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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: My mother just turned 80, and her driving is getting bad. I have spoken to her about my concerns, and she says she'll "think about" stopping. Then the next day, she's off driving somewhere.

I live 25 miles away. I offered to move to her apartment complex and do her driving, but until I can do that she won't stop.

Mom has already hit a city bus, turned into oncoming traffic and narrowly missed a pedestrian. When she put in for a change of address for her driver's license, they noticed it was time to renew it and did so without a test. I requested they send her a "come in and test" letter, but so far there has been no response. What can I do before she kills someone or herself? -- PHILADELPHIA DAUGHTER

DEAR DAUGHTER: Contact your mother's physician and tell him/her what you have told me. Her doctor should write a letter to the Department of Motor Vehicles regarding her history of near misses. It appears your concerns are justified. She should be given a driver's test and an eye test.

DEAR ABBY: My 15-year-old stepson says he is embarrassed by the constant hand-holding in public his mother and I enjoy. He also doesn't like that we always share a quick kiss after saying grace before meals, even in restaurants. He says that none of his friends' parents do it, and he thinks it's "weird."

His mother and I see no need to change and feel he will get over his embarrassment in time. We feel our displays of affection are appropriate and strengthen our relationship. I would also think that seeing us so well-bonded would be reassuring to him and his 14-year-old brother.

Neither boy was close to his father -- in fact, they both hate to visit him -- so I don't think it's an issue of the boy hoping his parents will get back together. Any thoughts on this? -- STEPDAD IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR STEPDAD: If your marriage to their mother is relatively recent, your displays of affection may make her sons uncomfortable. Also, both boys have reached an age when parents ARE just plain "embarrassing." In the interests of family harmony -- until they grow out of it -- please consider refraining from the quick kisses when you're out in public.

DEAR ABBY: My 60th birthday is approaching, and my children and I are planning a trip. My wish is to celebrate with just my two children -- not their spouses. Is this insensitive? Am I being unreasonable? -- THREE'S COMPANY

DEAR THREE'S COMPANY: If you have a good relationship with your children's spouses, there shouldn't be hurt feelings if they are not included this time. There are occasions when spouses sometimes prefer to stay at home. Example: high school reunions.

A neighbor of mine, a woman in her 80s, mentioned recently that she was planning a trip back to her hometown with her daughter (sans son-in-law) so they could see the house where she was raised and the grammar and high schools she attended. For them it was a sentimental journey, but for the husband it would have been as warm and fuzzy an experience as a root canal.

TO MY CHRISTIAN READERS: Happy Easter, one and all!

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $12 (U.S. funds)

to: Dear Abby -- Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)