DEAR ABBY: My parents and I live on opposite coasts of the United States. I have visited them many times over the years. I'd like them to visit me, but my mother refuses to travel. (She is healthy and not scared of flying or traveling.)
At first, she said she didn't have the money, so I offered to pay for the ticket and lodging here in California. Her next excuse was she didn't have the time off, so I suggested she request it months in advance, or travel during her company's annual two-week shutdown. She wouldn't consider it.
My sister, who lives in the South, has had the same problem with Mom. We have told her how it makes us feel and asked her why she won't travel to either of us. Mom just mumbles that she knows how we feel, but she will give us no reason. Even Dad has become fed up with Mom's inertia, so he came to visit me on one trip and my sister on another.
Can you offer any suggestions? -- PUZZLED IN PALO ALTO
DEAR PUZZLED: Yes. Accept that your mother may simply be most comfortable in her own environment, and stop personalizing her refusal to travel. Enjoy your father's visits when he is able to come.
You and your sister are good, caring children. But your mother has an idiosyncrasy, and you will have to accept it because you have done everything you can.
DEAR ABBY: I am planning my wedding. It is making me more anxious than I expected. My fiance and I live together and already have many of the items a newly married couple would usually get as gifts. So, as of now, we are not registered anywhere. What is the best way to ask for monetary gifts instead? -- ANXIOUS BRIDE IN VIRGINIA
DEAR ANXIOUS BRIDE: While traditionally it is not acceptable to blatantly ask for money -- and CERTAINLY not on a wedding invitation -- some couples open a bank account to be used for a down payment on a house or a special honeymoon "in lieu of gifts." The information can be conveyed verbally or on your wedding website.
DEAR ABBY: My girlfriend bleached her hair blond for a special event, but recently changed it back to her natural black color. She turned me on even more as a blonde, but I'm not sure how to tell her. Would I be out of line to ask her to go blond again for me? -- LIKES HER BLOND IN NEW YORK
DEAR LIKES HER BLOND: The time for you to have raved about how much you liked her "new look" was before she went back to her natural color. For someone to go from dark to blond, then dark to blond again can be damaging to the hair -- not to mention expensive to maintain.
You can ask, I suppose. But she may not be willing to go along with it. And if that's the case, you're just going to have to love her the way God made her.
P.S. You could buy her a blond wig to wear on "special occasions."
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)