What My Parents Taught Me About Marriage

by Dana Boyle on February 21, 2012

  1. You have to put your marriage first – before even the children.

Some people cringe when I tell them this lesson, interpreting it to mean you shouldn’t prioritize your children.  Of course you prioritize your children, but at the end of the day, at the end of raising your children, you will either enter a glorious time of togetherness and renewed freedom to be a couple who still loves each other and has something to say to each other and has places to go and new heights to achieve together, OR you will divorce because you can’t even remember why you got married in the first place because  you lost yourselves so completely for the past 20 years raising your kids and you don’t even know who YOU are anymore.

My parents knew who they were my entire childhood.  They had date nights and fun times together.  They played cards with friends after we went to bed; they went dancing; they had projects they did together; they went to church together; they supported each other in their careers; they went boating and waterskiing– they had adult lives.

They never felt like they lost themselves.  They laugh at people who feel this way, because they don’t even understand the concept.

My parents always said, “Your children join YOUR lives, not the other way around.”

Your children adapt to how you live your lives.  They also learn a great deal from and appreciate parents who are strong individuals and a supportive unit.

2.  When times are tough, turn TOWARD each other instead of against each other.

My parents frequently talk about what makes or breaks couples and what they think has kept them together all these years.  They note that some of the other couples they’ve observed turn against each other when something goes wrong or when times get challenging for them.

What makes my parents different is that every time the chips are down, every time something goes wrong, every time they experience a set-back or heartbreak, they lean on each other.  They turn toward each other.  They hold each others’ hand through it.  They cheerlead each other.

When one feels down, the other stays strong and pulls them up.  When one struggles, the other kicks in high gear and helps them forge ahead, get back on their feet, heal, or think positive again.

There’s not room for blame or criticism when you turn toward each other.

It’s not YOUR problem, it’s OUR problem.

3.       If you want your marriage to work, you have to work at it.

My parents never pretended that marriage was easy.  They didn’t pretend that way with others outside our home, and they didn’t shelter us from the realities of married life.  We saw them work on things.  We saw them work things out.  They told other couples who were struggling that what they were going through was normal, and gave them support and advice about how to work on it and make it work.

They didn’t have big ugly fights most of the time.  Instead, they sat down over coffee or went on a long walk and talked things out.  Before they left to do that, they told us they were going to work on something and they’d be back.  I have to say I particularly appreciate that my dad was willing to talk things out – because so many men would rather not.

I am forever grateful for this example, because too often couples give up and throw in the towel the minute the going gets tough, or the minute they have to roll up their sleeves and come to the table to really work on something with their spouse.  Because of their example, I am a committed spouse, willing to do the work a marriage requires.

4.       It’s the little things every single day that make love last.

Both of my parents go out of their way for each other every single day.  Every.  Single.  Day.

They got married at 16 and 19 years old.  They had a baby one month BEFORE they got married.  They were an instant family.  Even with all of that, they made sure to do special things for each other every day, and they still do.

My mom gets up with my dad in the morning even if she doesn’t have to get up, and she makes his lunch, makes him breakfast before he leaves, talks to him before work, and makes sure he has everything he needs to start his day.  Before he comes home, she freshens herself up so she looks great – jewelry and makeup and all – and then she makes him a nice meal in the clean and decorated home she keeps.  She puts his medicine out at his plate so he can take it with his dinner every night.   (She did all that when she worked, too.)  She cuts his hair when it gets too long.  She checks on him when he’s in the woods for hours, bringing him lunch or something he likes to drink.  She makes sure they have all his favorite things, like cashews and iced tea and popcorn and bacon.  She buys him hunting gear, and even guns, because she knows hunting is the thing he loves doing most.

My dad warms up my mom’s car.  He fills her tank with gas.  He carries anything heavy, and gets her anything she needs.  I hate that my mom smokes, but every single day for 36 years he goes to get her a pack of cigarettes because he loves her and he knows she’ll go get them anyway.  The man paints her toenails.  I’m not kidding.  He was always an equal parent, and now he’s an equal grandparent – doing bathtime, diaper changing, feedings and calming crying babies.  Every year for many years my dad gave my mom a beautiful piece of jewelry for every holiday or special occasion.  He builds her anything she needs – the latest thing being a greenhouse so that she can garden all year round, because that’s what she loves to do most.

Those little things tell your spouse they are important to you and you love them – and that you put them first.

5.       If you expect marriage to be perfect, you’re setting yourself up for disappointment.

My parents laugh at people who go into marriage with expectations of grandeur.  They know better.  They know that marriage is actually something even more beautiful than those who expect it to be “perfect” imagine.  But they also know that it’s not perfect – and it’s God’s gift to us to help us become more accepting of ourselves and of others, especially of our spouse.

My parents’ example shows me that if you give up your desire for the perfect relationship with the perfect partner, what you will actually find is a deep, meaningful, soulful connection with someone who is your best friend, your ally, and your true partner, weaknesses, faults and all.

It also shows me that when you relax and give up those expectations together, you don’t overreact when things get goofed up or when your partner shows one of their faults.

There’s a sacred space there where you both know you have your own faults, and loving your partner in spite of theirs is actually learning to love yourself in spite of yours.

6.       Don’t hold onto resentments or let things fester.

Just state your complaint and move on.  Nobody needs to get personal, assassinate anyone’s character, or hold on to a grudge for weeks and months on end.

My parents are good at stating the complaint, acknowledging it and moving on.

Now, I’m not saying that they talk like John Gray (Author of Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus).  It’s not always tender and pleasant.  They don’t practice mirroring!  Sometimes it’s flat out bitchy, feet are stomped or a door may be slammed, or sometimes they even make faces at each other, which actually just makes them laugh.

What I AM saying is that it’s over at that point.  Over.

There’s not a long, protracted discussion about it, there’s no trying to convince the other spouse of their position, there’s no silent treatment, stonewalling, or emotional blackmail.  Nobody is withholding affection for a week.  Nobody is begging for forgiveness or love.

They simply call each other on their stuff, acknowledge what the other person wants or needs (and I’m not talking mirroring here…I’m talking, Ok, well why didn’t you say so?  Or, fine, just get in the car, or I can’t read your mind!)  And then it’s done.  On to the next part of life.

I think this is why it bothers me so much when people hold grudges, get silent for hours or days, or fester things.  I know it’s not necessary at all.

I think this is why my sister and I can easily model the same behavior with each other as siblings that we saw our parents model for us…if we piss each other off, we simply say so and move on, period.  Nobody argues, nobody sulks, nobody cancels lunch plans.  In fact, the very next statement after the air is cleared is often, “So, where do you want to get lunch?”

If more couples would just clear the air and move on, without making it mean more than it does and without letting it infect their love for each other or their feelings of worth, my goodness would the divorce rate go down!

There’s way less family dysfunction using this model.

7.       Be loyal to your spouse and have their back.

My parents always, always had each other’s backs.

They didn’t tolerate anyone, including in-laws and best friends, in any way making their spouse feel small or in any way abused or manipulated.  They spoke up for each other.  They were a team.  An attack on one was an attack on all.

If one said something, the other didn’t second-guess or contradict them.

This includes raising children!  My parents always backed each other up with the kids.  If one said something, it was final, even if the other parent didn’t agree.  They didn’t let us know that.  There was no point of weakness that we could see…they were fortified.  If they had a disagreement about it, we never saw it and I’ve later learned it was in private after we’d gone to bed – and it wasn’t a shouting match because we never heard it.  See #6 above.  It probably went something like, “I thought she should be able to go to that dance.  I mean, it’s what kids do.”  “Ok, well, we’ll figure it out.  I just think it’s ridiculous at this age.”  Then maybe a few days later I’d get to go to the dance, but nobody told me how that decision changed.

I remember one time I came to get my mom at a neighbor’s house and I told her my dad was in a bad mood in front of the neighbor.  My mom gave me a look that taught me a lesson that day.  And when I got home she reminded me again, “The neighbors don’t need to know what kind of mood your dad is in.  He works hard and doesn’t need to be badmouthed down the street.”  (Truth is the man is rarely in a bad mood anyway.)  But that was it.  No discussion, no apologies, just done.  Next.  But she backed up her man.  My dad did the same thing many times.

This loyalty extends beyond the spoken word, too!

When my dad got laid off here and there, as often happens in trade work, my mom would take on whatever job she had to so that they could make ends meet while his income was temporarily affected.  When my mom took on a career in interior design in the middle of my childhood, my dad took on more of the parenting and household duties, and he supported her by getting involved in her business to help her in any way he could.

Those kinds of challenges and changes can lead some couples to divorce.  My parents circled the wagons and helped each other, and they always do.

8.       Use each others’ strengths for the good of the whole – and pick up the slack where your partner is weak without rubbing their nose in it.

Nobody is good at everything and everybody is good at some things.  Your partner may not do everything the way you do it.  Your partner may suck at something you want done and done well.  So what?  Then do it yourself without pointing out their weakness!

My parents are both talented people.  They compliment each other very well.  My dad can build or fix anything.  My mom can also make just about anything.  They’re both creative.  My dad does the heavy lifting and the big jobs like building a building – putting the bones together.  My mom does the finishing touches like decorating, landscaping or making something come to life.

There are things each of them is not good at.  There are flaws and weaknesses each of them has.  But neither of them uses those weaknesses against each other, blames one another, or gets their noses out of joint because their spouse isn’t good at one thing or another.

Instead, they fill in the gaps for each other.  Where one falls short, the other takes over.

This is how they decide who does the finances, who does the painting, who mows the lawn, who makes dinner for the kids, who earns most of their money, and who is in charge of first aid when someone gets hurt.  And they don’t keep score.

There’s not a chore list that has to be divided 50/50 to be fair.  They both put in a lot of effort, and they each appreciate the others contribution, whatever it is.

9.       Everything is BOTH spouses’ responsibility.

This brings me to my next point.  My parents had a pretty traditional division of labor in our house most of the time, but it wasn’t written in stone.  If something needed to be done, it was anyone’s ball.

When you have a marriage, a house, rental properties, careers, two kids, a garden, a dog and in-laws there’s a lot to do.  They mostly had a routine, systems in place to get things done, and they didn’t micromanage each other about it either.  But if something needed to be done and the one who usually did it was sick, had to work late, or had too much on their plate, the other one picked up the baton and got it done without whining.

We were both of their kids.  My dad frequently washed our hair, helped us with homework, drove us to school, answered our 300 questions, and even made us dinner or picked something up when it was called for.  He also frequently spent an evening or weekend day with us while my mom had a nice time with her girlfriends.  He wasn’t “babysitting.”  He was being a dad to HIS kids and he was happy his wife got to get out of the house without the kids on a regular basis so she could maintain her adult life.

My mom frequently ran the lawnmower when my dad worked 80 hours per week.  She ripped tiles off the bathroom walls when they wanted to gut the room but my dad was busy on a service call.  She made fires in our fireplace every day in the winter to keep the heat bills down if my dad wasn’t home.  She made all the calls to the union, the health insurance companies, the doctors’ offices, even made appointments for my dad so that he could get his own health looked after because he was too busy to schedule his own.  And she disciplined us, instead of waiting for my dad to get home, because it was her responsibility too.

10.   You’d be surprised what you can handle and make it through with the grace of God and each others’ grace.

My parents are proof that your marriage can withstand many things.

They learned they were expecting me when my mom was 15 and my dad was 18.  While other people were telling them they’d never make it and that they might want to consider not having me at all, they pulled together and got married, knowing they wanted to do that anyway and knowing they could make it work because they were in love and they were strong together.

They have since been through watching their own small child be hit by a car and nearly killed, losing jobs and income, deaths of loved ones, their own serious car accident that nearly killed them both, filing for legal separation early on in their marriage but then reconciling, losing a home, heart surgery, in-law issues, including addiction, that were disruptive to their lives, health issues, serious injuries, births of two children, post-partum depression, colic, an armed robbery/mugging, getting rid of roaches in a house they bought together (ugh…no small task), an apprenticeship that paid little to get to the bigger prize, watching their adult daughter live in an abusive relationship and be stalked for several years not knowing how to intervene, remodeling house after house, dealing with renters, late night emergency room visits with a sickly child, moving and moving and moving again, seeing their infant in a burn unit, changing careers, being there while their daughter had two C-sections, learning each others’ stories – even the not so good ones, and the list goes on.

None of those things made my parents’ marriage weaker.  Every single one of them made it stronger.  They used those experiences to, again, turn toward one other and support one another.

For each of those things, there are many more joyous things they’ve experienced together.

I learned from my parents that when the times get tough, don’t give up.  Don’t throw in the towel.  Don’t blame your spouse.  Don’t shut down.  Turn to them, grow with them, see what new level your relationship can reach because of the challenge.  You will get through it.  Even without them, you’d get through it.  Wouldn’t you rather have your marriage intact on the other side?

11.   You were brought together for a purpose.  God has a plan.

My parents believe they were brought together by God.  They believe they are meant for each other because of the special healing each brings to the other.  They believe that each of them has just the right background, experiences and temperaments to complement each other and to help each other through life.

When they were starting out, they put their lives in God’s hands.  They prayed about getting married and having a baby together.  They believed that God gave them a gift, and that God wanted them to accept that gift and make the very best life they could with it.  They still believe this today.

I use this example to look for purpose and trust in God in my own marriage.  I don’t know who I’d be without my faith and my parents gave that to me.

12.   You are an example to your children, and they love to see you love each other.

My parents love each other openly, even in front of the children.  They didn’t wait until we went to bed to hold hands, embrace or give each other kisses.

One of my absolute favorite recurrent childhood memories is of my dad getting home from work and finding my mom and embracing her as if he hadn’t seen her in six months.  They would hug for longer than a couple of seconds and kiss and say how happy they were to see each other and then they’d talk about their days and what they needed to get done together for the evening.

I waited patiently for my hug, as did my sister, because remember…their marriage came first, and we liked it that way!

It never grossed me out to see my parents exchange affection.  I think that secretly, it doesn’t gross anyone out to see their parents share affection.

I want my children to have that same experience.  I want them to know I love their dad and their dad loves me, no doubt in their mind.  I can honestly say that I never doubted how my parents felt for each other, and that rooted me firmly in my family and in myself.

13.   You CAN still be in love with your spouse after many years – even more than you were before.

Love and romance don’t have to die after you have kids, are married, or are married “too” long.  It doesn’t have to wear off.  It doesn’t have to be forgotten.

My parents have allowed their love to evolve and grow.  They remember what brought them together, what they’ve experienced together, and they know where they want to take it.  They know the end result they’re after.

The way my mom puts it is that marriage isn’t about being in love non-stop, every day and all day long.  It’s about loving your spouse, even in the moments where you want to put your foot up their rear, and knowing that those loving feelings will return later that day, later that week or soon, if you keep perspective.

She tells me that she thinks it’s the couples who experience that waning feeling and then decide it’s faded and it’s over who actually do end their marriages.  Deciding how it’s going to be is huge.

You can decide that you will always love your spouse and that romance and the feeling of being “in love” will return over and over again on new levels.  Or you can decide it’s not the fireworks you had in the beginning and go to greener pastures only to find those fireworks fade too…and you’ll never know then that the first set of fireworks could have returned if you’d just have been patient and loving through the lull.

My parents still hold hands, exchange kisses, take walks together, garden together, share meals together, and do all sorts of things that demonstrate their love and affection for one another.  They have bonds they didn’t have when they married.  If they’d experienced a lull and given up, they would have never achieved those bonds that developed years into their marriage.

14.   Marriage is not a continuous state of romance and fireworks.  Get over it and appreciate what it actually is.

See number 13.

Experts say that nobody can maintain the “fireworks” that start off a chemical connection in a relationship for longer than an average of 6-18 months, or the longest period of about three years.    Most of us aren’t even married by that time yet.  I wasn’t, though I think our fireworks lasted that long.

What happens when you get past the fireworks is that you get into the power struggles stage where you decide your partner is totally different than you are and that must mean they aren’t right for you.  Many couples never get through power struggle stage.  Many divorce in that stage having never left it.

After power struggle stage, some lucky couples enter the next stage, which is recognizing that You + Me = Us and You are ok and I am ok, just the way we are, even if we can’t do dishes well or balance the checkbook like you do.

Beyond the we’re ok stage is the promised land.  That’s where very few couples build on their differences and strengths and become truly vulnerable to one another, getting to know who their spouses really are (and who they themselves really are) and loving who each is and who they are together as a whole.  This is mature love, warts and all.  Most of us never get there.

We think we’re there when we fall in love and we think that little habit they have is cute.  That’s not it.  That little habit you think is cute will annoy the hell out of you in 3 years.  That little habit that you think is cute will endear them to you for their vulnerability and humanity if you do get to mature love, but most of us will just remain annoyed until one files for divorce thinking they can’t live like that for the rest of our lives.

My parents have mature love.  Maybe that’s why #6 is possible for them.  Maybe they got there early.

15.   You can only control your behavior – so be the best you no matter what the other person is doing.

My dad preached this to me as a child.  I have to say that I never heard my parents say, “Well I wouldn’t do that if you didn’t do THAT!”

Each of them did their best, was their best, despite the bad day their partner might be having.  They might have injected some of #6, but they still did their best.  Nobody shut down or dug their heels in because they thought the other was a jackass or wasn’t pulling their weight.

I see couples get mired in this power struggle catch-22 all the time.

Well, she doesn’t clean the house so why should I care?  He doesn’t ever initiate sex, so I forgot about it years ago.  She never holds my hand, so I stopped opening doors for her.

Whatever it is, I see this all the time.

My parents don’t do that to each other.  Each moment is a new moment.  Each day is a new day.  Each experience is an opportunity to be the you that you want to be, regardless of who anyone else is being.

The neat part of this, if you learn it, is that it often snaps the other one out of it because you’re being so awesome they can’t help but be awesome back.

16.   There is great joy when the children are raised and the grandchildren come home with their parents.

My parents are now grandparents together.  Let me say that again.

My parents are now grandparents – TOGETHER.

They don’t just happen to have had some children together years ago and now those children have children.  They are together.  They get to be Grandma and Papa as a unit!

Who does that these days?

Our family is a unit in its third generation.

If you’ve played number 1 right and you’ve managed to get a hold on the others at least a little, you  might not have to split your time with your grandkid amongst four sets of grandparents, missing out on watching the father or mother of your children being their grandparent.

My parents get to see each other as grandparents, experience having grandchildren together, and support each other through when it’s time to go home and they won’t see the babies again for a few months.  They get to play together, pulling sleds and pushing swings and making jokes and games up for the kids and reading stories in funny voices, alternating the characters.  It’s a new play they get to have together.  It’s fun.  It makes them joyful together.

When you don’t do number 3, you don’t get number 16 and that’s sad.  So do number 3.

17.   Be proud of your spouse, and let them know it.

My mom beams when she talks to people about my dad.  He’s a good man.  He’s an excellent provider.  He’s strong, hardworking and smart.  He’s sensitive, helpful and generous.  He’s loving and honest.  She tells people those things.

She tells him those things.

My dad praises my mom for her strength, her willingness to help others, her creative talent, her tenacity, her love of nature, and the way she makes everything beautiful.  He thinks she’s the cutest thing that ever was.

He tells her those things.

I recently told a divorcing couple I’m working with what their rings may mean to their son, despite their divorce.  I explained that their marriage will ALWAYS legitimize him and his children when they come, even though he’s only six or seven years old.  Your relationship has meaning beyond you and your spouse.

I say that to make the point that the pride my parents have in one another trickles down to me and to my sister.  We feel that.  It has affected our own sense of self-worth and love.  It’s important not just to your marriage.

18.   Don’t hold your spouse’s family against them.

My parents have had some challenges on both sides of their families.  They’ve had to help each other out with things with their in-laws many times over their 36 years of marriage.

There are things about their families that others could easily judge -  divorces, addictions, step-family situations, economic background, and more.

Neither of my parents have ever used that against each other.  They don’t see it as having anything to do with their spouse.  They know that everyone has family stuff to deal with.  They know that families aren’t all the same.  They  know that what works for one family doesn’t always work for other families.

Most of all, they know that it doesn’t define their spouse.

It’s something to support and love their spouse through, not something to use as a weapon against them.

It’s more of that mature love stuff, and it makes life more bearable, and your next generation way more functional when the blaming stops and the love flows.

19.   Create your own marriage mission, vision and values together and watch what you can do.

There have been studies done on what successful couples do.  One of them I recently read talks about successful couples having a marriage mission.  They decide what they are going to make of their marriage, they have goals and they set out to arrive at a certain place, to create certain things together.

My parents did that – as teenagers!

When they were dating as kids they promised each other certain things.  They made a pact.  They decided how they were going to live their lives together, how they would raise their family, who they would be together, and how they would forge ahead and support each other.

They share a set of values, even if all of their personal core values are not exactly the same, they truly do have a joint set of values for their marriage and their family.

They knew what they didn’t want, and then used that to envision what they did want to create.  And by God’s grace, they did create that.

20.   Remember and celebrate the precious little moments and memories that weave your life story together.

Marriage isn’t just about rough patches and challenges.  It’s not all power struggle.  Thank God, right?

But it can be easy to get caught up in the struggle, get out our violins and play the same sad song over and over again.  It can be easy to lose perspective and forget to notice the good things happening around you in your marriage.

My parents love telling the stories of their lives together. They laugh as they remember even some challenging times that are now funny and precious to them all these years later.  They see the gold in so many of the littlest things, like being young parents and having precious little ones to enjoy – even if they did keep them up at night.

My parents make our lives special.  They cherish each other and the family they have created.  They love the garden they created together that brings butterflies and birds you’ve never seen.  They celebrate the house they remodeled and rebuilt in the woods up north together.  They go all out when their kids come to town, making beautiful holiday memories.  They truly enjoy their grandkids and actually get down on the floor and play with them together.

At the end of the day, they did a great job and are still doing a great job.

And the memories of the days on the beach, in the boat, at a cold picnic in the wind, sledding down a hill, having the flu together on the couch, planting their first flower bed together, knocking out their first wall to remodel, being growled at by their own dog who was protecting their baby, moving into their dream house, watching their girls graduate and graduate again and graduate again, and then get married and buy houses and have babies, and retiring to the woods to hunt and garden…every single one of them tells their life story that is more together than it is separate over the course of their lives.  Now, 36 years together is way longer than the teen years they had when they said I do.

They have a lot to celebrate and a lot to remember together.

 21.   You never truly know anyone – not even your spouse, so just enjoy the discovery

One day I was talking to my mom about getting engaged to my husband.  She was wondering when he might propose.  It’d been about two and a half years that we’d been dating and I was in my 30s, so my mom was in a hurry to marry me off.  I told her that he’d like to really know me well before he decides to marry me.  He thought it was important to know each other through a few sets of seasons, to really get to know each other.

My mom laughed and told me you never know someone.  Ever.

She said I think I know your dad, but then he does something or tells me something I never knew before about him.  He might share with me a dream he never told me he had.  He might suddenly say he likes a food I never cooked, or share a memory I never heard before.

She said she was married 33 years, at the time, and she was still getting to know my dad.

She told me that marriage is an adventure of discovery of your own self and of your spouse.  That you never truly know anyone, and that the joy of marriage is in getting to know your spouse better and better with every passing year and every new experience.

She said I don’t know your dad retired yet.  I am just learning your dad as a grandfather.  Those were a couple of examples she gave me, and she’s right.



It’s so easy to simplify our parents and take them for granted.  But they truly have so much wisdom to share and so many lessons to teach.

I have known my parents have something special since I was very small.  I could feel it.  I am ever amazed as I grow older and see the wisdom in new layers, especially as a married woman.

There’s a reason they are celebrating 36 years today.  They deserve it.  They’ve earned it.  I’d like to congratulate them on a job well done and an example I would love to live up to.

Who knew that on that blizzarding February day in 1976, when they were surprised any guests showed up at their wedding, they’d be celebrating 36 years together.

They didn’t have a photographer that day because of the snow, but their lives together say much more than any wedding photos could ever say.

I love both of my parents more than I can put in words.  I wish them many more happy years together so that they can enjoy retirement and grandparenthood well into old age.  They could easily have another 30 years, and I hope they do!

Happy Anniversary, Mom and Dad!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Kanesha Baynard February 21, 2012 at 10:46 am

This is so beautiful, Dana, and congratulations to your parents! I especially appreciate #18 – Don’t hold your spouse’s family against them…since my mother-in-law lives with my family and me. Great blogging material. ;-)


Dana Boyle February 21, 2012 at 10:56 am

Awww, thanks, Kanesha!

Number 18 is important for us all. We don’t realize that when we hold their family against them, we are making them and the people who they come from wrong…and that is so damaging.

Much love, girlfriend!


Jackie February 21, 2012 at 2:43 pm

Great post, Dana. You look so much like your mom in this photo. Beautiful.


Dana Boyle February 21, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Thanks, Jackie! Yes, I resemble my mother quite a bit. :)


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