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by Abigail Van Buren

Long-Distance Relationship May Be Too Much to Overcome

DEAR ABBY: My son has his master's degree in international relations, so he travels to places I will never see. He's in Italy now, and he asked me what I would like for a souvenir. I said I wanted his memories.

I asked him to get a bag and put in it menus, train tickets and bar napkins, and to jot down at night on hotel stationery what he did, saw, how the weather was. I asked him to mention anything different or unusual and collect coasters, valet stubs, anything that would help him share his experiences with me when he gets back.

I said that when we go through all the stuff, I will get my vicarious thrill then -- better that than some "tchotchke" I'd have to dust. Good idea? -- PROUD MOM IN FLORIDA

DEAR PROUD MOM: Great idea! As the years go on, those "memory joggers" will let you both relive the adventures he's having now, and they will become increasingly precious. I know it from experience.

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