Tag Archives: motherhood

Mother’s Day is Everyday

My oldest daughter and I were asked to be a part of a workshop at our church speaking on adult daughters and their mother’s relationships. We made a list and examined our strengths as well as our weaknesses. I know from experience that mother-daughter relationships can be both complex and diverse.

There are many ups and downs, no matter how positive, or complicated and trying the relationship. Psychologists say daughter’s primary complaints are that mothers try to baby them being overly critical and demanding. From mom’s perspective, daughters don’t listen to them, make poor choices and have zero time for them.

I do not find this teaching comfortable or an easy topic for me. There are many challenges in parenting and this thing called “motherhood” hit me between the eyes at an early age. My mom raised me pretty much as a single mom, as she never married after her and my dad split. She had common law relationships–I can think of three–and I was pretty much left on my own. So yeah, I was neglected and raised myself. Matter of fact, our roles were reversed and so I’ve always felt that my childhood was taken from me!

I left home early and married very young. Had my first child at the age of 17, and by the time I was 22, I had my 4th. Ironically enough, I did a lot of the same mistakes in parenting as my own mother. I wrote about my personal journey as a daughter, wife and mother. You can say I was a real hot mess back then. In retrospect, I thank God that He rescued me from myself! Now that my children are adults – I can think of a lot of things that I did wrong and regret in my own role. But nothing worthwhile comes easy; at least it never did for me!

In every challenge there are defeats and triumphs – and all of us have some scars along the way.

Lamentations 3:22-23: “It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”

I am familiar with the power struggles, the pet peeves, and the miscommunications.

What I see in my daughter(s), the good, the bad, and the ugly – I sometimes see a reflection of myself. Oh, those flaws! Clearly, I may not always like what I see … or hear. But you know what? We’re on the same team – we love each other, and we are there for one another.

Jer 31:16: Thus says the LORD, “Restrain your voice from weeping And your eyes from tears; For your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD, “And they will return from the land of the enemy.”

I can’t stress how I prayed, interceded and wept for my wayward child (children). But as a mother – that’s what we do! We don’t give up and we don’t let up until we have God’s peace. Know that it’ll be in His time frame, not necessarily ours. And when God does it, it’ll be a sure work. He leaves nothing undone.

HOW CAN WE BE STRONGER TOGETHER?

These are a few golden nuggets from my own firstborn’s perspective:

Everybody knows that TWO heads are better than ONE. In Girl scouts and in the 4H Club, you’d learn that three strands of string make a strong rope. To play harmony on a piano, you’d play with two or more notes. And you know, you won’t find a giant redwood tree standing alone!

  • Teaching by example, learning by experience, in values and in skills – all help us become stronger together.
  • Spending quality time with one another binds us stronger together as a family; i.e., meal times and outings.
  • Appreciating each other – showing love and affection.
  • Sharing a laugh builds us up – laughter is good medicine.
  • Sharing in responsibilities, accomplishing tasks together.
  • Stand by each other in times of trouble, uniting and pulling together when things get tough… when we encourage each other, we are stronger together.

Most important … when we learn to forgive each other, being open and honest, yet kind, we become stronger. Remember: attack the problem, not each other.

We encourage each other, consult with each other, spend time with each other, learn and grow from each other. No matter what the circumstances, despite feelings, perspectives, weaknesses and “bumps” along the way, when we face life together, find God together, pray together … all of these acts and then some, we can get through it and be stronger together!

My daughter(s) and I have come a long way.

Ps 90:12 “So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts to wisdom.”

Here are my acronyms for MOTHER & DAUGHTER:

M ake the first move

O mit malice

T hink before responding

H ave realistic expectations

E xtend grace

R epair damage quickly

 

D are to forgive offenses

A gree to disagree

U nity is better than division

G ather your words with prayer

H old unto hope

T alk about ways to communicate

E mbrace change for the better

R espect each other

 

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.

 

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Filed under Mother/Daughter, Relationships

Mother’s Day Tribute to the Women in my Family

All the Mothers in my Family

Becoming a Mom is watching your heart walk outside your body.

As I reflect on Mother’s Day, I am thinking about the mothers in my own family. Some of us had nurturing in our DNA; some of us never got the memo. Some of us got it down pat; some of us continue to learn by trial and error. None of us are perfect or have it all together. But no matter what, our bloodline flows strong, our hearts beat true. Children are a blessing. I believe as we look upon our children, young and old, the beating of our hearts never ceases to flutter. Some of us ease into our rolls, some of us, not so much. No one ever gave me a manual on Motherhood, and even if they did, the writer most likely didn’t have children of their own. Why? Because we learn by experience, and we learn by trial and error.

As I gaze upon the eyes of each Mother represented here, I see sadness of some unanswered prayers, worries about tomorrow, regrets of yesteryear, and the fear of failure. But I also see love, joy, perseverance, and tenderness, belonging, pride, and hope for the future — a better tomorrow.

One thing my mother always said and it is worth repeating: You can have ten fathers but only one mother.

Mothers, stand in the gap for your children. No matter what, never give up on them. And in our twilight years, may our children never give up on us.

© M.A. Pérez 2018, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Mother's Day, Tribute to Mothers

Thanksgiving ’76

Forty Years Ago:

I stared at the TV, hearing the drone but not paying attention to the program. Earlier I had eaten to my heart’s content, wishing I hadn’t stuffed myself the way we did our turkey.

Before too long, I felt a strong urge. Alone and frightened, my heart raced.

I pressed the button.

And pressed again.…

I shouted.

No one came.

In desperation I banged on the wall, yelling, “Hello, anyone out there? I have to push! I have to push!” Doesn’t anyone hear me? I . . . have . . . to . . . push! 

I pounded on the walls, about to put a hole through it. At last, a nurse ran in. Much to her surprise—and my anguish—she found me fully dilated and ready to pop.

A lot of activity happened at once. Oddly enough at the same instant, I felt like an ice cube. The nurse noticed me trembling and threw three blankets over me. She fetched Mr. Wonderful in the lounge, already stretched out half-asleep. After waking him, they gave him a hospital gown, a cap, and a mask. After he followed them to the delivery room, they instructed him where to stand.

With my knees bent and feet in stirrups, an assistant leaned me forward.

“Now push,” my doctor instructed. “Push, hard.”

I took a deep breath and held it, managing a couple of pushes, one or two deep grunts and a long groan, feeling the blood rush to my brain. “I . . . can’t!” I gasped. “No more. I’m tired.”

“Come on. Keep pushing. Bear down. A little more.”

“Arrrrgh!”

“Shush. It’s okay, honey,” Mr. Macho-turned-coach drilled. “Stay calm.”

YOU stay calm! IT HURTS!

“Humph,” Donny snorted.

“All right, now give me one big, long push.”

“It . . . b-burns!” God, I feel like I’m tearing! 

“Okay, now stop. Stop pushing a moment.”

PushBreatheBear downDon’t pushBreathe! My mind zoomed from ninety to zero. Oh, what am I supposed to do? Why hadn’t Donny and I completed those Lamaze classes? Finally, the answer came to me: In order to refrain from pushing, I had to do a series of shallow breathing. Pant. Like a dog.

Pant. Pant. Pant. Pant. 

Donny watched the whole process bug-eyed and ashen-faced.

Some macho-man he turned out to be.

2:56 a.m.

Gorgeous. Chestnut hair. Almond-shaped eyes. Rosy cheeks. Ten fingers and ten toes. I was in my teens and just delivered a beautiful, healthy 7 lb. 6 oz. baby girl. My baby girl! Thank you, God. With the ideal name for her—in memory of my beloved grandma and my deceased sister—I named her Anna, with Marie being her middle name.

Once home, I savored the miracle before me: An innocent life at peace in her crib. A life I had only known as bittersweet; a life filled with much adversity from being alone, cold, hungry, and frightened. My mind twirled with unanswered questions. Could I protect this child and keep her safe? As her mommy, I wondered if I’d always be there for her, and not fail or disappoint her. Would we have a close relationship? Would she always feel my love?

(An excerpt from Running in Heels: A Memoir of Grit and Grace)

© M.A. Pérez, 2016, All Rights Reserved

About

 

# # # #

We celebrate my firstborn’s birthday on the 26th. About every four years, her birthday lands on Thanksgiving Day. From day one, she is a reminder of all I am thankful for. She is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. I thought I knew something about parenting and Motherhood, but when she came into my life, she taught me.

As I watched her grow, she taught me the rhythm of a mother’s heart beat for her child.

heartbeat

To my beautiful daughter:

Anna Marie, as you have already read in my book about some of the joys and sorrows of life that transpired before and after you came into the world, I pray you will always know that you are no accident. You were a blessing to my heart’s content then and continue to be so now. Thank you for all that you do for me and Pops, both abroad and beyond, as well as behind the scenes. We love and appreciate you.

Happy Birthday, Anna!

1935590_1181248899225_538216_n

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Filed under Memoir, Thankfulness

This Language on Love

So, in reading “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, he describes in great detail how the word love can be very confusing. We love activities, objects, animals, nature and people. We even fall in love with love. He points out that we use love to explain behavior. “‘I did it because I love her’ says a man who is involved in an adulterous relationship. God calls it sin, but he calls it love. The wife of an alcoholic picks up the pieces after her husband’s latest episode. The psychologist calls it co-dependency, but she calls it love. The parent indulges all the child’s wishes. The family therapist calls it irresponsible parenthood, but the parent calls it love.”

Now I’m not by any means of the imagination a psychologist, a professor, a clergywomen, or a counselor. I am just an ordinary woman. I’m a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, and a girlfriend. But like many, I think all too often we speak the wrong love language. I definitely have.

heart-300x235

In my youth, I did some stupid things out of “love” for a guy. And because I loved him I thought, surely he will come to my way of thinking. He would love me in return, enough to change his behavior and better himself. After all, hadn’t I bent over backwards for him? Worshiped the ground he walked on? Became his doormat? In order to gain his undivided attention, I forgot who I was.

In my teens, I covered my husband’s transgressions. I hid his secret, sin and shame. My way of thinking was: This is why I exist, right? That’s my job, isn’t it? His wish was my command. Barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen – if only I knew how to cook then. My smile hid the pain in my heart, as well as makeup did the bruises on my face. I hid the grocery money, emptied the liquor bottles, refilling half with water hoping he’d never noticed. I’d called his boss to say he was sick in bed after another blackout episode. I told myself: I protect my interest. I do it all in the name of “love.”

I was tired. But because I loved my children, I eventually allowed my kids the freedom of choice. They started listening to the “hip” music their friends were listening to, and watched certain movies because I knew they were old enough and smart enough not to repeat negative behaviors. Yes, I was inconsistent, worn-out, and haggard. I practiced tough-love, church activities, rules and schedules, but then lost the victory in my own personal life that I toss responsibility to the wind. I got lazy. It became every person for themselves. I started doing my own thing. I felt defeated. Cold-hearted. Bitter. Since I had lost the battle as a wife, for a moment, I had also forgotten that there was still a war to fight for called Motherhood.

That was many moons ago. And I’m happy to say, although far from perfect, I continue to strive to communicate this language in a healthy way.

Just some rambling thoughts today, as I reflect over Gary Chapman’s point of view about the language of love.

What are your thoughts?

© M.A. Pérez, 2016, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Gary Chapman, Love Language

Mother’s Day Tribute to the Women in my Family

motherday31

Becoming a Mom is watching your heart walk outside your body.

As I reflect on Mother’s Day, I am thinking about the mothers in my own family. Some of us had nurturing in our DNA; some of us never got the memo. Some of us got it down pat; some of us continue to learn by trial and error. None of us are perfect or have it all together. But no matter what, our bloodline flows strong, our hearts beat true. Children are a blessing. I believe as we look upon our children, young and old, the beating of our hearts never ceases to flutter. Some of us ease into our rolls, some of us, not so much. No one ever gave me a manual on Motherhood, and even if they did, the writer most likely didn’t have children of their own. Why? Because we learn by experience, and we learn by trial and error.

As I gaze upon the eyes of each Mother represented here, I see sadness of some unanswered prayers, worries about tomorrow, regrets of yesteryear, and the fear of failure. But I also see love, joy, perseverance, and tenderness, belonging, pride, and hope for the future — a better tomorrow.

One thing my mother always said and it is worth repeating: You can have ten fathers but only one mother.

Mothers, stand in the gap for your children. No matter what, never give up on them. And in our twilight years, may our children never give up on us.

 © M.A. Pérez 2016, All Rights Reserved

 

 

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Filed under Mothers Day, Tribute to Mothers

A Mother Too, Yet Still My Baby

My dear daughter, I’ve watched you blossomed, married, and have children. Throughout those years, the depth of your eyes tell their own story — stories of joy … sadness … pain … love. I remember the moments when I walked similar paths, the ups and downs of yesteryear. But I’m stronger today than yesterday. And so you shall be.

Daughter, I am proud of you and your love for your children. You are a nurturing, giving, selfless mother, quick to forgive and never too busy for hugs. I just want you to know you’re doing a fine job. And I love you.

 

859706_411421335616858_1502809745_o(1)My beautiful baby girl, Angela, with her precious baby girl, Grace. Little did we know that Grace would undergo open-heart surgery just a few weeks later.

 

2062_1069677830018_9279_nLook at me now! God’s miracle at 2  1/2 months old

 

2062_1069581387607_1458_nThree-year-old Grace with her big brothers Christopher and Ryan.

 

1505326_598063350285988_1232425556_nMy daughter’s pride and joy.

 

705261_472248182867506_763032076_oAngela, you did phenomenal! Thank you for my precious grandchildren.

 

© M.A. Perez 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under motherhood

Into the Shark Tank – Part One

Tired. Bone tired.

At Rice Food Market, on my feet six nights a week, I worked the cash register, sacked and lifted heavy brown sacks loaded with groceries from 5 PM until closing at midnight. By the end of my shift, my feet swelled. My back ached. But the job provided health insurance, and a six-month maternity leave with pay. This was an answer to my prayers; God had provided.

I normally didn’t get home until one in the morning. To my good fortune, I worked directly across the street from our apartment on Bissonnet. A teenage neighbor watched our daughters for a couple of hours and fed them before my husband arrived home. I’d leave work at break time to check in on him and the girls in the evenings.

Too often, I’d find my husband draped across the couch out cold.

“Donny . . . Donny . . . .” I stood over him shaking his arm. “Dammit Donny, wake up.”

“What? I am awake!” he spat, and turned over.

“You’re supposed to put the girls to sleep before passing out. Remember?”

“Theyrslumppnng . . .”

“What—? You make me sick!”

I stormed away to check in on my sleeping angels. Before I opened their door, I heard whispering and giggling coming from the kitchen.

I never imagined how I’d find my girls entertaining themselves. On the floor amidst my pots and pans, they sat with the refrigerator door open. Five-year-old Anna Marie pretended to cook. She mixed her sisters a concoction of whatever she found in the fridge: raw eggs, ketchup, Pepto-Bismol, mayonnaise, grape jelly—and Lord knew what else—stirred in for good measure. I got home in the nick of time. Good Lord, I think I even smell beer in the mixture!

I wanted to quit work. But I needed to hold on for those maternity benefits.

A few nights later, I discovered the two youngest girls precariously hanging out the window of our second-story apartment—fearlessly leaning on their bellies, legs flaying in mid-air—my heart swelled in my throat. Concerned for their safety, I didn’t want to frighten them or have them keel over the windowsill. And I happened to be extremely skittish of heights.

¡Calmete! I told myself. You don’t want a repeated episode of having your baby early. I held my breath. I snuck behind them, grabbed them and pulled them in.
For me to repeatedly find the girls unsupervised and unattended became too much to bear. They deserved better. They didn’t need to see their father’s belligerent drunkenness. They didn’t need to hear their parents fighting, name calling, and screaming. What they needed and deserved, was a non-hostile environment—a safe refuge—filled with love, security, and self-esteem. And as their parents, we failed to give them that.

I imagined what our neighbors thought about us whenever uproars detonated through the walls from our apartment.

One evening I found out.

A couple of police officers knocked on our door. I wasn’t too surprised, but by then, all was calmed. Donny, in a drunken coma, had passed out.

The cops noticed I’d been weeping; however, I hadn’t any visible bruises on me. I never pressed charges against my husband before. Call me stupid. But I wasn’t going to then either. After some specific questioning, they gathered that I needed help. They asked if the girls and I had any place else to go or relatives close by. Naturally, I thought about fleeing to Miami, but even if we were to get there, then what?

Seeing our substandard living conditions, they handed me a Child Protective Services’ calling card. They strongly advised I take the girls in for a routine medical examination in the morning. How many times had my mother dealt with them when I was a kid? I knew nothing embodied “routine” when CPS became involved.

Early the next day, I bathed and dressed my girls in their prettiest dresses. I silently brushed their hair in pigtails, making ringlets with my fingers. I listened to their chatter, blinking away tears, and savored the moment to admire their beauty and uniqueness.

“Mommy, where we goin’?” Angela asked. “Put dis ribbon in my hair.”

“Lookie, Mommy, I can tie my shoes.” Anna Marie grinned.

“Ouchie! Don’t pull my hair, Mommy.”

“Balloon?” Diana asked, thinking we were going to the store.

“Mommy, are you sad?”

“Your tummy is gettin’ big again, Mommy.”

A few hours later, heartbroken and devastated, I was silently praying for their quick return.

(To be continued.)

This is a short excerpt from “Running in Heels – A Memoir of Grit and Grace,” Chapter 32. In this snippet, I reflect back to a time when my role as a young mother wasn’t so easy. With Mother’s Day soon approaching, I felt it was appropriate sharing this with you.

© M.A. Perez 2014, All Rights Reserved

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Filed under Memoir

Thanksgiving 1976

I stared at the TV, hearing the drone but not paying attention to the program. Earlier I had eaten to my heart’s content, wishing I hadn’t stuffed myself the way we did our turkey.

Before too long, I felt a strong urge. Alone and frightened, my heart raced.

I pressed the button.

And pressed again.

I shouted.

No one came.

In desperation I banged on the wall, yelling, “Hello, anyone out there? I have to push! I have to push!” Doesn’t anyone hear me? I . . . have . . . to . . . push!

I pounded on the walls, about to put a hole through it. At last, a nurse ran in. Much to her surprise—and my anguish—she found me fully dilated and ready to pop.

A lot of activity happened at once. Oddly enough at the same instant, I felt like an ice cube. The nurse noticed me trembling and threw three blankets over me. She fetched Mr. Wonderful in the lounge, already stretched out half-asleep. After waking him, they gave him a hospital gown, a cap, and a mask. After he followed them to the delivery room, they instructed him where to stand.

With my knees bent and feet in stirrups, an assistant leaned me forward.

“Now push,” my doctor instructed. “Push, hard.”

I took a deep breath and held it, managing a couple of pushes, one or two deep grunts and a long groan, feeling the blood rush to my brain. “I . . . can’t!” I gasped. “No more. I’m tired.”

“Come on. Keep pushing. Bear down. A little more.”

“Arrrrgh!”

“Shush. It’s okay, honey,” Mr. Macho-turned-coach drilled. “Stay calm.”

YOU stay calm! IT HURTS!

“Humph,” Donny snorted.

“All right, now give me one big, long push.”

“It . . . b-burns!” God, I feel like I’m tearing!

“Okay, now stop. Stop pushing a moment.”

PushBreatheBear downDon’t pushBreathe! My mind zoomed from ninety to zero. Oh, what am I supposed to do? Why hadn’t Donny and I completed those Lamaze classes? Finally, the answer came to me: In order to refrain from pushing, I had to do a series of shallow breathing. Pant. Like a dog.

Pant. Pant. Pant. Pant.

Donny watched the whole process bug-eyed and ashen-faced.

Some macho-man he turned out to be. 

2:56 a.m.

Gorgeous. Chestnut hair. Almond-shaped eyes. Rosy cheeks. Ten fingers and ten toes. I was in my teens and just delivered a beautiful, healthy 7 lb. 6 oz. baby girl. My baby girl! Thank you, God. With the ideal name for her—in memory of my beloved grandma and my deceased sister—I named her Anna, with Marie being her middle name.

Once home, I savored the miracle before me: An innocent life at peace in her crib. A life I had only known as bittersweet; a life filled with much adversity from being alone, cold, hungry, and frightened. My mind twirled with unanswered questions. Could I protect this child and keep her safe? As her mommy, I wondered if I’d always be there for her, and not fail or disappoint her. Would we have a close relationship? Would she always feel my love?

(An excerpt from Running in Heels – A Memoir of Grit and Grace)

# # # #

My firstborn’s birthday is just a few days away. About every four years, her birthday lands on Thanksgiving Day.  From day one, she is a reminder of all I am thankful for. She is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh. When she came into my life, she began a circle of three.

As I watched her grow, she taught me the rhythm of a mother’s heart beat for her child.

heartbeat

To my beautiful daughter:

Anna Marie, there’s a lot more to the story that had transpired before this excerpt about you posted here, as well as a lot more that occurred afterward. I suppose your curiosity is piqued right now, but I’m afraid, you’ll have to remain patient and stay tune along with the rest of the audience until my book becomes published.

I love you.

543593_2922453982349_1657957511_n

© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved

6 Comments

November 21, 2013 · 10:01 PM

This Language On Love

heart-300x235

So, in reading “The 5 Love Languages” by Gary Chapman, he describes in great detail how the word love can be very confusing. We love activities, objects, animals, nature and people. We even fall in love with love. He points out that we use love to explain behavior. “‘I did it because I love her’ says a man who is involved in an adulterous relationship. God calls it sin, but he calls it love. The wife of an alcoholic picks up the pieces after her husband’s latest episode. The psychologist calls it co-dependency, but she calls it love. The parent indulges all the child’s wishes. The family therapist calls it irresponsible parenthood, but the parent calls it love.”

Now I’m not by any means of the imagination a psychologist, a professor, a clergywomen, or a counselor. I am just an ordinary woman. I’m a girlfriend, a daughter, a cousin, a sister, a wife, a mother, an aunt, and a grandmother. But like many, I think all too often we speak the wrong love language. I definitely have.

In my youth, I did some stupid things out of “love” for a guy. And because I loved him I thought, surely he will come to my way of thinking. He would love me in return, enough to change his behavior and better himself. After all, hadn’t I bent over backwards for him? Worshipped the ground he walked on? Became his doormat? In order to gain his undivided attention, I forgot who I was.

In my teens, I covered my husband’s transgressions. I hid his secret, sin and shame. My way of thinking was: This is why I exist, right? That’s my job, isn’t it? His wish was my command. Barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen – if only I knew how to cook then. My smile hid the pain in my heart, as well as makeup did the bruises on my face. I hid the grocery money, emptied the liquor bottles, refilling half with water hoping he’d never noticed. I’d called his boss to say he was sick in bed after another blackout episode. I told myself: I protect my interest. I do it all in the name of “love.”

I was tired. But because I loved my children, I eventually allowed my kids the freedom of choice. They started listening to the “hip” music their friends were listening to, and watched certain movies because I knew they were old enough and smart enough not to repeat negative behaviors. Yes, I was inconsistent, worn-out, and haggard. I practiced tough-love, church activities, rules and schedules, but then lost the victory in my own personal life that I toss responsibility to the wind. I got lazy. It became every person for himself. I started doing my own thing. I felt defeated. Cold-hearted. Bitter. Since I had lost the battle as a wife, for a moment, I had also forgotten that there was still a war to fight for called Motherhood.

That was many moons ago. And I’m happy to say, although far from perfect, I continue to strive to communicate this language in a healthy way.

Just some rambling thoughts today, as I reflect over Gary Chapman’s point of view about the language of love.

What are your thoughts?

© M.A. Perez 2013, All Rights Reserved

8 Comments

Filed under Gary Chapman, Love Language