Dear Amy: I’m retired, and my wife is retiring soon.
We have been building a home two hours away (in another state), and will be moving there. This move has been planned for several years.
Our youngest son is about to graduate from high school. He was accepted into his university of choice, but with a one-semester deferral.
Our son is very upset about leaving the only home he has ever known, and leaving his friends, even though his friends are all going away to school.
With my wife’s retirement, we need to reduce expenses, which we are doing by moving to an area with a reduced cost of living.
The new location is a shore community well-known to us (we vacation there every year). Our other older children are happy about it.
I’m wondering if we jumped the gun, moving so soon after his graduation.
I feel terrible that he is so upset. He’s not acting out or being disrespectful; he’s just quietly saying that he hates the decision and doesn’t want to leave.
What should we do?
— Stressed in NY
Dear Stressed: Your son has reasons to feel anxious, disappointed and upset: He is not headed off to college at the same time as his peer group, and, once he does leave for college, he will not be returning to the only home he has ever known.
You and your wife should acknowledge how tough this is. Give him a few options for ways to make this a little easier on him.
Could he enlist some of his buddies to help with the move, and have them spend a week at the new house this summer? (This will help him to build some memories in the new location.)
Could he have use of a car over the October break to perhaps visit his closest pal at his college — or go back to his hometown during the fall break and stay with friends there?
Understand that you cannot fix this for him, or completely protect him from feeling a little lost during this vulnerable time. Listen, commiserate, and — yes — if you feel you have pushed too hard with the timing, say, “I know this is tough, and I’m really sorry.”
Dear Amy: My grandmother died two years ago. She was one of my closet friends and supporters. I miss her every day.
Unfortunately, she struggled being a mom to my mother, and they didn’t have the best relationship.
My mom has mentioned several times how much she disliked her mother.
Recently while we were out having lunch, she mentioned how I’m just like my grandmother, and how she tried to keep me away from her bad influence.
She continued on about how my grandfather hated that I was like grandma, too. (He passed away a few months ago.)
When I tried to get more information about what she meant, she said, “Never mind,” and clammed up.
These words have echoed in my head for the last couple of weeks, and I’ve never been so hurt.
My mother often accuses me of being too emotional, and now I’m wondering if I’m being dramatic and should let it go.
I love my mom. I’ve done everything possible for her since I was little because she needed me (her words, not mine). I just don’t know where to go from here.
— Grandma’s Girl
Dear Girl: Your mother’s childhood was very different from yours and she might now be projecting some of her own complicated fears and anxieties onto you.
It is not fair to open the door by saying something shocking, only to slam it shut with a, “never mind” when you follow up. You should ask your mother more about this, while accepting that you and she will always have vastly different perspectives about this polarizing person.
Dear Amy: I was so disappointed in your response to “Disapproving Wife!” Her husband gave a homeless guy a beer every day. Why were you also so disapproving of this kindness?
— Fed Up
Dear Fed Up: In my answer, I celebrated this husband’s generosity and kindness. I also said that while I personally wouldn’t provide a beer to someone on the street, this man’s choice was one that I wouldn’t (and his wife shouldn’t) judge.