Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole


DEAR HARRIETTE: My relationship with my mother means the world to me. My childhood, from adolescence through my teens, was rocky. It wasn't until I went to college that we became extremely close. When I came home from college to continue my education, that's when my mom became my best friend. The last three years have been crucial to our relationship.

My mom purchased her first home last month. It's a beautiful five-bedroom Victorian home -- something she's always wanted. This is a major accomplishment because her past life would've made this purchase impossible. However, my biggest issue with our new home is not being allowed to invite family over because she doesn't have a great relationship with them. My mom doesn't even speak to her mother. I understand there's a lot of pain and past issues from her childhood, but it's starting to wear on me. Because of the distance, it's difficult to plan family functions. My graduation is around the corner and my mom wants to plan a graduation party, but I can't invite my family. Harriette, is it right of my mother to deprive me of having my family at my graduation party? -- Wanting a Reunion, Silver Spring, Md.

DEAR WANTING A REUNION: Your mother has the right to host who she wants at her home, even though this seems unfair to you. Whatever the reasons your mother does not get along with her mother and other family members, you have no control over that. At the same time, it is perfectly understandable that you want to see your grandmother and other family members at this important time in your life.

If you want to include them in a celebration, you have options. Create a celebration in a neutral place where all family members are welcome. Or have a separate event that includes the other family members in addition to the event your mother has planned. You may even want to ask your grandmother or other members to have a small dinner at one of their homes where you can come to be with them.

DEAR HARRIETTE: My ex called and asked me to go to dinner with him. When I asked him why, he said it was a surprise. I am so nervous about this meeting. I still have feelings for him, and I think it would be devastating if he decided to announce an engagement or something. What should I do? -- Ex-Claiming, Syracuse, N.Y.

DEAR EX-CLAIMING: You can call him back for clarification and be up-front. Tell him, with a touch of humor in your voice, that as much as you would enjoy seeing him, you are not ready to be a bridesmaid in his wedding or meet his fiancee. Ask him to spare you the face-to-face if that is his news. If he says he still wants to meet, proceed with caution. Be prepared to tell him how you feel if you do get together.