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DEAR ABBY: I am a 19-year-old college freshman living at home. I can't afford to move out, but my mother is driving me crazy!

If I didn't resist, she would take my hand and lead me through the rest of my life. She still tries to pick all of my friends and make every single decision for me. Worst of all, she comes looking for me to see if I'm where I'm supposed to be, and who I am talking to.

Don't get me wrong, I love my mom. I don't know how I would have made it this far without her. But how can I get through to her that I want to be my own person, and it's time to "let me go"? -- HAD IT WITH MOM

DEAR HAD IT: Your mother loves you, but she is carrying it too far. Show her one of my favorite poems from "The Prophet" by Khalil Gibran. It has helped more than a few overly protective parents "let go."

ON CHILDREN

"Your children are not your children. They are the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, and though they are with you, yet they belong not to you. You may give them your love, but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts. You may house their bodies but not their souls, for their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

"You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday. You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth. The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite and he bends you to his might that his arrows may go swift and far. Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness; for even as he loves the arrow that flies, so he loves also the bow that is stable."

DEAR ABBY: I recently discovered something strange about my fiance. "Tim" is 18 years old and lives with his parents. Yesterday, in order to show his mother something he had purchased, he walked in on her while she was taking a bath. I was shocked!

I don't understand why he couldn't have waited for her to finish her bath and get dressed. He says it is "no big deal," and it's "not a problem" for his mother. Apparently this is acceptable in their home.

In my family, once we reached a certain age, private things became private, and taking a bath was one of them!

Tim has a 16-year-old sister. It makes me wonder what he does in front of her -- and she in front of him.

I feel very strange knowing that they can walk in on each other in the bathroom. I am certainly not jealous of his mother, but isn't this unusual?

Does everyone just do whatever they want in front of their family members -- even private things? -- MORE MODEST IN MISSOURI

DEAR MORE MODEST: Apparently in Tim's home nobody locks the bathroom door. In some cultures, families bathe together -- parents and children -- in the same "tub."

Before you marry, make it clear to Tim how you feel about family modesty -- or purchase a bolt for your bathroom door.

Abby shares her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "Abby's More Favorite Recipes." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 per booklet ($4.50 each in Canada) to: Dear Abby Booklets, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in price.)

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