Two Teens And Their Mama: They Left Me For The Sunshine

Monday, June 23, 2014

They Left Me For The Sunshine


Two years ago, my parents moved from Washington State to Arizona.  Other than the four years I was away at college, it's the first time in my life they haven't lived nearby.

I'm 47 years old, and I'm mad at my parents for moving away from me.  Isn't that the most ridiculous sentence you've ever read?   Even as I write it, I know how silly I sound.

My sweet mother worked very hard her entire life, supporting three kids and my father. Dad almost always had jobs, but he never put much effort into them, and my mom had to pick up the slack.  There wasn't a lot of money, but we managed, and mom did the best she could.

In October of 2011, my mother was finally able to retire.  By February of 2012, my parents had sold my childhood home and everything in it, built a new house in a 55+ community near Phoenix, and they were gone.

Just like that.

It happened so fast, we didn't have time to protest, much less offer any alternatives. I was shocked when they said they were moving, since they had never mentioned they were considering it.  I'm pretty sure they had not even visited Arizona before.

Their reasons for going were valid.  The home I grew up in was too big for the two of them, and even small houses in our area would have stretched their retirement budget.  In Phoenix, they built a brand new, perfectly sized rambler in a beautiful community, and it was very affordable.  It sits on a man made lake, and my dad can fish to his heart's content.  The weather is sunny every day, and their life is more laid back and relaxed.  


Logically, I know that my parents deserve to live wherever they want, and this is honestly none of my business.  I'm a grown woman, and they don't have to stay nearby just because I want them to.  Living for 35 years in rainy, gray Washington takes a toll, and I completely understand them wanting to live in the sunshine and warmth.  As their daughter, if I decided to move away, I would expect them to support me.

However, I'm being emotional and immature, and not logical.

Because they left us.  All three children, two sons-in-law, four grandchildren, and the life we had shared for 47 years.  They live in Phoenix full time, and we live in Washington. My dad refuses to visit except once a year at Christmas.  My mom comes up more often, but dad doesn't like her leaving him, so she feels guilty the entire time she's here. 

I had been looking forward to spending more time with my mom when she retired, going to lunch, shopping and talking.  I miss her every single day.

They are so far away, and I worry about them.  My father had a stroke five years ago, and his health isn't great.  If my parents needed me, it would take all day to get to them, instead of the usual twenty minutes.  I hate the thought of my mom being all alone with no family or friends to help her.


Of course, there are some positives.  We now have a wonderful vacation destination with built in lodging anytime we want it.  And....well, that's all I can think of.  So, one positive.

Maybe this just happened at a bad time.  My boys are getting ready to leave the nest, and I feel like my parents have abandoned me in my time of need :).

I hope my readers can forgive me for sounding so selfish and ridiculous, but it feels helpful to vent here.  I assure you, I know I need to get over this, and be thankful for the new life my parents are living - a life they deserve to have. I'm lucky to still have them - I love them and want them to be happy.

I'm just so sad that they left me for the sunshine.

25 comments:

  1. I feel you on this one!! My dad and step mom recently moved a few hours away from us (not nearly as far as your parents moved) because they bought a beautiful place on the water. i was used to them living around the corner so it's definitely an adjustment. No more Sunday night dinners.
    BUT we do have a beautiful place to go and spend time with them... just means less visits.
    Guess the lesson for both of us is that we really need to make the visits count now!

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    1. It definitely is fun to visit! I miss the everyday things though.

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  2. It´s okay to rant and I hope you´ll get used to living far away from your parents in time. At least you´ll have something to look forward to when you go on a vacation soon. ;)

    http://dressingupforme.blogspot.com/

    http://dressingupforme.blogspot.com/

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    1. Thanks for letting me rant! It is fun to go visit them.

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  3. I'm the one who moved, and I wish I'd had the chance to be with my parents in the same town, too.
    C
    http://carolcassara.com/feeling-good-enough/

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    1. Usually it is the kids who move away! I really miss them.

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  4. My parents also moved last year from the home I grew up in to a Continuing Care Facility. I was so sad, I cried when they sold the house. However, after I visited them in their new place and saw how beautiful it was and how happy they are with many activities and resources available, I felt so much better. They were never close to me, so I didn't have that same element of sadness, though

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    1. I cried when they sold the house too, even though I knew it was for the best. I think if my dad's health was better I wouldn't be so worried about them.

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  5. My parents have always lived in the west, and I married someone from New England so I live on the east coast now. Ironically, my dad grew up out here and all of his relatives still live here. My parents retired to Washington state...about as far away as they can get from us. So we don't see them often. My in laws live next door though, so my kids do have a set of grandparents who are close by.

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    1. See, retiring in Washington isn't so bad :) My boys miss their grandparents so much, and that's one of the hardest parts.

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  6. I don't think you're being silly at all. In a way it feels like abandonment, right? No matter what age or level of maturity you are, that can feel lousy. I totally understand how you would be upset with this new arrangement. Wish I had some suggestions ...

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    1. Thanks so much for your kind comment. Everyone's support is very helpful!

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  7. Being kind of stuck in the middle I see both sides. I was so ready for the empty nest. I had my children young so I was 40 when my youngest turned 18. Something I had always looked forward to (although I'm crazy about my kids). I just wanted to get back to my husband and I and adventure. Four years later I'm taking care of my mom full time. Sometimes I feel like I'll never get the chance to live for me. I say enjoy it while you can and have an adventure, di skmething you've always dreamed of doing

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    1. I totally agree with you, which is why I'm working hard to get over my issues. My parents deserve this adventure. You're so kind to take care of your mother!

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  8. That's a hard situation, Lana. I'm sure they miss all of you, too. I hope the pain will ease soon!

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm not sure they miss us that much :).

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  9. I completely do NOT think you're being whiney - it's a big deal to have your parents nearby, enjoying all of the little moments with you and your family. I moved away from Denver (where all of my family except my mom who is in Montana lives) and even though I'm the one who left, I wish they were all closer. It's a bummer that it's so expensive and such a hassle to have them all spend time with me and my son. Sigh. At least you have a good vacation destination! I guess? Sigh. Sorry - I do feel your pain.

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    1. Thank you! It helps to hear that I'm not too whiney. I don't know what the answer is, except to accept it and get used to it.

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  10. You have every right to feel as you do! Maybe you'll be able to visit in the winter? We're in AZ, and people love it then -- it's the summers that are brutal for visitors -- but it's a dry heat! ;)

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    1. Thank you! We have been down to visit at Thanksgiving, and the weather has been lovely. The guys love golfing! So there are some benefits.

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  11. That's really hard. It's funny that as we're younger, we don't rely on our parents as much as we do when we're older. I'm 33 and I started missing my parents quite a bit once I turned 30. I'm not sure what happened to me but I had to come home more often for visits. So I know the feeling.

    My friend is going through the empty nest thing and it's tough. I remember when my mom went through that. It was hard for all of us. It's almost like you got a two-sided empty nest. I totally understand where you're coming from.

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    1. It definitely feels like a two sided empty nest. I appreciate the sympathy :)

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  12. Lana, I met you over the weekend from the sharefest. I thought I liked you then. Now I know I do. I would feel the same way if my parents had ever done that. I don't think we are ever too old to feel abandoned. lol

    That being said, I understand their need to move. It makes so much sense to them in so many ways, and it is an adventure that makes them feel alive. It looks like they are living the sweet life. I would move in a heartbeat...if I could drag my grown sons with me.

    Looking forward to hearing all about your adventures in Arizona when you visit.

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    1. What a kind comment - thank you SO much! I do feel torn - I'm sorry for myself, but I understand their reasons. Right now I can't imagine leaving my boys and moving away. Thanks again for the nice comment.

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