DEAR ABBY: I'm the proud mom of a wonderful 21-year-old daughter whom I find myself worrying about more and more lately. She just graduated from our local college and is heading to medical school in another state six hours away.
Rationally, I know she'll be fine and can take care of herself, but I am terrified that something will happen to her and I won't be there. My husband and daughter keep telling me nothing will happen and I need to calm down.
My question is, how do I go about staying calm when there is danger everywhere? She's our only child. Aren't my fears justified? Or am I overreacting like they keep telling me? -- WORRIED MOM IN ALABAMA
DEAR WORRIED MOM: You are overreacting. Many parents experience the fears you are having to some degree when their child leaves home. For many of them, it happens when the child boards the school bus at the age of 6. For others it happens when their young adult leaves for college.
While tragedies do sometimes occur, they can happen when a parent is present as well as when their child is absent. These incidents are magnified when they dominate the news cycle. If you are unable to control your anxiety, a licensed therapist may be able to help you regain your balance.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend, "Russell," and I have had a good relationship for five years. He's black; I'm white. The problem is, on every holiday -- Mother's Day, Easter, Father's Day, etc. -- Russell and his family go out to dinner and I am not invited. I have a feeling it's because I'm white. His ex-girlfriend was black and she was always invited to family functions.
I love Russell but don't think our relationship will go anywhere because his family doesn't approve of me. My family totally accepts him, by the way.
What should I do? Should I stay in a relationship where I am shunned? He doesn't think it's that big a deal and says I shouldn't let it bother me, but how can it not? His brother's girlfriend is invited. She's black, of course. Help, please. -- EXCLUDED IN DELAWARE
DEAR EXCLUDED: You have been seeing Russell for five years? It is a big deal, and you would have to have a hide of Kevlar not to be bothered by it. Have you asked him why you are consistently excluded? Have you asked where he thinks your relationship is going? If not, it's time you did.
Not knowing Russell's family, I don't know whether they may have some other objection to you than the fact that you are white. Regretfully, racism exists in every community to some degree. Without more information, I am reluctant to label them.
DEAR ABBY: Recently I've noticed more people saying "Excuse you" instead of "Excuse me" if someone is in their way. I consider it very rude, since the person being addressed often has no idea he or she is in the way before something is said. What's an appropriate response when someone says "Excuse you"? -- EXCUSE ME IN THE MIDWEST
DEAR EXCUSE ME: This is what I would say: "Excuse me? Excuse you! If you need to get by, all you have to do is ask politely."
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)