Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Mother's Gift Offer Both Offends and Intrigues

DEAR HARRIETTE: For my birthday this year, my mother took me into a separate room and told me she'd love to gift me a nose job. I have never loved my nose, but I've learned to accept it as a part of myself. I have considered getting it done, but always balked at the cost. Should I accept this birthday present? It bothers me that my mother offered me surgery, never having asked me how I felt about my nose. -- New Plastic, Miami

DEAR NEW PLASTIC: Let’s start with the fact that it is obvious that your mother knows you well, and she knows (without your saying it out loud) that you are uncomfortable with your nose. In fact, she seems to be clear enough about how sensitive you may have been about the topic that she thought long and hard about how to offer this gift to you so that you would not be offended. I recommend that you consider her offer to be very thoughtful and loving.

If you want to have rhinoplasty, thank your mother and schedule an appointment. Leading up to the surgery, talk to her and a counselor about how you feel about yourself. Ultimately, self-esteem issues have to be faced head-on. Surgery doesn’t miraculously take them away.

DEAR HARRIETTE: When my daughter first began driving at 16, I lied to her about a tracker I had "placed" on her car that would tell me her average speed and if she was obeying the law. This lie worked, and she never had an accident the years she drove that car. Now, she has been asking about this tracker for her husband, who is a very reckless driver. She is so sincere about this that I feel bad about the years I was able to keep up my lie. What should I say to her when owning up? -- Old Prank, Pikesville, Maryland

DEAR OLD PRANK: It is time to come clean with your daughter. You can admit to her that the threat of the tracker certainly helped her to become a safe and consistent driver. With her husband, a grown man, it is a different matter altogether. It probably won’t work to try to convince him that you have installed a tracker, because you won’t be able to call him on his driving indiscretions.

You and your daughter should do some research. There’s a very good chance that you can get a tracker of some sort that you can put into your car. Some new cars come with security systems that use GPS to track cars and have live operators at the ready to call a driver in distress. Look into that type of service to see if she can access something that will support her husband’s need for supervision. Your best bet is to look for systems for monitoring teen drivers.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)