DEAR HARRIETTE: Two years ago, I met an older woman in my town’s deli. She was eating alone and having trouble reading the check, so I went over to help her. We got to talking and became close friends. Ever since that day we meet up once a month for lunch. She is very old and needs help walking. She rarely gets out because she is afraid she will fall, so I like to take her out from time to time. I think she is great company, and I love listening to her fascinating stories.
My girlfriend finds the elderly woman rude and does not like that I spend time with her. I enjoy going to these monthly lunches, but I can see how it is a little odd. Do you think it’s normal, and should I continue my friendship with this woman? -- Friends With an Elderly Woman, San Jose, California
DEAR FRIENDS WITH AN ELDERLY WOMAN: I think it is wonderful that you are spending quality time with this woman. Too often, when people grow old, they do not have family or friends around to keep them company. It is admirable that you noticed this woman and struck up a friendship with her.
In terms of managing your girlfriend, tell her you are sorry that she and your elderly friend do not click. Stop inviting her to join you during your dates. Do not lie, though. Just make it clear that you enjoy supporting this woman, and you realize that she has come to rely on you.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I am a newish mother; my only daughter is just about to turn 2 years old. She is such a sweet girl, and everything is going great with her health, growth, etc. I don’t want to come off as a vain mother who cares only about looks, but I am having concerns about her ears! I know this may sound silly, but her ears seem to stick out more than normal, and they are becoming more defined as she grows. My husband and I have spoken about getting surgery to correct them and have them pinned back, but we are getting mixed responses about whether this is the right thing to do.
Should I let my daughter grow up and decide for herself, or make this decision for her because I think it is what’s best for her? -- My Daughter Has Big Ears, Cambridge, Massachusetts
DEAR MY DAUGHTER HAS BIG EARS: Have you talked to your daughter’s pediatrician about this? It is true that people sometimes elect to have surgery like this to enhance a child’s appearance from an early age. I’m not a big believer in elective surgery, especially for cosmetic reasons for a child. That said, get your doctor’s recommendation. Be sure to learn the pros and cons of the surgery before you take action.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)