Dear Abby:

I am a 60-year-old woman. My children are grown and I have four grandchildren. I also have a godchild named "Noah," whom I adore.

Noah's mother, "Fay," didn't want him when he was born, but was talked out of giving him up by her mother and me. Her mother has since passed away.

Abby, I thought Fay would get over it, but she still doesn't want Noah. She blames him for taking her freedom away. The child is only 5 and adores his mother. No matter what she does, Noah loves her.

Fay is abusive. She yells and screams at Noah, calls him stupid and other names, keeps him in his room most of the time, and palms him off on anyone who will take him for a weekend.

This is not a happy little boy. He has so much anger in him at such an early age. Fay was abused by her mother like she's doing to her son. I have tried to get her help, but she says there's nothing wrong with her. How can I make Fay see that she's turning Noah into a monster? The father took off as soon as he found out Fay was pregnant. He has never seen his son. Please advise me.

Out of My Mind in Texas

Since you are Noah's godmother and there is nobody else, it is now your turn to step up to the plate. You are responsible for the fact that this unfit mother didn't place her unwanted child for adoption at birth. You are only 60 -- you're not over the hill. Why don't YOU take Noah in and give him the love and support he needs -- and possibly psychological counseling to undo the damage that has been done?

I think you already know what needs to be done. If you are unwilling or unable to do it, then pick up the phone and report Noah's mother to child protective services.

Dear Abby:

I am a 49-year-old man with a problem. I have lived with a woman for about four years whom I think the world of -- but I am not in love with her. I really don't feel that I ever loved her. We moved in together for financial reasons, and one thing led to another. She is my best friend, but I'm lonely.

We do not have a sexual relationship, although we share the same bed. I want to be happy in the autumn years of my life. I don't want to hurt her, but I want to be happy. What should I do?

Needs More

One thing is certain, you will never become romantically involved while you're sharing a home and bed with your ladyfriend. She will probably not be thrilled to hear it, but you must level with her about your feelings. It's time to move on. Set a deadline to be out, and abide by it.

Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, Calif. 90069.

(c)2004, Universal Press Syndicate