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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I can't agree with your advice to "Poor Little Butterfly in Oklahoma," whose mother went on an eight-hour harangue after finding out her married daughter got a tattoo when she was 20.

I think the couple did the right thing to put Mom on a plane home. I do not agree with your advice to "mend fences" and take the "high road." This is 2002 -- not 1940. Tell the mother to get over it. There is nothing she can do about it now. -- TATTOOED MOM IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR TATTOOED MOM: That's true. I may have been smoking the peace pipe for too long. Many readers agreed with you. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I feel strongly that MOM should apologize for making all of the fuss. An eight-hour attack from one's mother cannot be -- and should not be -- borne by an adult. Mom was out of line. "Poor" has a right to her life and beliefs. If her tattoo pleases her and her husband, that's good enough!

Abby, I, too, was a victim of attack by a relative -- my daughter. She was so adamantly against my getting a tattoo that I decided it wasn't worth the hassle. (I had always wanted an anklet of roses and leaves.) Then, several summers ago, my daughter had an accident. Her truck was totaled, but fortunately she walked away unharmed. She came home and said, "Mom, if you want that tattoo -- go get it. Life is too short. I'll even buy it for you." And she did! I got my tattoo at the ripe old age of 69 -- and have not regretted it. -- HAPPY WITH ROSES IN KINGMAN, ARIZ.

DEAR HAPPY: Thanks for the input.

DEAR ABBY: Your response to "Poor Little Butterfly" was wrong, wrong, wrong. This is an issue of the daughter preserving her self-esteem, not an argument over a tattoo. This butterfly had every right to ask her mother to take off! -- YOUNG MOM IN WASHINGTON

DEAR YOUNG MOM: I suspect you're right that the mother was reacting to more than the tattoo.

DEAR Abby: That couple did the right thing sending her mother home. They stuck up for each other in the face of adversity. That marriage is going to endure.

Unfortunately, mine will not. Ten years ago, on the morning of my first daughter's christening, my mother-in-law looked over her newspaper and proceeded to lecture me about how they do things in "their" family. She made the mistake of giving me this lecture while an overnight guest in our home (which, by the way, my wife and I bought with no help from her mother).

Abby, I sent her packing the next day. My mother-in-law proceeded to bad-mouth me to the rest of the family, trying her best to turn them against me. My wife never once took a stand against her mother. She let her mom criticize me to everyone without ever setting the record straight.

My wife made a decision that day about where her allegiance stood. The events of that day were the single greatest indictor of how the rest of our marriage was to go. -- GETTING DIVORCED 10 YEARS LATER

DEAR GETTING DIVORCED: How sad that a loving daughter was forced to choose between her husband and her mother -- and made the wrong choice.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in "What Every Teen Should Know." To order, send a business-sized, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included in the price.)

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