DEAR ABBY: I am 20 and live most of the year on my college campus. I'm on a full scholarship, so my parents are not paying my tuition. Most of my mail — bank statements, etc. — still goes to my parents' house since I don't have a permanent address.
For the last two years, my mother has opened my bank statement and read the entire thing. She then calls me and goes through all of my card charges and checks, and asks me to explain where I was and what I bought.
I have tried telling her that I am an adult and that what I buy is my business, but she continues to do this every month. When I explained that I am capable of managing my own finances, she told me she was just worried about me and that "a mother ALWAYS has the right to worry about her only child."
I understand she will always be concerned about my well-being, financial and otherwise, but this is taking it too far. How can I explain to her that it's not OK to invade my privacy? I know she means well, and I don't want to hurt her feelings, but it's really becoming a hassle.
— COLLEGE CO-ED IN WILLIAMSBURG, VA.
DEAR COLLEGE CO-ED: A mother may always have the right to worry, but she does not always have the right to snoop. Because you have already tried explaining to her that you feel what she's doing is an invasion of privacy and the message isn't getting through, it's time for you to open a post office box near the campus and have your mail sent there. It can be forwarded to you if you go home for the summers.
DEAR ABBY: After my mother died two years ago, my sisters and I divided up her household items, parceling out equally objects of material and sentimental value. One item, which went to my younger sister, "Beth," was a brightly colored handmade Native American rug our parents bought in the 1950s in Arizona. It had been displayed prominently for decades on a wall in the house where we three children grew up.
I visited Beth recently and was shocked to see that she had taken the rug out of storage and was using it as a floor rug in her family room. I shuddered to think of the damage that a daily trample by her three little kids, she and her husband and a sadly incontinent dog will do to this family treasure. I politely asked her to reconsider and find somewhere else to display it. If she couldn't, I offered to trade it for something of her choice from my parcel of the family possessions.
Beth took offense, reminding me that it is, after all, a rug, and that it now belongs to her. Emphasizing that her small house has limited wall space, she implied that I was trying to get the rug for myself. She feels my desire to see it displayed is no more valid than hers to see it used. Am I wrong in thinking she should not trash this heirloom?
— SENTIMENTAL IN HARTFORD, CONN.
DEAR SENTIMENTAL: The rug belongs to your sister, to do with as she pleases. HOWEVER, her Native American rug purchased in the 1950s could be extremely valuable. Has your sister had it appraised? If not, I am urging you to tell her to have it done, because it could pay for a year or two of one of her children's college education.
DEAR ABBY: "Katy" and I are in a loving relationship but have an ongoing argument in our home. Katy always sets the alarm clock for an hour before it's time to get up — then hits the "snooze" button five times before actually dragging herself out of bed (which is usually even later).
Because I am a light sleeper, I'm forced to listen to the alarm clock and end up waking up earlier than I'd like. Can you please offer a solution?
— SLEEPLESS IN SOUTH CAROLINA
DEAR SLEEPLESS: Earplugs for you. A cold foot on the behind for Katy.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.