocket of the one who will be the last out the door with me. We are selling this home in the coming months. It is now that I feel the brunt of it. The brunt of all of it. Yearning for one more day to hold on; eager after all that has happened to let go. Placed neatly in today – between the turbulence of ‘before’ and the unknown of ‘later’ – with 3 keys on 4 hooks and just waiting to hang the last one quietly before we latch the door for good.