DEAR ABBY: I am in a terrible bind. Some years ago, I made a Halloween costume for a former roommate, "Connie." The costume was a nun's habit and it came out great. When I showed her the costume, I had a cross with it that had belonged to an aunt of my mother's who had been a nun in a religious order. Connie begged to borrow the cross, and I lent it to her against my better judgment. She then moved to California and I lost touch with her.
Now my mother is asking for the cross, and I'm afraid to tell her that I made a family heirloom part of a Halloween costume. What was I thinking! Connie refuses to return it to me, saying that she returned it "years ago."
I have sent her several e-mails. Now she has changed her e-mail address to avoid me. You are my last hope. I know Connie is a devoted reader of your column and so is her mother -- who also wore the costume. I'm praying they will see themselves and save me from the wrath of my mother. -- DESPERATE DAUGHTER, STATEN ISLAND
DEAR DESPERATE: The cross should have been returned to you the day after Halloween. If it was inconvenient for Connie to bring it to you, you should have made it your business to go and collect it. It's a shame that your former friend is lying about having returned the cross. What she's probably afraid to admit is that she or her mother lost it, and now she's hiding. (Some "friend"!)
Very few people recognize themselves when they are written about in this column, so my advice to you is to level with your mother and start praying that she's forgiving. It's time to face the music.
DEAR ABBY: Before I was a stay-at-home mom to my daughter, I had a circle of friends with whom I had a lot in common. None of us had children, and we were all focused on advancing our careers.
I have since moved to a different town and have thrown myself into my daughter's activities and the new community. I am now surrounded by a circle of "mommy" girlfriends. I stay in touch with my old friends via e-mail, and we see each other two or three times a year, but I feel that we have drifted apart.
I would like to phase out these friendships for several reasons: We have nothing in common anymore. The distance makes visiting difficult. And I am tired of hearing them complain about money problems, boyfriend issues, their jobs, etc.
I would rather spend my free time with my husband and daughter. Should I feel guilty for wanting to phase out these friendships? I'd appreciate your feedback. -- DEVOTED MOM IN LIVERMORE, CALIF.
DEAR DEVOTED MOM: For friendships to stay healthy and vital, there must be a commonality of interests. When you were a career woman, you had ties that bound you to these women. Now that your life has changed, it's not surprising that the bonds of camaraderie have loosened.
However, before consigning these relationships to the garbage heap, please consider that, as your daughter grows older, she will no longer be as dependent as she is now. At that point, you might want to resume your career. So, my advice to you is don't burn your bridges -- you may regret it later.
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