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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: Although you don't know it, you were very much involved in making my Mother's Day special last year. My son's wife, Maureen, saw a letter in your column that inspired her to write one to me. Maureen and my son Tom met in high school and have been happily married for 33 years. Never in all that time have Maureen and I had a disagreement or argument of any kind.

I've enclosed the letter she sent to me. It brought tears to my eyes.

"DEAR KATE: When I saw Dear Abby's column on Mother's Day, I thought of you. I want you to know how blessed I feel to have you for a mother-in-law. In fact, I rarely use that term because of its negative connotations. I usually refer to you as 'my husband's mother.'

"You have always shown me kindness and understanding, especially during some difficult times. You have never criticized me, even when we disagreed. And I surely appreciate the love you have shown me. I have always felt being a part of the Olsen family -- as one of you, rather than an in-law.

"Even if I hadn't known you as well as I do, I would deduce how wonderful you are just through the dear, witty, generous son you raised.

"Thank you for every weed you've pulled, for every shirt you've ironed, every thoughtful note you've written, every kind word you spoke when my parents died, every hug you've given me, every day of baby-sitting Kristin and Tim, and for ALL you've done for me.

"Thank you for all of this, Kate, and most of all, for loving me as you do. Love and thanks. Maureen" -- KATE OLSEN, INDIANHEAD PARK, ILL.

DEAR KATE: You have a right to be proud. That letter illustrates the ideal loving relationship that can be shared by DILs and MILs. I hope it inspires others to emulate you. Read on:

DEAR READERS: I would like to share with you a tribute to a mother that I printed in 1992. I'm sure many of you can identify with it. While some of the details may differ, the following letter describes the many sacrifices and acts of love on the part of mothers everywhere:

DEAR ABBY: My 37-year-old daughter, Norma, sent me the following testimonial for Mother's Day. It touched me so profoundly that I wanted to share it with you. -- DORA BOYD, EDGEWATER, FLA.

DEAR MRS. BOYD: Thank you for sending it. I do, indeed, want to share it with my readers:

"Dear Mother: As I grew up ...

"... You fostered my independence. You allowed me to decide what to wear, what friends to choose, what boys to date, what foods to eat -- and how much. You trusted my judgment, even when it differed from yours. Although our views differ on women's issues, fashion, etc., you displayed confidence in my decisions.

"... You never shamed me for being a bed wetter until I was 6 -- and for that, I'll always be grateful.

"... You worked backbreaking jobs to give my brother and me music lessons, concerts, plays and educational trips.

"... You taught me about reproduction and birth control. I'm very proud of you for that. My girlfriends cannot say that about their mothers.

"... You admitted that you were not perfect, enabling me to safely question your beliefs, opinions and actions -- and draw my own conclusions.

"And now that I'm an adult, I want to thank you for always being there for me. You are a wonderful role model, and I am lucky to have you for my mother. I love you very much. -- NORMA"

DEAR READERS: Does Norma's mother sound familiar? If the answer is yes, today's the day to express your appreciation to your mother. If you aren't comfortable composing a letter of your own to give to Mom today, clip this and take it to her. Tell her you recognized her in this column. Give her a big hug and a thank-you -- and don't be surprised if you see tears of happiness in her eyes. Happy Mother's Day.

Dear Abby is written by Pauline Phillips and daughter Jeanne Phillips.

Abby shares her favorite recipes in a two-booklet set. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $7.90 per set ($9 per set in Canada) to: Dear Abby Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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