Abandoned at 32 years old

My parents have talked for a couple of years about moving when my dad retires. They’ve stopped in towns that looked interesting while they were on travel, tried a few weekend getaways in some other areas and had an ongoing dialogue about where they may move. The end result was always the same, they won’t move until my dad actually retires because he travels so much during the week and ultimately they’ll probably stay right where they are now. They have lived in the same town for 24 years have made long term friends and are involved in different organizations. Though they say they never do anything, though the reality is that they are hardly ever home. I fear that they have unrealistic expectations of a social life. Moving at this stage in their lives brings about obstacles, they no longer have small children like they did when they last moved 24 years ago, which are a great way to meet new people in a strange town. Their new neighborhood could be filled with young families (they won’t do any research of the neighborhood, I’m sure), who won’t be eager to have my parents over for happy hour.

So earlier this week at 8am I get a surprise phone call, my parents have bought a house in Florida. WTF? They went to visit friends in Ormond Beach, Fl. I knew they would look at real estate while there and assumed they would come back from this visit eager to go back and get a better feel for the town. WRONG. On day 2 they found a great house and started the buying process. This sounds like a horrible idea for the following reasons:

1. They know very little about the town, how about looking into that a little more? Are there activities and groups for them to involve themselves in? Where’s the grocery store? Who knows, who cares apparently.

2. They didn’t want to live in a beach area and deal with the added insurance and hurricane headache. The new house is 2 blocks from the beach.

3. We are in the DC suburbs with their only grandchildren. My mom keeps saying things about us coming to visit and how they’re close to lots of things and will have a backyard pool. That’s great but it’s not like they bought a place in Rehoboth. Driving 12 hours to access their pool is not really appealing. They see our kids almost weekly now, and complain when more than two weeks go by without visiting. They need to get ready for annual visits at best.

4. They’re just going to get older, now with no family nearby to help. Right now they are an hour away from my family. If they were moving near my brother in SC I would understand that more. My mom complains about my grandmother being so far away now, so what do my parents do? Perpetuate this cycle.

The whole thing is rash and my parents have been making similar decisions for a while now, then regretting the decision. Case in point. My mother decides to buy a Hybrid on the fly and drives straight to the dealership. They don’t have the exact vehicle she wants, so instead of ordering what she wants and waiting a couple of months like a normal person, she buys what they have and then has them replace everything on it (switching out the entire interior, retroactively adding the GPS, etc) What? She now regrets that and says she should have waited.

I admit to researching everything before buying, but TH and I rarely have regrets because of this. It’s one thing to regret a vehicle purchase, but to regret an enormous life change is something else entirely. Luckily, while they have bought the house they do have about 18 months before dad retires, so it can be like a long engagement before they make the final commitment to leave their current lives behind. Thinking I was overreacting to a degree (I do that sometimes), I called my brother and asked for his opinion. He agrees that this too quick of a decision and is worried that they will have regrets. We both agree that my parents have the right to retire wherever they want, they’ve worked hard and been very selfless. But an educated decision would make us all feel better.

Realistically I am an almost 32 year old woman with kids, a husband, career and house. But my inner four year old feels abandoned. I have a small family and they will have all moved away.


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