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by Abigail Van Buren

Vegetarians' Dinner Guests Shouldn't Find a Bone to Pick

DEAR ABBY: I am a sophomore in high school who has the responsibility of helping my mother raise four boys and a baby girl until their mothers (my sisters) are able to take care of them. Instead of being able to attend a football game or go to the mall with friends, I spend half my time at school and the other half baby sitting. The only "joy" I feel is knowing the kids are safe in my capable hands.

I have been around babies all my life and I'm reaching the breaking point. I'm worried about my future after high school. I feel like a middle-aged woman instead of a teenager from the stress I have had to accept. Can you tell me how I can feel like I can accomplish something more? -- TEENAGE FOSTER MOM/AUNT

DEAR TEENAGE FOSTER MOM/AUNT: By completing your education. For you, freedom lies in getting a college education or learning a trade that will get you out and on your own. You should not have been saddled with the responsibility of raising the children your irresponsible sisters brought into this world. Learn from their example and be sure that the only pregnancies you have are those that have been planned and prepared for, and you will have the freedom and the future for which you are longing.