the leap.

www.mikefiechtner.com

Everyone I know is having a second baby.

Okay, not everyone, but basically everyone. I would name names but that’s awkward so I’ll just tell you that three of my friends just welcomed their second babies and four of my friends are pregnant with their second babies.

C’mon now, that’s a lot of second babies.

Naturally, every time I turn around, someone is in my face asking, “SO, LIKE, WHEN ARE YOU GUYS TRYING FOR A SECOND?”

To be completely honest, the thought of having a second child right now makes me mentally break out in hives. And then I remember that it takes nine months to grow the baby and I feel a tiny bit better, but not really. Brett and I both want more children (him: yesterday, me: sometime in the semi-but-not-too-close future), but that desire makes me no less terrified.

There, I said it. I am straight up terrified of having two children.

Mathematically speaking, I’m one to one during the day. Right now I only have one mouth to feed, one butt to wipe, one tiny heart to love, one body to bathe, one knee scab to kiss, one Elmo to keep from getting lost (okay technically we have five Elmos but he does have a favorite), one carseat to buckle/unbuckle, one high chair to clean, you get the idea.

For some reason the leap from one baby to two babies seems bigger than the leap from no babies to one baby. And let me tell you: that was quite a leap for us.

Is it just me? Is anyone else terrified of having two children? I know people do it all the time but I don’t really understand the logistics behind it. When do you take a shower? How do you go to Target? How do you coordinate two nap schedules? What if one child doesn’t like Elmo? How do you potty train a toddler while breastfeeding a newborn around the clock? How do you get a double stroller in and out of the car by yourself? How do you survive and feel human and find time to breathe?

It took a while for us to get to this point, but Ev and I are in a pretty good groove right now. We’re Ashlee and Everett, partners in crime like Batman and Robin. We laugh, we play, we wrestle, we tickle, we go out for ice cream, we watch Elmo, we read. He sleeps for 2.5 hours in the afternoon while I edit photos and write and pretend there’s no laundry in the dryer.

Life is sweet and fun and (dare I say) manageable right now. What’s that saying? Don’t mess with a good thing? We’ve got a good thing going right now. I hope someday having two babies will be our good thing too, but for now, I am perfectly okay with having one mouth to feed and one butt to wipe and one Elmo to look after.

Mommas of two babies: you’re my hero. Feel free to share encouragement & tips in the comments for all things related to having second babies. I know there’s plenty of women that could benefit from it, including me someday.

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54 Responses to the leap.

  1. jean says:

    couldn’t agree with you more, i have one (4 months old) and the thought of another baby sends me into a state of panic. my husband would be fine with 12 kids me on the other hand i think we hit the jackpot with one, so why ruin it!?

  2. Oh my gosh, everyone I know is pregnant with their second too!!! I feel like I’m in a similar boat as you. Sometimes I look at Ethan and go, this is really nice. We can still go to dinner and finding a sitter is really easy with one. And he gets all of our love and attention. But I know we want more children…I just don’t know how people go on to have 4 or 5 more!!! Crazy.
    natasha {schue love}´s last blog post ..My Favorite Looks: Emmy Awards

    • Ashlee says:

      Seriously. I hate to say having one is “easy” because it’s not really EASY, but compared to having two or three or four, it’s definitely more….simple 😉

  3. caprice says:

    I have two children (3.5 years apart). We felt very blessed with one since it took over 10 years to bring her here. Then when she was 2 years, I was surprised to find out I was pregnant but later miscarriage-which broke my heart but still felt very blessed to have her. Then it happened, another unexpected blessing and my boy was born. I know I have heard many times that having children closer in age is nice because they play together and grow up together etc. but I really have to tell you that I love the spacing of my children. My daughter is potty trained and a little more independent which allows me to tend to his needs. From day one, I have included her in his care and she loves to help out even though certain tasks take 10X longer than should but her joy of helping is priceless. She is his favorite toy and he is so captivated by her (and she loves the audience) where this allows me to cook dinner, get dressed, etc. I am not sure how it would be having them closer together and of course all families and babies are different. I know in our experience having two children was a game changer, but in some ways I find it easier with two than I did with just one. Not every day goes smoothly. You learn a whole new way to adjust and “be flexible” but I think baby #1 was great training for that.

  4. Holly says:

    I have to admit, the first few weeks with two were rough. I felt like we had our routine down pat and all of a sudden I had to figure out an entirely new one – and somehow manage nursing a newborn every 2-3 hours, while entertaining a busy three-year-old. Ugh. Now that Ellie is a little older, though, they entertain each other a bit more! Topher loves to pretend to have sleepovers with his little sister, or bring her toys to play with, or just play with his own toys and narrate what he’s doing while she watches from her play mat. And Ellie adores her big brother 🙂

    Oh, and to answer your questions … I shower in the morning while Ellie naps and Topher watches Super Why. It’s super quick and I never, ever have time to blow-dry, but Topher’s terrified of the blowdryer anyway, so that’s okay! We have a sit and stand stroller that is actually lighter than our single stroller (a BOB) so I can get it in and out of the car by myself with no trouble at all 🙂 We go to Target almost every week – Ellie sits in her car seat in the cart and Topher usually stands on the end of the cart and pretends he’s a “garbage guy”. It’s more of an “outing” than a shopping trip, though. If I need to buy a lot I go by myself in the evening and leave the kids at home with their dad! Topher potty trained when Ellie was two months old and still nursing every two-three hours – it was a pain, but I think potty training is always a bit of a pain. I did wait until he was three, though, so he was more than ready ! I haven’t figured out how to coordinate nap schedules yet, since Ellie’s still all over the place sleep-wise and Topher’s starting to give up naps (AHH! I am SO not ready for that!) … but yeah. You just figure it out as you go along and do the best you can 🙂
    Holly´s last blog post ..Mommy Confessions

  5. Mary says:

    I feel the same exact way except my baby… will be FIVE in 9 days! That being said, we are currently “trying” and I’m no less terrified. I was no help at all.

  6. Jamee says:

    I could not agree with you more. We are a one child family and the thought of two isn’t on my brain. At all.
    We are both on the same page (my hubs and I) that one is enough.
    I like being hands on and devoted to my daughter. I’m worried that adding another child in the mix would separate us all. I’d watch over one and he’d watch over another when out doing things. It just sounds stressful typing it.
    I want my family unit to be tight and manageable. I want to be able to travel with my daughter, send her to any college she desires, but yet still teach her good manners of an only child.
    People do not express enough how hard it is to have a baby. Sure they are cute and cuddly and beyond lovable but its hard.

    PS: Amazing posts about your trip. I was beyond inspired by your journey. You made an impact on so many peoples lives. That’s so admirable. Be so proud of yourself.
    Jamee´s last blog post ..Happy Birthday to my little Sister Ashley!
    (This was us in Cabo…

  7. Sarah says:

    I find two much easier than one! It’s all economy of scales :). I have a three year old and a four month old, a nice spacing because my older child is potty trained and goes to preschool three mornings a week. But more than that, I’m just more confident now than I was as a mom of one. I don’t waste time spinning my wheels and searching for answers. I know what works, and that feels so great! Plus, my three year old semi-entertains the baby, which gives me a few minutes here and there. Having two forces me to use my time wisely. And I don’t get flustered about schedules. My baby just has to follow my three year olds schedule, so he might nap in the car or in the Ergo. I think it’s made him a more adaptable baby.

    Anyway, just my experience and opinion. :). All kids are different and all moms have other preferences. I’ve reached the conclusion that raising kids is challenging no matter what, so I’m trying to just embrace that and do what works 🙂
    Sarah´s last blog post ..Book review | Start: Punch Fear in the Face

    • Ashlee says:

      “I don’t waste time spinning my wheels and searching for answers.” – love this. I also love the timing of one kid being potty trained and going to preschool part time. Thanks for the encouragement!

  8. Paulette Hawes says:

    Hey Ash –

    Okay, okay!! I will try not to bother you too much about having another baby. We love Everett and he is such a joy in our lives. To be honest another grandbaby would be wonderful and loved by all. But in the end, this is your and Brett’s decision and you will know when the time is right.

    While we did not plan on having you and Garrett 22 months apart, it was great. As several other moms pointed out, the older child entertains the younger child. You were such a little mother!! I know I was lucky to have such a wonderful helper. You would put the pacifier back in Garrett’s mouth, get diapers and wipes, sit and sing to him, hold toys out to him, etc. I think Everett will be a terrific big brother.

    Love you, Mom

  9. Kelly says:

    Love your blog! Love Everett’s outfit and your top. I’ve been looking for something like that – mind sharing where your top is from? Love it! Thanks

  10. Claire says:

    Oh my dear! I so know the feeling. I distinctly remember thinking one day when Tyler was Ev’s age, that one was JUST fine by me. Little did I know, I was already pregnant with Lily. It was terrifying, because how could I possibly love another baby like I loved him? The thing is, you can’t – you don’t. You love your kids for who they are and what they add to your lives. No matter if you have one kid or 5, they don’t let you enjoy your groove for long! This world is just too big and interesting and changing and boy to those kids change with it! The best thing about being a parent – to one or 5 – is that no matter how many kids you have, God walks the journey with us. There will always be moments of sheer terror and chaos, but in Him ALL things are possible, even two kids!
    Claire´s last blog post ..“Why aren’t you in school?” – Thoughts on Homeschooling After Five Weeks

  11. Allie says:

    Yes x 1000! I have a 15 month old, and I get asked when baby number 2 is coming. I must have missed the memo on baby spacing 🙂 I am honestly terrified to get pregnant again bc I was so, so sick with my first (hospital visits, had to cut back at work, etc) and can’t imagine that happening again while having a toddler. I hope it doesn’t happen again, but we still are planning to wait until after holidays and when grandparents are more free to help out. And that’s just the pregnancy! Actually having two is a little overwhelming!

    • Ashlee says:

      Guh. I hardly even think about that part but YOU’RE RIGHT. Forget managing a newborn and toddler, you have to be PREGNANT and take care of a toddler for nine months! I wasn’t very sick with Ev but I’ve heard every pregnancy is different. Here’s to hoping our next pregnancies are vomit-free 😉

  12. kelsey says:

    I’m the same way, and soo grateful we’re not pregnant yet. Rooney is 18 months old, and I think ideally we’d like to space our our next kid to be born when she’s 3 or 4. Even that makes me worry. I think it will be a little easier next time around to have a newborn (perspective!), but I’m pretty sure we’re a two-kid family, because I just can’t even imagine taking care of more than that.
    kelsey´s last blog post ..How to Save for Your Kids’ College?

  13. Gloria says:

    I can remember feeling the same way before I had two kids. Everyone else around me already had two and I was just surviving with one. I knew there were some variables that could come into play when I did eventually welcome my second son, such as his temperament, my postpartum healing, and the way my oldest son would react. I felt like I had to let go of many expectations and just simply go back to taking one hour at a time. What I felt like I had to grieve the most is that my time would be divided and I could no longer do things the way my oldest and I had grown accustomed to living life. Making special memories with my oldest before his brother was born and continuing special dates after he was born has made that dilemma much easier for me. Some of the greatest blessings I have encountered as a mom is watching my boys grow into best friends, how they play together, take care of each other, and even learn from each other (sometimes not so pleasantly). Looking back, I’m so glad I didn’t let my fears stop me from having a second…I’m hoping the same is true for adding a third child to the family! 🙂

    • Ashlee says:

      “Some of the greatest blessings I have encountered as a mom is watching my boys grow into best friends, how they play together, take care of each other, and even learn from each other (sometimes not so pleasantly)” – love this! Thanks for sharing, Gloria. Definitely something to look forward to 😉

  14. Lesley says:

    Yeah, this is terrible timing for me to chime in since you know I’m struggling through the no sleep infant days. sigh. But, I do have better perspective this time around and I see how it will get easier once the infant stage is over. I think months 1-12 are rough no matter how many kids you have because babies are changing so fast they never get in a groove. I really enjoyed the 18-24 month stretch with Anna because we’d gotten our groove, and I’m definitely mourning that loss right now. All that to say, I keep reminding myself that these are the hardest days and it will get better from here. Hope I’m right! 🙂 You’ll be a fantastic mama to two kiddos, but take your time. You’ll never be fully ready but you’ll know when the time is right.
    Lesley´s last blog post ..Happening lately

  15. mejaka says:

    Oh, hon…It all works out. Really. My third just came through the door. Seventeen years old. Man, he is awesome. So are his older brothers (21 and 24–and now I have a daughter-in-law!). And his little sister! She’s amazing. Five years ago, when she was 8, we found out that surprise twins had taken up residence in my midsection. They’re awesome, too, though I’m a bit on the old side (they’re 4, I’m 47).

    You get tired. You learn to shower fast, and you go some days without a shower. You learn that a walk or a bath is the answer to a lot of things. You say yes to things like dogs and makeup and motorcycles, or you say no. You second-guess yourself a lot, and pat yourself on the back on occasion. You sometimes have to lock yourself in your room for a minute for a good primal scream or some chocolate from your lingerie drawer. You teach them that taking turns is the fair way, and that not everyone has to like Elmo, but everyone needs to be kind to his brother. You teach them that kindness is powerful and standards are worth having and that they are incredibly courageous, noble, capable. You pray a lot more, and the older they get, the more you pray. You let them make their own mistakes and face their own consequences, but never alone. And then come those times when you hear the older one say, “You can have the first turn!” or “Hey, wait, I’m gonna see if my little brother wants to come with us,” or “Wow–that was great! How long have you guys been singing together?” or “I can show you what to do with that w-2 if you don’t want to wait for Dad.” Yep, I’ve heard some variation of all of those in the past 24 years. And more.

    It’s incredible to watch them all together. The only thing more amazing than how much I could be affected by each new little baby, is how much each of them have been.

    • Ashlee says:

      Best comment of the day award. Thanks, Mejaka. I love this: “You teach them that taking turns is the fair way, and that not everyone has to like Elmo, but everyone needs to be kind to his brother.” Although, I secretly hope EVERYONE loves Elmo because how else will I survive 5-6pm every day? 😉

    • Natalie says:

      This is absolutely beautiful. I teared up a bit, reading this poetry about siblings and parenting. Thank you for sharing it, Mejaka.
      I’m currently waiting out my four-month-old who is possibly teething/perhaps ditching the swaddle/making me cray-cray at naptime. I still have no idea what I’m doing and think that will be the case for a long time to come. Another kid? Nuts.
      And yet, I know there are other members of our family we haven’t met yet. And I get excited about that. I know that the time to expand our brood isn’t right now, but I feel equal parts fear and thrill when imagining who might be next. Just throwing that out there before my boy wakes up and I take it all back. 🙂

  16. Ashley says:

    I couldn’t have said it better. I have two and am terrified every day. Showers have become sacred time {which mostly are shared with the two year old when the newborn naps — which is embarrassingly like every three days}, target trips aren’t fun anymore {can’t believe I just said that}, and any time you had to yourself before is now completely non-existent. But hard as it is, the extra set of eyes gazing up into yours, the extra hands wrapped around your finger, and twice the snuggles make it all worth it. I can’t wait for you to have another baby, lord knows you and Brett make cute ones! Until then, enjoy every moment alone with Ev you can.

  17. Kelly says:

    I’m just pregnant with my first, but I already fear the two more than just one 🙂 So I’m with you! It will take me years to overcome this, and I may just have one to be honest, ha.
    Kelly´s last blog post ..Pregnancy Updates, Part 2

  18. michelle says:

    I’m adjusting to one kiddo, I can’t even begin to process two, but at the same time I can’t imagine having just one child, you know? This is an intriguing post, and I’ve been reading all the comments, and these responses are really enlightening, I’m learning a lot 🙂
    michelle´s last blog post ..Guest Post: Shades of Gray

  19. Jill says:

    Could not have said it better myself! My hubby is the same as yours ( ready, like now) and our baby girl is only 10 months! I love her so much and just want to give her the opportunity to be our baby as long as possible. I also want my body (boobs) to myself for a good while before they are offered to another little being again, and I still have 2 months left of nursing this little before she’s weaned. I need to figure out a way to buy time here…
    Jill´s last blog post ..White Padded Walls

    • Ashlee says:

      Oh girl. Brett and I made an AGREEMENT. And that agreement was: the EARLIEST we can start trying for baby #2 is after I have enjoyed six whole months of not being pregnant and not breastfeeding. Four months down, two to go. I love wearing skinny jeans and pretty bras, not ready to give them up just yet!

  20. Kelly says:

    Sweet friend, I love you and your honesty. Having 2 kiddos scares the bananas out of me. And, as you know, I’m preggo with no. 2 right now. My thoughts go between “yay…two girls!” to “oh my gaah what have i done!?” Thinking about the lack of sleep and breastfeeding issues are, by far, the scariest things for me. I got so out of it because of those things the first time.

    For me, kiddo no. 2 came because (1) we were both on the same page that we wanted more kiddos and, since I just turned 31, we did not want to wait too long (you have that nice age liberty, you young one), (2) our marriage was strong and we both felt like timing was right, (3) we are in a good and stable groove with Charlie girl, and (4) honestly, I felt a little bit of a push from the Lord on the issue, or so I think that is what happened. I was more reserved than B, but I felt like the Lord was asking me to trust Him with the timing of it. Those were our thoughts…

    Excited to see your path, friend! Love you!

    Kel

    • Ashlee says:

      Love hearing your thought process, Kel, and SO excited for you guys! Although I will admit, I may have gasped out loud when I saw the announcement (only because Ev and Charlie are what, two days apart?). I AM FEELING THE PRESSURE. Haha.

  21. I always thought it would help to have them spread apart a little rather than having two kids close together. So maybe it will seem more doable when Everett is a little older? Like 3 or 4? Then he would be more self-sufficient and also a better helper than maybe he would be right now. I’m not a parent so I could totally be wrong, but that’s what I seem to hear from other parents.
    Allison @ With Faith and Grace´s last blog post ..Joining Jillian

  22. Pingback: Girls on the Grid | The Leap

  23. Meagan says:

    Bahahaha we tried for #2 and found out we are having twins!!!
    Meagan´s last blog post ..16.5 weeks #2 and #3

  24. Ashley Smith says:

    I felt the same way when I was pregnant with my second child. My fears were so much how I will manage having two but how I could even love another child as much as I loved my 1st. To be honest, it didn’t happen right away. It took a long time before I grew to love both children the same and I think more people need to hear this. Whether it has to do with loving your children the same or getting into the groove of having more than one child..things take time and finding your sweet spot so to speak doesn’t always happen over night but it will happen.
    Ashley Smith´s last blog post ..FARMER’S MARKET

  25. Nicole J says:

    I had so many of these worries when I was suddenly, unexpectedly pregnant with my second when my first was only 10 months old. (Surprising because it took us almost two years to get pregnant with our first; I wasn’t really used to being a fertile Myrtle.) I wrote about it here if you’re interested: http://notperfectbutbeautifullife.blogspot.com/2009/08/worries-of-course-worries.html

    I felt these worries intensely for the entirety of my second pregnancy. Then I had my girl and got a wicked bout of postpartum depression and the worries lingered even longer. And then things got better. Yes, the first time the two of them were sobbing at the same time while I was all alone was heartbreaking/terrifying/the worst, but we got through it together. My son, only a year-and-a-half when his sister was born, didn’t think much of her when she was a baby, but now they are the best of friends and he doesn’t even remember what life was like before her. I worried how I’d love two kids equally, and I found out that it’s pretty easy because you’re not loving a carbon copy of your first; my daughter is vivacious and funny where my son is thoughtful and a snuggler, and instead of loving them exactly the same, I love them equally but in very different ways.

    I get what you mean, though, about this seeming like a bigger step than going from zero kids to one; I felt the same way, and still do most days. When you’re by yourself you have to play zone defense instead of man-to-man and that’s a whole different way of thinking. But, difficult as it is most days, I can’t even imagine what our family would be like without the fourth member.

    Good luck, and remember that no matter what, you need to do what is right for YOUR family.

  26. Denise R. says:

    I’m currently pregnant with baby #2 (due at the end of January) & I have never felt more ready for two kids. That doesn’t mean I’m not freaking out to a degree, though!
    Our son Kurt is four, and he’ll be turning five when #2 is just three months old. Our spacing was intentional. Kurt is in pre-k, he is 100% potty-trained, he can do things so much more independently than he could even a year ago, & he understands & is ready to become a big brother. At the same time, I’m also glad we waited because Kurt has been able to really enjoy the love we have to give him. I’ve enjoyed all of our one-on-one (or two-on-one including my husband) time, & I know he’ll treasure those memories forever, as well as make new ones with a sibling. I feel like we’re going to experience the best of both worlds!!

  27. L says:

    It’s only 1.5 difficult to have two kids. For me it’s so much easier than having just one. It is more work for sure, but not double work. They take a bath together, you go to the bathroom with two kids to brush teeth, prepare one breakfast for everyone, so basically the same activities you do but just a little more. This starts when your youngest is able to take a regular bath, to eat regular food, etc

    It’s easier for me, because they play with each other. When one of them was crying and I had tried everything to make her stop, to be happy, her sister was the only one who could accomplish this. Little kids like seeing little people moving around. They learn from each other. And seeing siblings love is a new feeling for me, a great one. To see a little person caring for another little one, playing, loving, it’s just amazing. You can tell them to be nice to each other, to respect the other person, but you get to see that their love goes beyond your words. It’s natural or it’s voluntary, you cannot control their love.

    I had my second one very soon after the first one. I think that if I had waited longer I would have had doubts about it. When the first one was just a few months old, I had baby fever, my husband too, hehe, so we decided to have a second one right away.

  28. Jane says:

    My two are 19 months apart. I can totally understand the way you feel. I was terrified when I was pregnant with the second. I had a horrible first six months with my first child. I had absolutely no idea what to expect, couldn’t cope with the sleeplessness and she had reflux too, so I had to hold her upright constantly. I was on a waiting list to see a counsellor when I finally started to feel like I might be able to cope with motherhood.
    When I fell pregnant with my second child, I was worried that I’d lose it again. Towards the end of the pregnancy I started saying to myself: “Look, the first twelve weeks will be shitty and difficult and lack sleep, but after that we should start to see the light”. I really went into ‘head down, bum up’ mode to work through it and as a result, I was SO much more able to deal with it than I was the first time around. I had hairy moments, of course. My husband works nights, so I had to do the dinner/bath/bed routine by myself and that often involved one or both kids screaming, but I just knuckled through it.

  29. Lauren says:

    It’s so much easier going from 1 to 2 kids than it was to go from 0 to 1! I mean, it’s still hard work looking after 2, don’t get me wrong but you have already made all the big lifestyle changes to accommodate the first born. For me, the hardest thing about having my first was that my time was not my own… it took me so long to deal with and accept that. Having my second was not as much of a shock to my system as the first time around. My youngest has just turned 3 and now I’m even considering a 3rd! Although, I’ve been told going from 2 to 3 is soooo much more difficult haha.

  30. Melanie says:

    Love this post! I had a difficult pregnancy (2 months of bed rest) and I can’t imagine doing that with a toddler. Even as we left the hospital, they called out – see you in 2.5 years! Our little sweetheart just turned six months old and people are asking all the time when we’ll have another. I like the formula you mentioned above – six months of not being pregnant or breastfeeding as a good guideline 🙂 I had no idea how I’d manage with one, and we’re muddling along…so hopefully figuring out two will just happen when it does, because it has to, right?
    Melanie´s last blog post ..And just like that…half a year went by

  31. April says:

    Oh my gosh I feel like I wrote this! My hubby also really really wants a second, quite a switch from when we finally decided to have ONE! He was always pro-only child and me pro-multiples. Well, here we are, with an 18 month old girl and all our friends/family members our age are onto number two and I’m terrified of being alone all day with two! Thank you for making me feel like less of a freak.

  32. Becky says:

    Hi Ashlee, I found your blog through Liz Denfeld. And I definitely believe it was a God thing. 🙂 I am 33 and I a Mom to four kids. Ages 10, 8, 4, and 2 1/2. I am a stay at home Mom and I love it. There are hard days. Dealing with a pre-teen daughter and 3 boys (who love to tackle, wrestle, and play hard). But being a Mom is the greatest blessing I have ever received. I wouldn’t trade anything for those sweet faces. And just like being a Mom for the first time, it’s just instinct that kicks in. And also, Proverbs 31 gives me the encouragement I need each day. I want to that woman who is clothed in strength and looks over her home. I take each day as it is and count it a blessing from God. May God bless you with peace and joy today! 🙂

  33. just because you don’t want a second kid right now doesn’t mean you can never have one! most of the kids in my family are four years apart and i love it, so there doesn’t need to be a rush anyways!
    mary-katherine´s last blog post ..sweater weather.

  34. Xio says:

    It is totally God’s providence that I would stumble across this post today, because I went to bed in tears last night, nearly paralyzed with this same exact “fear”. Thank you for sharing your heart. It’s encouraging to know I’m not the only one going through this tug of war.

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