Preschool party exclusion concerns parent

Dear Amy: At preschool pickup today, another parent invited us to a celebratory kids’ event next month.

That sounds great, but I’m concerned because she made a comment along the lines of "not all of the class" is being invited.

The tone of what she said gave the impression that she was inviting almost — but not all — of the 12 kids in the class, but I’m not sure.

I’m uncomfortable with the idea of attending something that one or two of the kids have been excluded from, but if she really meant it’s a much smaller gathering, say two or three invitees, that sounds perfectly understandable to me.

We’ve never interacted with the other families outside of school and I welcome the chance to change that and maybe make some new parent friends; we never exchange more than some quick hellos currently.

Am I overreacting and we should just accept the invitation? Any suggestions on how to raise the subject without being rude and preachy, especially to someone I don’t know at all?

— Party-Pooper

Dear Party-Pooper: Many preschools try mightily to counsel parents (or have policies) against the sort of exclusion that leaves one or two children out. Playdates with a few kids are part of a normal friendship development, but exclusion should definitely not be part of any wider celebration.

Older children can manage their own celebrations, and older children will likely face exclusion in one form or another, but parents of preschool children should not pull these strings.

If the invite is issued at the school, then all of the children in the class should be invited.

You should ask the parent about this: "This sounds like fun. I’m wondering if the whole class is being invited?" The parent may say that one or two of the children have conflicts or will be out of town. If she indicates that she is deliberately excluding one or two kids, you will have to decide whether you want your child to attend.

The biggest takeaway here is for you to decide how you want to celebrate your own child’s milestones. I hope you will choose to be inclusive when he is younger, and encourage him to make similar choices later.

The way to foster parent friendships is to dive in and host playdates with a variety of children.

Dear Amy: I am a 66-year-old woman who has just met my ideal match. I have been divorced for nine years and my ex passed away in 2017.

My ex and I were married for 30 years and have two grown children and grandchildren.

I am struggling with how much to reveal about the reason for our divorce. Although he divorced me, his reason for doing so was completely my fault. I fell in love with another man and had an emotional affair.

Although I never would have divorced my husband to be with the other guy, my husband found out about our relationship and divorced me.

Now I am wondering how much of this story I should share with my new boyfriend. We are getting serious.

Because my ex is no longer living there is really no one else who knows why we divorced.

How much baggage must I share?

— Reformed Wanderer

Dear Reformed: You don’t have to share anything. You certainly don’t have to lead with this in a relatively new relationship. However, if you truly fall in love with this man and you two plan to spend your lives together, you will find that you’ll want to tell him the whole truth about the most important events in your life. Otherwise, holding on to this will become a burdensome secret. (This is already becoming a burden to you.)

It’s a given that anyone at your stage in life has had a variety of experiences and has made mistakes along the way. If your guy doesn’t accept this very human admission, or if he somehow throws it back at you during times of stress, then he is not the "ideal match" you thought he was.

Dear Amy: "Mistreated Mom" told you that she is basically completely estranged from all of her children. Her question was about where to leave her money when she died.

You gave her good advice. But the best advice you gave was for her to take a long look in the mirror. Total estrangement is rarely without reason.

— Been There

Dear Been There: Every single one of us should occasionally take an honest look at the impact of our choices.