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LucyFlo

Emigrating and leaving parents behind

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Hi,

 

I am an only child with parents who are 62 and 67. 

My fiancé is Australian and we’ve decided we would like to relocate to Australia with our little girl who is 10 months old.

Initially, my parents took it ok. We asked them to join us on a CPV which they were up for and also very excited about. After a couple of months, they decided they didn’t want to leave the uk. They are a very anxious pair and decided it was too much for them to cope with. Fair enough, I totally understand and empathise with them.

Since deciding they won’t be coming, it has been an absolute rollercoaster of emotions. They’ve been so upset and very vocal about it and I feel horrifically guilty. They said they don’t want to come and visit after coming for the first and only visit and they aren’t sure they want to FaceTime as it will be too painful (we are very close now and live in the same town). 

 

As time has gone on, it has become more awkward when I see them. Today I got lots of angry messages from my dad saying we had been selfish and not thought of them at all (we did though as I wanted them to come with us and when they said they couldn’t, I tried to work out a plan with them to make it work). My dad says he’s glad our relationship seems to have changed as it will make it easier when we leave. 

I 100% empathise with how they must be feeling, I feel dreadful, but I also feel that it’s unfair to call me selfish for thinking of my fiancé and my daughter’s future.

Has anyone else been in this position? Please tell me it gets easier! I love my parents to bits, but at the moment I just can’t be around them. We are all too sad and that sadness is slowly turning into anger and resentment which breaks my heart. I’m crying as I write this as I feel so awful and so guilty for making them feel this way, but I feel like we can’t go back on this now. I really want to make the move and if we cancelled the move, we would always wonder ‘what if?’ And I would also feel awful for putting my fiancé and child in second place.

 

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42 minutes ago, LucyFlo said:

Hi,

 

I am an only child with parents who are 62 and 67. 

My fiancé is Australian and we’ve decided we would like to relocate to Australia with our little girl who is 10 months old.

Initially, my parents took it ok. We asked them to join us on a CPV which they were up for and also very excited about. After a couple of months, they decided they didn’t want to leave the uk. They are a very anxious pair and decided it was too much for them to cope with. Fair enough, I totally understand and empathise with them.

Since deciding they won’t be coming, it has been an absolute rollercoaster of emotions. They’ve been so upset and very vocal about it and I feel horrifically guilty. They said they don’t want to come and visit after coming for the first and only visit and they aren’t sure they want to FaceTime as it will be too painful (we are very close now and live in the same town). 

 

As time has gone on, it has become more awkward when I see them. Today I got lots of angry messages from my dad saying we had been selfish and not thought of them at all (we did though as I wanted them to come with us and when they said they couldn’t, I tried to work out a plan with them to make it work). My dad says he’s glad our relationship seems to have changed as it will make it easier when we leave. 

I 100% empathise with how they must be feeling, I feel dreadful, but I also feel that it’s unfair to call me selfish for thinking of my fiancé and my daughter’s future.

Has anyone else been in this position? Please tell me it gets easier! I love my parents to bits, but at the moment I just can’t be around them. We are all too sad and that sadness is slowly turning into anger and resentment which breaks my heart. I’m crying as I write this as I feel so awful and so guilty for making them feel this way, but I feel like we can’t go back on this now. I really want to make the move and if we cancelled the move, we would always wonder ‘what if?’ And I would also feel awful for putting my fiancé and child in second place.

 

I have a friend whose mother guilt trips her everyday about being away from home. We as adults have to look to our future, your child's future. You are 100% doing the right thing and your parents are the selfish ones to put that on you. I wish you all the best. Please believe me, you won't regret the move!

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It's a grieving process for them Lucy.  Thank them for bringing you up so you could make decisions which are best for you.  If they say they won't come or skype - tell them that would be a shame as you would really like them to still be involved in your lives.  If you stayed then your relationship will be no better than what it is now because there would always be something underlying.  Nothing has to be for ever, you may find that you spend time between England and Aus in years to come.

You are a parent now and your decisions are about you and your family unit - leaving doesn't mean that you don't love them any less.  I wonder if they'd really want you to stay out of guilt? 

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It's a very difficult situation.   As someone who is your parents' age, I can fully understand them not wanting to take the CPV route. For one thing, if they applied now, there is a 5-6 year waiting list, so your older parent would be in their seventies when they move, and it's hard to uproot your whole life at that age.  Besides, your daughter will be at school by that time, and busy with after-school activities, so it's not as if they will see her all that often.  They would be giving up everything they know, in exchange for seeing their darling granddaughter on a Sunday, or maybe on the school run.

I've met a few sets of aged parents living here in Australia.  They're settled in Australia, but they say they were so desperate to be near their grandchildren, they didn't realise how much they were sacrificing   They miss their home.  They miss all the treasured possessions they had to dispose of.  They miss their dearest friends (of course they make new ones, but it's not the same).  Also, because they had to pay such a huge application fee, they've had to downsize their home and live on a tighter budget, so their life is more limited.   

Taking all that into consideration, I think your parents are being sensible in deciding not to join you, so I hope you are not holding that against them.  

 

Edited by Marisawright
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Scot by birth, emigrated 1985 | Aussie husband applied UK spouse visa Jan 2015, granted March 2015, moved to UK May 2015 | Returned to Oz June 2016

"The stranger who comes home does not make himself at home but makes home itself strange." -- Rainer Maria Rilke

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So many have been in your situation. It is 100% your choice where you live, they don’t own you and you are an adult making your own decisions and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, they are acting like this because they are devastated, their only child and grandchild are moving away and they feel bereaved.  The loss to them is heartbreaking and that’s why they are behaving like they are. You ask are you being selfish? This has been touched upon many times on here and the reality is you have to be a bit selfish if you want to emigrate. No one can think their extended family will be over the moon about their loved ones moving to the other side of the world, therefore if you still do it knowing you’re hurting them then there is an argument of being selfish. I dont think there’s a problem with that, it’s your life and I’m very pro grown up kids making their own choices.  You’re putting what you and your now family want over what they want, that can be seen as selfish as you’re satisfying you not them, perfectly normal and good for you.  They may come round when you’ve moved and visit you, they may not. Totally understandable they don’t want to move.  Only time will tell but you should do what’s right for you.  Back to the ‘selfish’ bit, there will come a time when they are old and maybe in need of help and a time when just one will be left old and alone. I’m sure you’ve thought all these things out and still want to go but just thought I’d mention that as there’s many on here who will tell you how hard that is when it happens. One final thing which sounds very gloomy but again has been said on here lots and is important. Should anything go wrong in the future when you’re out there and you want to return to the uk you would have to get permission from your fiancé to bring your kid back. Many people have been in this situation and cannot return (unless alone) as the father won’t give permission for the kid to return and they usually win in court as that’s where the child is resident.  Best of luck, if it’s what you want go for it and be happy (just understand your parents cannot be happy about it)

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1 hour ago, LucyFlo said:

Hi,

 

I am an only child with parents who are 62 and 67. 

My fiancé is Australian and we’ve decided we would like to relocate to Australia with our little girl who is 10 months old.

Initially, my parents took it ok. We asked them to join us on a CPV which they were up for and also very excited about. After a couple of months, they decided they didn’t want to leave the uk. They are a very anxious pair and decided it was too much for them to cope with. Fair enough, I totally understand and empathise with them.

Since deciding they won’t be coming, it has been an absolute rollercoaster of emotions. They’ve been so upset and very vocal about it and I feel horrifically guilty. They said they don’t want to come and visit after coming for the first and only visit and they aren’t sure they want to FaceTime as it will be too painful (we are very close now and live in the same town). 

 

As time has gone on, it has become more awkward when I see them. Today I got lots of angry messages from my dad saying we had been selfish and not thought of them at all (we did though as I wanted them to come with us and when they said they couldn’t, I tried to work out a plan with them to make it work). My dad says he’s glad our relationship seems to have changed as it will make it easier when we leave. 

I 100% empathise with how they must be feeling, I feel dreadful, but I also feel that it’s unfair to call me selfish for thinking of my fiancé and my daughter’s future.

Has anyone else been in this position? Please tell me it gets easier! I love my parents to bits, but at the moment I just can’t be around them. We are all too sad and that sadness is slowly turning into anger and resentment which breaks my heart. I’m crying as I write this as I feel so awful and so guilty for making them feel this way, but I feel like we can’t go back on this now. I really want to make the move and if we cancelled the move, we would always wonder ‘what if?’ And I would also feel awful for putting my fiancé and child in second place.

 

I hope your parents can get over the hurt and sadness they are feeling at the moment. Some parents are shattered when the future that they took for granted, their children and grandchildren living close to them and being hands on grandchildren isn’t going to happen.

As long distance grandparents please tell them from me that face time is a lovely way to feel close to your grandchildren. Ours are in UK, now age 8 & 10. We have great chats and fun chatting to them, they love telling us what they are doing, we find one on one works better. We arrange with our son to do special things with them as a treat from us, so they know they are loved by us even though we are a long way away. We do also go to UK most years and all go away for a holiday together so we can spend real time together.

Do hope things improve for you all.

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Lucy I was in this position years ago but luckily my parents never ever put the guilt trip on us 

My children were 14 and 15 I was an only child and my parents the only Grandparents my children had as my hubbys parents died quite young

It was the hardest thing I have done in my life We used to go back regularly as my Dad had a stroke not long after we emigrated 

My Dad passed away in 1995 aged 87 after that it was an annual trip for us to see my Mam 

In 2001 we moved back to UK leaving my kids and grandkids ( Aussies ) in Oz I just could not handle the problems my Mam was having with her health etc 

God love her she survived until she was almost 100 - we then came back to Oz

During our time from 2001 she finally told me how hard it had been for them -that they sat holding hands for days and crying feeling so lost without us She was not putting the guilt trip on me she just needed to talk about it

You have some very hard decisions to make and I truly hope it all works out well for you xx

 

 

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Lucy it is never easy for any migrant to leave their parents especially if the parents make you feel guilty about the whole thing.  My Mum was 66 when we came to Australia and had been widowed for 4 years.  My brother was working in Saudi and my sister was in Germany so Mum was going to be alone.  Fortunately she had very good friends and was close to her sister plus she didn't live her life through her children BUT it was still a difficult time adjusting to realising I would be living on the other side of the world.  Mum came to visit for 3 or 4 months at a time every 2nd year which was really lovely and I managed to go back to visit her as often as I could with our 2 sons.  As I said, it's not easy but you do have your own life to live.

Your parents aren't elderly so they could come to Australia for an extended holiday for years to come.  Hope things get easier for you. 🙂

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Has to be said, they are being a bit unreasonable. And, no, it won't get easier, that's a fact.

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To be brutal we don't have children to look after us in old age in western society. You have an Australian partner (as I do) and living in oz is one half of the families joy and the others pain. Do what you think is right for your family as your parents did for you. Its not like you've watched wanted down under and thought it would be nice to live by the beach. You have family connections to the country.

My parents have all of their children and grandchildren living in oz. Its up to them how they want to manage that we will always treasure their visits and go back to the uk when we can

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Honestly? No, it won't get any easier. You're always going to be an only child - and that sux when you're considering your life on the other side of the world regardless of whether your parents don't handle it very well or not. In fact, it sux full stop especially when your parents age.

I was in your position 30 years ago, sort of. Only child, only grandchildren but my parents bit the bullet and decided they would come and visit us for 6 months every year and that worked quite well for 16 years until they just got too old and the travel insurance got to expensive and they began to ail. They thought about staying in Australia but, quite rightly, they thought they wanted their old age in the life that they had built over decades with their own social group. 

I coped then by visiting every 9 months or so, one of my kids, now grown, moved to UK (well, he actually never returned from his holiday) so he was at least in the same country. Seeing them get more and more frail and bawling my eyes out on the train every time I left them was very hard even though I am a hard hearted Hannah. Then came the day when I managed to drag my Aussie husband over (he hated to come) for our son's wedding and he took one look at my parents (the wheels fell off the wagon the week we arrived) and said "we can't leave them here alone" so we have stayed. None of us thought it would be 7 years and mum died last year so now we care for dad. 

When I left initially I didn't give my parents a single thought and they never guilted me as I have never guilted my kids but I do know where your parents are coming from - being a grandparent on the other side of the world sux. Personally I don't find Skype or FT that enjoyable - when the kids are little they would rather be off playing than talking to some adult they don't know who lives in a box then when they are older having a chat with an old person is boring and I defy anyone to get a cuddle over Skype! One of my granddaughters was very little when we left and she really had no idea who I was when I got my first trip back to Aus after 3 years - the old lady she talked to on the computer wasn't a real person she knew no matter how many chats. I'm not condoning for one minute the guilt trip your parents are putting on you but they're grieving and one of the stages of grief is anger - they're doing with it the only way they know how and is probably not just their grandchild but knowing they won't be there for the wedding of their little girl. Expect emotionality! 

A few words of warning - can your fiance get citizenship before you go (if he doesn't have it already) because if you do need to come back, the spouse visa is a killer. Secondly, read up and thoroughly understand the implications of the Hague Convention - if your relationship goes belly up then chances are you will never be allowed to leave Australia with your kids (there is a long sticky thread on here somewhere). Thirdly, personally I would avoid going back to "his place" - move to the same country but not in his family's back pocket then your little family is on a level playing field with you both having to make new friends and connections (he's probably feeling the pinch now and resenting being so close to your parents when his parents are missing a grandchild!). Others don't agree with that and they get on fine with their in laws (as do I) but I've had many messages on this and other boards from English women who've not necessarily found their Aussie husband's mob to be all that they could be and their mate changed when in his own environment.

Bottom line, it's your life and you'll have to be selfish and self reliant and live with your decision but cut your parents some Slack and go with your eyes wide open. Either country is going to offer your daughter great opportunities so look at the real reasons you are thinking of going. Good luck! 

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11 hours ago, Marisawright said:

It's a very difficult situation.   As someone who is your parents' age, I can fully understand them not wanting to take the CPV route. For one thing, if they applied now, there is a 5-6 year waiting list, so your older parent would be in their seventies when they move, and it's hard to uproot your whole life at that age.  Besides, your daughter will be at school by that time, and busy with after-school activities, so it's not as if they will see her all that often.  They would be giving up everything they know, in exchange for seeing their darling granddaughter on a Sunday, or maybe on the school run.

I've met a few sets of aged parents living here in Australia.  They're settled in Australia, but they say they were so desperate to be near their grandchildren, they didn't realise how much they were sacrificing   They miss their home.  They miss all the treasured possessions they had to dispose of.  They miss their dearest friends (of course they make new ones, but it's not the same).  Also, because they had to pay such a huge application fee, they've had to downsize their home and live on a tighter budget, so their life is more limited.   

Taking all that into consideration, I think your parents are being sensible in deciding not to join you, so I hope you are not holding that against them.  

 

Not holding it against them at all. Like I said, I 100% empathise and understand their choice to stay. This is our dream, not theirs and they shouldn’t feel pressured to join us. 

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Wow, some really good replies that have really got me thinking this morning. Thank you all. Still lots of thinking to be done. X

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There are some awfully painful parents out there. 

They lived their life, it's only right you live yours, where and how you want to. 

B

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On 30/11/2018 at 17:22, Quoll said:

Honestly? No, it won't get any easier. You're always going to be an only child - and that sux when you're considering your life on the other side of the world regardless of whether your parents don't handle it very well or not. In fact, it sux full stop especially when your parents age.

I was in your position 30 years ago, sort of. Only child, only grandchildren but my parents bit the bullet and decided they would come and visit us for 6 months every year and that worked quite well for 16 years until they just got too old and the travel insurance got to expensive and they began to ail. They thought about staying in Australia but, quite rightly, they thought they wanted their old age in the life that they had built over decades with their own social group. 

I coped then by visiting every 9 months or so, one of my kids, now grown, moved to UK (well, he actually never returned from his holiday) so he was at least in the same country. Seeing them get more and more frail and bawling my eyes out on the train every time I left them was very hard even though I am a hard hearted Hannah. Then came the day when I managed to drag my Aussie husband over (he hated to come) for our son's wedding and he took one look at my parents (the wheels fell off the wagon the week we arrived) and said "we can't leave them here alone" so we have stayed. None of us thought it would be 7 years and mum died last year so now we care for dad. 

When I left initially I didn't give my parents a single thought and they never guilted me as I have never guilted my kids but I do know where your parents are coming from - being a grandparent on the other side of the world sux. Personally I don't find Skype or FT that enjoyable - when the kids are little they would rather be off playing than talking to some adult they don't know who lives in a box then when they are older having a chat with an old person is boring and I defy anyone to get a cuddle over Skype! One of my granddaughters was very little when we left and she really had no idea who I was when I got my first trip back to Aus after 3 years - the old lady she talked to on the computer wasn't a real person she knew no matter how many chats. I'm not condoning for one minute the guilt trip your parents are putting on you but they're grieving and one of the stages of grief is anger - they're doing with it the only way they know how and is probably not just their grandchild but knowing they won't be there for the wedding of their little girl. Expect emotionality! 

A few words of warning - can your fiance get citizenship before you go (if he doesn't have it already) because if you do need to come back, the spouse visa is a killer. Secondly, read up and thoroughly understand the implications of the Hague Convention - if your relationship goes belly up then chances are you will never be allowed to leave Australia with your kids (there is a long sticky thread on here somewhere). Thirdly, personally I would avoid going back to "his place" - move to the same country but not in his family's back pocket then your little family is on a level playing field with you both having to make new friends and connections (he's probably feeling the pinch now and resenting being so close to your parents when his parents are missing a grandchild!). Others don't agree with that and they get on fine with their in laws (as do I) but I've had many messages on this and other boards from English women who've not necessarily found their Aussie husband's mob to be all that they could be and their mate changed when in his own environment.

Bottom line, it's your life and you'll have to be selfish and self reliant and live with your decision but cut your parents some Slack and go with your eyes wide open. Either country is going to offer your daughter great opportunities so look at the real reasons you are thinking of going. Good luck! 

Well said Quoll the pain when leaving my Mam and Dad never ever went away and to this day even though my parents have passed away now I still live regrets and what if xxx

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27 minutes ago, Alltogethernow said:

There are some awfully painful parents out there. 

They lived their life, it's only right you live yours, where and how you want to. 

B

On the whole there are more sad stories posted than positive. It depends a bit on your lifestyle and circumstances. Generally speaking perhaps not many of the parents who are really struggling with the concept of their families moving across the world, have travelled much themselves?

My father was in the army, moved constantly as a child. Joined an airline and then Went on my own to work in Zambia in my 20’s, then married my husband who was in the RAF, later we went onto be expats.

When we retired from Asia our three grown up children were in England and we moved to Australia, not back to UK. Out of the many of our friends who are in their 70’s plus, almost the only ones who live near their children are the friends from our old village who never left. The children of the majority of people we know are scattered around the world, and as a result locally we look after each other

two of ours followed us here, one is near in Brisbane the other in Sydney, but our only grandchildren are in UK. Like so many of the people we know, we accept that our grandchildren don’t live close, we chose to live somewhere else and we encouraged all our children to live their own lives. That doesn’t mean we don’t love each other, 

This post is in no way a criticism of parents who really miss their children and grandchildren and want to live close to them, but there are many many of us who love our families but live our lives without them near either from our choice or because our children have moved countries, either way we get on with life.

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I've just got to say, although it's plain your parents are feeling loss and all the other emotions that come with (in their eyes) losing a child & grandchild, I've got to say I felt angrier and angrier as I read your post. You don't live your lives doing what your parents want. You live your life with and for your child and husband. Of course this means you're a massive plane ride or two apart but it doesn't mean you need to forget them and not involve them as much in your lives as you can. You're not the one putting barriers (we're not using skype etc) up, they are. We should raise our children to be kind, caring, inclusive, confident have an independent spirit and want to go out and explore/see the world/opportunities. I personally don't feel children are ours to keep "forever and ever". They must have their own lives. I'm not saying do this at the detriment of parents or those who care for us growing up, but I think you get my drift? I'm all for close family relationships, in fact I actively encourage this with my family and my OH's family (all over the world) but you can't live your lives for your parents and although I completely understand how your parents are feeling and I do feel for them, they can't expect you to do what they want to do now you're married and living your own lives. They just love you and  their grandchild to bits and are feeling at a loss at what to do and how to express themselves.

I'm sorry to say this, but I actually think your parents are being a bit horrible. I understand why they're feeling this way, so many of us go through this. But they need to respect you and your husband's decision and not try to make you feel like dirt. You and your husband have made the massive heart wrenching expensive lengthy decision to go ahead with this, not to hurt your parents but to explore what Australia can offer to you and your family in a positive way. You're not doing this to be spiteful after all.

It doesn't come across as if you're unhappy with them not going through the visa themselves, you just want them and you all to be happy.

I would just do what you and your husband wanted to do. Make an arrangement to sit down with your parents - write things down firstly if you need to get your thoughts together - but you need to have an adult conversation with them. As them if they can be all adult about this and have a "non finger pointing and guilt-laden conversation" on either side. Tell them you understand completely how they feel (as you have said here) and you understand why they can't go through the visa process themselves. Let them know you'll still love them forever , you'll miss them (of course!) and keep in touch as much as you can. If they start saying they don't want to keep in touch, respect that - tell them you respect their decision - but say you'll always be open for any opportunity to connect. I suspect they may  come around to skyping or phone calls - this is perhaps just a way of trying to guilt trip or make you change your mind about 'what you will be missing'. Or perhaps to hurt as they may feel you have done (unintentionally). Skyping isn't for everyone, but could they manage a phone call now and again?

Say to them you'll be up for a skype or whatever they can manage, but perhaps initially you'll send a few photos and description of what you're up to, to involve them. I know it's completely not the same as cuddling/living nearby/visiting but do involve them as much as feels appropriate for them - let them know you'll speak regularly to your child about them (and other relatives/friends who are staying in the UK) and keep their memory alive. We do this for our child and they now speak of their UK family a lot. Start slow and then 'temperature' check as time goes by. They might be up for more contact, perhaps they won't - time will tell.

Understand yourself - this is a huge decision. It is very very different and can be very difficult without family or friends to help. You will miss them terribly, you'll question everything. You may even find once you move out here you'll be like others, and 'go forward' to the UK for new experiences ( you can never go 'back' as things change). But it can be a great life out here, we're enjoying ourselves (1.5 years so still early days for us). If it's something that you and your husband really want to do, then do it.

Edited by Ozzie
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I believe that one of the modern forms of bravery is to say, OK I will start again from scratch.

Doing something new, learning new things requires great strength, great humility and great courage.

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Just an edit to say - what about your husband's family? They've "missed out" on being around for the pregnancy and for ten month (and time until you decide to go - if you do). It'll be nice for them to 'cuddle' and be near to you, your husband and child for a bit. I agree with someone else's post up above, see if you can find a place which is new for both of you - new experiences together. And... I wish you all the very best in whatever you decide 🙂

Edited by Ozzie
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I believe that one of the modern forms of bravery is to say, OK I will start again from scratch.

Doing something new, learning new things requires great strength, great humility and great courage.

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I tend to agree with what Ozzie and others have said. You haven’t suggested there was an issue whilst your parents considered coming too, and whilst they have changed their minds for their own reasons, it doesn’t mean you should necessarily reconsider.
My parents have always been of a “do your own thing” mindset, despite my OH and my father being golfing partners and us going out into the city as a 4 (us and my parents) for Saturday Afternoon drinks, having nights out together etc regularly. They have said since that that miss that, but not in a way to make us feel guilty.
My OH’s parents on the other hand “punish us” if we don’t make the first move to Skype EVERY time, but our reaction is not to react and carry on as normal and they soon come around.
I hope your parents will also ‘come around’ to the idea and whilst it may not be what they imagined, after a while they will hopefully see you happy and settled and get some comfort in that.

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