This week, something happened that I knew was on the horizon, but still didn’t seem real to me. My parents moved out of California.
And this is a big deal. We moved from Arizona when I was 3, and they lived in Ventura up until this week. But it didn’t seem real, even as I talked with my parents constantly as they searched for a new house.
I admit, I didn’t exactly see my parents as much as I should have in the last couple years. But through college, I’d have lunch with my dad once a week. And when I became pregnant with the Oldest Kidlet, I started talking to my mom daily on the phone.
Over the weekend, my parents came down with a U-Haul filled with all the boxes I never sorted through. Childhood toys, all my books, and boxes of random crap that I haphazardly “packed” away when I went to college.
I might not be the most organized person, but recognizing that what I did as a 17 year old wasn’t actually packing is probably a good sign.
In glancing in some of the boxes, I did see some treasures. An honorable mention ribbon that I got at the Ventura County Fair for creative writing (though for the life of me, I don’t know what I would have submitted). A photostrip of pictures of my sister and I from when I was 16. Books that were my good friends during the years where I wore a smile on the outside, but felt alone.
Even as my dad unloaded all these things, and I poked through the boxes, it didn’t quite sink in that this was all happening. The next day my mom sent me pictures from the road. A roller coaster from Six Flags, surrounded by fog. A Starbucks cup with a misspelled name. The I-10 crossing the Colorado river, with the road sign saying Welcome to Arizona.
Seeing that sign, it finally hit me that my parents don’t live in California anymore. And in that moment, a wall of emptiness surrounded me, and I felt like I was left behind. It didn’t last for long, that feeling. My brain caught up with my heart and I saw the life I’ve built for myself here.
I chose to stay in California. I could have gone to school at University of Arizona, but I went with Chapman University instead. Because of that, I got the job at Disneyland, met TheBoy and we are where we are today. Sometimes it feels like I stumbled into it, but when I look back, I see all the decisions that I’ve made- that we’ve made, and it’s hard to deny that I built this life.
I’m really very happy for my parents. They have a new house to make into a home. For the first time in 16 years (Or thereabouts), my dad has a reasonable commute. He’d been commuting down to Orange County from Ventura every day for all those years. Lesser men would have crumbled, weaker marriages would have ended. Somehow my parents survived it. And so I’m happy that they get to carve out a new life.
I just have to get used to time zones.
Point me towards tomorrow.