DEAR ABBY: My partner and I have been together 23 years and his parents have embraced me as one of their own. A few years ago, we bought his mother a beautiful diamond cocktail ring for Mother's Day. She's now 84, and when she passes on, I'd like that ring back to have it turned into a ring for my partner. It's a gesture I'm sure would please him, and I hope his mother as well. I believe she's leaving her jewelry to her granddaughter, which is fine. But this particular ring will mean so much if I turn it into a ring for her son.
Would it be tacky for me to request this of Mom if I tell her why? I don't want to offend anyone, and I know the person who inherits her jewelry will probably pawn or sell it anyway. (I'd also like to keep it on the down low so my partner doesn't find out until the ring is given to him.) What do you think, Abby? -- PHIL IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR PHIL: I think what you have in mind is beautiful, and I can't imagine why your partner's mother would object if you raise the subject. Estate planning is a fact of life. However, if she doesn't wish to change her will, and you think the granddaughter is likely to pawn the ring anyway, you could offer to buy it from the granddaughter when the time comes.
DEAR ABBY: Is it proper to invite men to a bridal shower? -- CURIOUS GUY IN MINNESOTA
DEAR CURIOUS GUY: According to Emily Post: "Today, showers are just as likely to include the groom and his male friends."
There's nothing improper about asking men to participate. The purpose of a shower for a bridal couple (or the expected arrival of a baby) is to celebrate the upcoming event and express good wishes. It's also a way to give the couple things they'll need.
DEAR ABBY: I am no advice columnist, but may I offer a few wise words to future brides?
I have been married for 25 years and have never had an argument with my mother-in-law. Never! My mother gave me some valuable advice before my wedding that I'd like to pass along. She said, "Always respect the woman who made the man you love."
I never forgot it, and my MIL has always been welcome in my home for as long as she wishes. If we had any differences, a respectful dialogue was opened right away -- especially if it concerned our kids' education.
We have enjoyed shopping, eating, cooking, parties, caring for newborns and family moments together for as long as I can remember. Sadly, she is now frail and can no longer travel as much as she once could.
The women who made our husbands deserve all the respect we can offer them because if we are happy as wives, it is thanks to all of them. -- SIMONE IN SAN FRANCISCO
DEAR SIMONE: Your mother is an intelligent lady, and so are you for having taken her advice to heart. Because few people are in total agreement about everything, there is much to be learned when adults can air their opinions respectfully. This is true of all human relationships.
Because today is Mother's Day, I would like to wish a happy Mother's Day to mothers everywhere, be they birth mothers, adoptive and foster mothers, stepmothers or grandmothers who are raising grandchildren. I applaud you all.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)