DEAR ABBY: My parents divorced when I was in third grade, and my sister and I lived with my mother. When I was 16, Mom met a man online, quit her job and moved across the country to be with him. My sister and I begged her to let us finish school first, but she was adamant about moving. She gave us a choice -- move with her to another state or move in with our father. We chose the latter.
Since then, my mother has not been a part of my life. She calls occasionally, but never on my birthday or special holidays. I invited her to my wedding, but she didn't attend. When I think of my mother, I associate her with feelings of abandonment and unhappiness.
Mom called me last week, and frankly it was upsetting. I have heard from others how unhappy she is with her life and the choices she made, although she hasn't said it to me directly. I find it painful to hear her say she loves me, because there's a difference between saying it and living it. I have forgiven her, but it doesn't mean I want to sign up for more of that treatment.
Is there a moral obligation to allow her back into my life? I believe you can't help what happens in your childhood, but you can decide how you let it affect you. Or is it OK to stay on the path I have chosen and keep my distance from her? -- MORALLY PERPLEXED IN TEXAS
DEAR PERPLEXED: If a closer relationship with your mother would be dangerous for you emotionally, then you shouldn't risk it. It is not your fault that the life she chose didn't turn out to be a happy one for her. After years of being treated with indifference by her, if you choose to keep your distance, I support your decision.
DEAR ABBY: Perhaps I'm a little old-fashioned, but do you think it's acceptable when having a large wedding and reception to hurry your guests away so a smaller group of intimate family and friends can attend a more exclusive reception? Is this now common among new couples?
I'd gladly attend a single open house or reception in the new couple's honor after their honeymoon, when they wouldn't be so rushed. Your thoughts, please. -- SOMEWHAT OFFENDED IN KENTUCKY
DEAR SOMEWHAT OFFENDED: No, it is not a trend. To shoo away one's guests so that a private party can be held afterward is rude. It shows lack of consideration for the feelings of one's guests, and it is very poor manners.
DEAR ABBY: I am a single mother with three children. Several years ago we bought a puppy. When we got her, we were told if she ever gets lost, she could be located through the chip that had been placed in her. (The breeder said it was just a "shot.") You can also buy a car these days with a global positioning device installed so the car can be located if it is stolen.
The cost for the police to find a missing child has got to be astronomical. Wouldn't it be much cheaper to come up with global positioning chips for our children?
They do it for dogs and cats. When will we make our children safer than we do our pets and our cars? -- JUST THINKING IN FLORIDA
DEAR JUST THINKING: You have come up with an interesting concept, and not just one for small children. It could work for members of the military and workers who go abroad to dangerous locations, and also for people suffering from Alzheimer's disease who might wander.
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