DEAR ABBY: My daughter, "Gina," is engaged but hasn't started making any plans yet. We have had some rough mother/daughter years but are now in a good place. When it's time, I would like my daughter to ask me to help her pick out her wedding gown. I have a strong hunch that Gina will ask a girlfriend instead. I also know that if I talk to her about my wishes, she'll say, "Sure" or ask me to join her friends. This may seem silly, but I want her to want just me to go. What do you think is the best way to handle this? -- MOTHER OF THE BRIDE
DEAR MOTHER: Your relationship with your daughter may be better now, but its pattern was established years ago. You appear to be extremely invested in an "ideal" of how her wedding will be. For your own sake, lower your expectations. You can't make somebody want something if it doesn't come naturally. Because Gina isn't a mind reader, speak up now for that exclusive mother/daughter shopping jaunt. If she likes your fashion sense, she may agree. However, it is not unusual for a bride to include not only her mother, but also her attendants and future mother-in-law when choosing her wedding dress.