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by Abigail Van Buren

Pregnancy Is No Obstacle to Couple's Wedding Plans

DEAR ABBY: After a two-year courtship, my 33-year-old son and his 26-year-old girlfriend became engaged and moved in together last August. They announced an April wedding date and began planning a formal out-of-town wedding for 50 guests.

Two months into their engagement, my son's fiancee became pregnant. Her mother and I advised them to marry right away and celebrate their marriage with the planned out-of-town reception. Abby, they refuse to alter the plans, even though the invitations have not yet been sent.

Is it proper for a bride who is six months' pregnant to walk down the aisle in a white wedding gown? We two mothers are aghast, but are being told we're just plain old-fashioned. Please respond as soon as possible. Time is of the essence, and my future daughter-in-law is getting bigger by the day. -- EMBARRASSED MOM

DEAR EMBARRASSED: I understand your feelings, but things have changed a lot during the last 25 years. While the idea of an obviously pregnant bride walking down the aisle may shock someone raised during the 1950s, it is more accepted today.

A white gown and veil no longer symbolize virginity; they signify that it is a bride's first wedding. Count your blessings. Some couples wait so long to marry that their children are old enough to be ring bearers and flower girls.

DEAR ABBY: I don't know how to solve a problem between my husband, "Earl," and our teen-age son, "Matt." For medical reasons Matt is unable to participate in basketball this season. He confided in me that he's glad and may never go back to it. He said he played the last few years only to make his dad happy.

Earl cannot accept the fact that Matt is not participating. He has told Matt that he should go to the practices and watch, and sit with the team at the games. He objects whenever Matt wants to do something with his friends instead of going to the games.

I am sick of the conflict, but don't know how to stop it. Matt is a good kid. He's never been in any trouble, works part-time and is an excellent student.

At sporting events, Earl yells at the referees and in general acts like a jerk. He carries on and makes nasty comments about what the players should have done, etc. His behavior has embarrassed our son, but shushing him at the games only makes Earl madder.

Other than this, Earl is a good husband, a fine father and fairly laid-back. Sports just bring out the absolute worst in him. I feel tied up in knots and physically ill when we come home from a game.

Earl participated in sports for only a few years when he was in school, and he was far from "MVP" (most valuable player) material. I just can't understand this, but if it doesn't stop soon, it's going to ruin the father-son relationship Earl has with our son. Please help. -- FED-UP MOM, ANYWHERE, U.S.A.

DEAR FED UP: It doesn't take a degree in psychology to figure out what's wrong with your husband. A failed athlete with dreams of glory in his youth, he is attempting to live out those dreams through his son. I suspect Earl's overbearing behavior is at the root of Matt's not wanting to return to sports -- and who can blame him? His father has taken the joy out of competition. Perhaps with the help of family counseling, someone can get through to him, because the longer your husband's obsession with the boy's athletic achievements persists, the further away he'll drive his son.

Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby -- Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

4520 Main St., Kansas City, Mo. 64111; (816) 932-6600