DEAR ABBY: My husband, "Dennis," and I have been happily married for 13 years and have two great sons. Our only problem is we haven't spoken to Dennis' mother, "Roz," in more than three years. Roz is always mad at us -- for what, we're not sure. It's as if we can never please her, and she has just cut us off.
Dennis has gone through years of psychotherapy to heal the emotional damage Roz has caused him, and he has come a long way. He's now a successful and happy man.
Our older boy will be having his bar mitzvah in two years, and already Dennis is stressing out about whether to include Roz or not. Having a relationship with her was strained at best. We were constantly walking on eggshells. In Roz's eyes we could do no right. How can we avoid feeling guilty about not including her -- or should we invite her? -- AMBIVALENT IN FLORIDA
DEAR AMBIVALENT: Grit your teeth and invite her. A Jewish grandson's 13th birthday isn't an occasion that slips by unnoticed. If Roz does not attend your son's bar mitzvah, there will be questions about her absence. Of course, if there has been no communication for three years, there's a strong likelihood that she won't attend. However, if she does, make sure she's seated with other relatives, as far away from your husband as possible. If she's absent, be sure to tell anyone who asks that she was invited.