Dear Colleen,

My 36-year-old daughter has just met a man she believes is the most wonderful man alive. To say such a naive thing a 36-years-old baffles me, but I've spent so long worrying whether or not she will find anyone, that I'm happy she's happy. But.....

Well there is no 'correct' way to say this, but he is different to us. He is has a totally different background to her, and my biggest peev of all - he is not Irish American. Not even close.

I brought my three children up to be strong Catholic Irish Americans, with all the values that brings. However, my daughter has fallen for a man who is the total opposite!I can't help but feel disappointed. They talk about having children, and I can't believe we are being 'watered down'.

I've been told that Irish Americans are a dying breed at the moment because current immigration issues mean that very few Irish are coming to the US.

I am disappointed with this, but more than anything, that my future grandchildren will not be Irish, and that the traditions I know and love best will be lost.

How do you suggest I deal with this? Just open my arms and face facts?

Anne, Mass.

Dear Anne,

To be honest with you - yes, you have to open your arms and face facts. You can't control these things, nor should you interfere.

Your 'disappointment' should be nothing more than that. Don't let it ruin this wonderful time for your daughter.

And your possible grandchildren will be as Irish as your daughter wants them to be!

They might not look Irish or have Irish names, but that's not what it's about.

They might grow up with a strong sense of heritage, humor, and passion. They might have a genuine interest in others, and be able to roll with the punches in life. That is as Irish as you need them to be.

So welcome this man into your family, and enjoy the prospects for your daughter.