3
Dec

Enjoy the process

Sometimes in life, we rush.
We get through, we survive.
We work really hard to get to the other side of a bad day, week, month, a string of months.
Some have a string of bad years that they want to hurry past, put behind them.

Most forget to enjoy the process.

I am one of those people.
So many days are spent wishing this difficult time away.
The crunch of deadlines
the weight of my work
the start of my company
the space I am not afforded
the space I don't allow myself to take.

I forget to enjoy the process.

Because the process feels like the minutia.
It feels like the part we slug our way through to get to happier moments, times, events.
We want to move past the process of life.

The process of slowly moving through a store so your little one can look at every single toy and wish.
The process of washing the dishes and having your puppy at your feet.
The process of doing homework and watching how much they have grown.
The process of bath time and how small they look all wet.
The process of laundry and watching how big their clothes are getting.
The process of grocery shopping and how excited the whole family gets around food.
The process of cleaning and cooking and being.
The process of living as one, as a unit, as a team.
The process that is life.

I forget to enjoy the process.

I rush to check it off my list
I hurry through the parts I feel are sluggish and slow me down.
I want the last six weeks behind me, I want to move on.
I want the next five weeks to be done so that I can start to feel settled.

I forget to enjoy the process.

I forget that I am wishing my life away.
The life I wanted, asked for.
The one I actually love.
The one I allow to get too loud, too busy, too chaotic.

And what I end up doing instead is forgetting to enjoy all of the processes of life.

I will work on me more so that I can work on this.
I will allow more space and balance so I can breathe.
I will allow myself to be a part of the process a part of this life.
I belong with all of you doing all of this.

12
Nov

Parenting

I think by now you know I don't have most of the answers.
I, like every single person that is a parent, am trying my best.
The curve balls you bring, the constant questions are all almost impossible to answer.
Most frightening, a situation I never saw coming.
How am I going to react to that? I think most days.
What should I say?
For real though, how I respond to this matters because they are going to remember my response.
When they are grown, they are going to tell someone this story and I am either going to nail it or suck...for kids, there is no in between for parents.
Because it is not until you are one, that you realize, we are all just trying.

But, in the quiet light of day, I can think of all of the things I want to teach you.
All of the lessons I want you to walk away from us having.
So this right here is my little list for you...without any feedback or questions as to why or how...here is what I hope you hold on to as you do you.

You are not going to be liked by everyone. That is more than ok. You are not going to like everyone and that too, is more than ok. Part of this journey is finding out who gives you energy and who takes it. Most of your life will be figuring people out, their intentions, yours. Being kind to all does not mean all end up in your circle. Walking away from unhealthy anything, including people, is always the right thing to do.

Work hard like me and smart like dad. Not for any other reason other than to make yourself proud. I can't promise you it will lead to success or money or good anything. I can't so I won't. But, I promise you that the best feeling I ever have is feeling good about myself. Proud of my work, my accomplishments, what I overcame, who I am, and most importantly, I am proud of those I allow in to my circle (this is clearly important to me). I am proud of the fact that I became a mom, I am so amazed I get to mother you, you make me proud of me.

Chaos and mess lead to clutter in your mind. I know, I am type A. I know I have a way the house needs to look, I know it is my calm. But here's something dad won't share with you because it means he has to keep up with it without reminders...order makes us all calm. I swear it, I promise. A made bed makes us all feel better, a clean floor and clean counters give us space to breathe and allow us to think. Clutter and too much stuff takes away space, it adds clutter to your mind and makes it hard for all of us to think. It's easier to toss and walk away, it's easier to not put a thing away, it's easier to get up and go, but in the end, it is always harder. It is harder to clean up big messes than small. It is harder to think in that mess, it is harder to even know where to begin so start and end each day with a once over. Keep up with the little messes.

Play sports and learn to be a good teammate. It will teach you about showing up and having others count on you. It will teach you how to rely on others. It will teach you to move your body and feel good about that. It will teach you to feel a part of something bigger than you. And speaking of your body, be so good to you. Don't push it too hard too young, be gentle be kind, be loving. There will come a day you might want to change every single thing about yourself and know that none of that is true. Your body needs you and your spirit.

Everything will matter to you and being mature means only the important things matter. The quicker you learn that the little things like who invited who to a party, or who was wearing what, or who said what, the better for you and you alone. Do what is good for you and you alone when it comes to the little things. Get so comfortable in who you are and know that of course you will change and grow, but at your core, you stay the same. What should matter to you is taking care of yourself, being kind to others, falling in love with learning, none of that should ever change. Come to realize that you are loved and that real relationships does not mean a ton of relationships. Always find genuine in your life and normally that means intimate, which means small. Be comfortable with you and know that your foundation, your home base, we are right here. You are honestly never ever alone. We could not love you more or less.

Taking care of others is just what we do. Notice how I give those who don't have a home food whenever I pass them. Remember our random acts of kindness. Remember that we are a family that is dedicated to taking care. People matter guys, making people feel accepted matters.

I don't know what social media will be when you are older, I don't know if it was an explosion for me in my 20s and by the time you are a teenager it will be over but I really don't think so. Be better than that. Be better than being addicted to someone else's dinner and plans and fake life. Use it for connections but make sure it is not replacing actual people.

You are going to make a lot of mistakes. I did make a lot of mistakes and I continue to make a lot of mistakes. That's fine, that's life, that's human. Always take responsibility. Always say sorry, always learn from them and try as hard as you can to not repeat them. Do not shift blame to anyone, own it, stare it in the eye, use your courage to apologize and mean it.

Be brave sweet children. I swear to God, if I ever see you back away or back down from something because you are scared I will find you, I will grab you by the shoulders and I will shake you. Please remember that your mom was scared every damn day of her life. She could hardly breathe from the amount of panic. I always feel like I will fail, I will lose, I will not be enough. I am not kidding about this, every day, in all decisions. But, I try and if I ever see you not trying, I will find you. If I am no longer walking this earth, I will haunt you. Do you understand how important this is to me? I showed you every second of my life that even though I'm scared, I try and you will too.

One day, you are going to define your family. Be loyal to whomever that is, put them as your only priority. Don't take them for granted. Don't walk away from them, don't make anything else more important.

In case I don't make all of these things obvious in my day to day, I promise I will continue to try. Because that is the best we all can do, try.

15
Oct

Without the loud, there would be no laughter

I sometimes sit and wonder how I got here.
A woman who was terrified to take on parenthood, marriage, being responsible for raising little faces.
Being responsible for their responsibility in this world, in our community.
And of course I know how.
I met a boy who called me out of my fear and allowed me to feel safe enough to fail,
to cry,
to worry,
to laugh,
to let go,
to hold on,
to not be able to move on.

And there are more moments of hard than there are of easy.
That's the truth.
The truth is that parenting is so hard.
So difficult
So exhausting,
so altering,
so life changing,
so so difficult.
On you,
and your marriage,
and your sanity,
and your body,
and your house,
and your pets,
and your love,
and your patience.

Without the loud, there would be no laughter...

So yes, there are times I want out.
There are times we all want out.
There are times I think how can I dislike someone I love this much.
How is it possible to be this angry at something so small
or someone I have felt like I have always known?
There are times when the loud hurts.
It physically hurts my body
my head
it hurts my hair even.
As you get older, it gets louder.

Without the loud, there would be no laughter...

Parenting, it is heavy.
You are holding people up.
You physically and emotionally carry them.

This week, a member of my framily wrote to remind me that pain and tragedy and heartache happen all day everyday and we are just a victim to it.
They happen out of our control and all around us.
But joy, that can't be an accident that we wait for.
Joy has to be created and on purpose.
Joy has to be brought out.
You have to be reminded of joy and when you are not, you have to be the joy.

Without the loud, there would be no laughter...

I have to be reminded that joy is in the loud.
That without the loud, I wouldn't hear your gut laugh.
Without the loud, I wouldn't hear your childhood.
Without the loud, I wouldn't be surrounded by your joy.
Because joy for you is loud.

Joy for you is running and chasing and being chased.
Joy for you is shrills and screams and tickling fights.
Joy for you is loud.

I fiercely protect childhood
I protect yours
I protect mine
I protect those I serve
I protect childhood at every turn.
And with that, I have to let your childhood unfold
and let the loud in.

Without the loud, there would be no laughter...

8
Oct

Beauty

Dear Anna:

Growing up, I never thought I had an ounce of beauty.
I always judged myself,
my decisions
my looks
my walk
my words
my mind
hard.
I starting running at the age of 8, not because I loved to run,
but because I wanted to lose weight.
I never accepted a compliment.
I always put myself down.
And then, I met you.

There was a day when you and I finally connected and we became mother and daughter.
I remember it so clearly, you were fresh out of a bath, it was just you and I home.
I decided to snap a few pictures of you and put you down on a couch and pulled out an actual camera.
I started saying your name, trying to grab your attention and you recognized my voice.
You melted when you heard it and you looked at me, with such warmth, such love, such beauty.
You looked at me like a daughter should look at her mother, telling me, we've got this mom, you and me, we're in this together.
I felt beautiful because I was loved by you.
I felt beautiful because I was in love with you.

Dear Cole:
I was never a lover of love.
I didn't trust enough.
I didn't think people really cared because there was a lot of letting me down.
I didn't think that love could be so raw, so emotional so naked.
Until I met you.

The moment I held you, you were mine.
There is no way to explain it other than using the cliche of they slipped you into my arms and heart.
You are my one and only love at first sight.
You were full of so much new and wonder and wonderful.
You would look around the room and take it all in because every part was amazing to you.
Including me.
The moment our eyes met, they locked.
You looked at me with instant recognition and you looked at me like you knew we will have each other to count on.
You looked at me like you needed me because you did, but I needed you too.
You looked at me the way a son should look at his mother, telling me, we've got this mom, you and me, we're in this together.
I felt beautiful because I was loved by you.
I felt beautiful because I was in love with you.

My body looks, feels, and acts differently.
I am a shell of who I once was.
Because once upon a time, I was younger and young.
I was new too even though I always felt old.
I was smooth and I didn't have wrinkles and stuff didn't droop.
I was in charge and I was empty.
But I didn't like that girl that much.
I didn't appreciate her, I didn't know she was strong.
And instead, I focused on her anger.
I focused on all that was wrong, all I would change, all I wanted to change.
Until I met you coach.
And you told me she was good, she was worth it, she was able to be happy, it was ok if she was happy.

Now, this woman, I can appreciate.
I appreciate her for carrying two hearts, twice.
I appreciate her for pacing with sick babies.
I appreciate her for giving all of her and then coming back around to self-care.
I appreciate her for finding the room to breathe.
I appreciate her for taking time for her, finding her again in the fog of mothering.
I appreciate her legs for being able to run.
I appreciate her heart for being able to love.
I appreciate her soul for shining light outward.
I appreciate her stomach for stretching and molding.
I appreciate her arms for holding everyone up.
I appreciate her words for she picks them carefully.
I appreciate her beauty because she finally found it.
In the mix of all this confusion and chaos and fog and tired, she was able to find glory and grace.

24
Sep

Blankets

...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

Blankets are my security.
They are my go-to for snuggles and comfort and warmth and feeling secure.
Bad day? I wrap a blanket around myself and settle in.
Having a crisis? The warmth of a blanket can make it all feel ok.
Bad breakup? The comfort of a blanket feels like loving arms.
Feeling sick? Blankets make you feel instantly warmer, getting better.
I have blankets all over my house.
Extra ones hiding in all sorts of places.
At night, I need to feel the weight of a blanket on me, keeping me tucked in.
Blankets have always been important to me.
They are significant, they have meaning in my world.

...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

When I went away to college, my experience wasn't "normal".
I left home and went to college.
I left behind a family
a house
a familiar surrounding
a situation
and a life.
A life I knew, even if I wasn't in love with it, even if it wasn't the one I wanted, it was all that I knew.
And I landed in a college that felt like a warm blanket around me.
It's how I always describe my college, my experience there.
I felt taken care of and comforted, it felt familiar, homey.
And for a girl that was stepping into fear, she needed this comfort.
And for a woman that would continue to walk through fear, I continue to use blankets for protection.

...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

When I met my person, it was so easy between us.
I instantly felt safe, I felt his joy, and that too covered me in warmth and comfort.
He felt like the most amazing blanket, keeping me protected from the darkness.
He was my light, my warmth, my security.
And I knew, right away, he was it.
He always kept me warm, always kept safe, always kept me feeling perfectly covered.
He was my blanket.

Because wrapped up in a blanket, I feel loved, I feel calm, I feel good about my life.
I feel taken care of, I feel nurtured.
I feel like I can concentrate on the moment.
I am here, not rushing off to a million places, I am here.

And then last week a friend told me about a book he was reading and how a quote hit him hard...
...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

Because now, I am that blanket for others.
I am the one who is covering you up in love, in security, in safe.
But, no parent can cover it all.
Even though I work so hard on intentionality with my kids.
Especially since they have hit school years and I feel like important memories and words are sticking, it's more and more important that I am not reacting to them.
That I am not white on rice with them.
That I am listening more than speaking.
That I am answering questions honestly.
That I am there, really present with them.

...being a parent feels like you are a small blanket, you just can't cover it all.

But, days get long.
Patience runs out.
It feels like nothing is getting done
and you just can't cover it all.

You can't be everywhere.
You can't be everything.
You can't do everything.
You can't always be kind.
You can't always speak with intention.
The blanket is too small and something, someone, is being left out in the cold.

But, not to them.
They don't think that I am stretched too thin.
Because even if I'm too small for me, I am still the biggest most comforting blanket for you.
I am who you want when you are cold
sad
lonely
bored
scarred
worried
sick.
I am your warmth and comfort and protection from the cold.

No matter how small I feel, you see me as able, enough.
You see me as heavy and sturdy and strong enough to continue to stretch from corner to corner.
You never feel I am not covering every corner.
I am the one now wrapping you in comfort.
I have become a blanket for your life.

And just like dad is for me, I always will be the warmth and comfort you need.

17
Sep

You're the best thing I did

From the outside looking in, or even from the inside looking right at us, it seems as though there are times I question my decision.
I know I get stressed too easily.
I know I am distracted and my lists take over.
I know that I'm not the parent that plays, I don't have an imagination to tap into.
But you, both of you, you were wanted.
You were planned for and desired and needed.
You are the best decision we made, I made.
And you're the best thing I did.

I question most of what I do.
Most of my decisions I play back and forth in my mind.
Most of my final decisions I worry about.
And I worry about you both too, of course I do.
I worry I am making the right decisions for you.
I worry that I am crushing happy.
I worry about your happiness.
But, I don't question for even one second that this is what I am supposed to be doing.
I question my parenting, yes.
I don't question my decision to have you both.
Because you're the best thing I did.

I realize there are days when you question my loyalty.
You question if I am on your side.
There are so many moments of exhaustion and deflated emotions from both of us, ones I am so not proud of.
but you, you are what I am most proud of.
You are my pride you are the best people that I know.
And even when you think I am not being fair, when you don't quite understand the why,
I promise my only intention is to keep you being you.
My only thought is building you, supporting you.
But to support something, someone else, it's a heavy load to carry.
But none of that matters, because you're here.
And not only did we decide to burst open our heart to have you here but, you're the best thing I did.

It won't always be this way.
We won't always be together like this.
Success is measured by you being on your own.
I promise I know that and I know that one day all too soon, you do just you.
And then I go back to me, us, without you.
It's hard to imagine for all of us right now.
It's hard to picture this time, but it's coming.
I don't know how I will be, I don't know how to explain how it will feel.
I can remember life without you, I peak inside that different world from time to time.
I miss that world too so the thought of going back to it has perks.
Because there was a time when a boy and a girl met and life was too easy.
And I don't know if we can ever get back there or if creating this experience means nothing will ever be the same.
But, how to stop being around you like this, I don't know how yet.
They say we will grow into it together and I have to trust that.
I have to trust that I will feel good about no longer seeing the day in and out of the best thing I did.

So on the days that the lists don't get completed.
On the days the laundry piles up for both of us.
On the days that the house projects have to take a back seat.
On the days that a deadline has to be rearranged.
On the days that we bail on life and spend it together
know that this overworked, overstressed and tired mother is spending time doing what she loves the most.
Being embraced by love from the very best thing she did.

10
Sep

These two

There are relationships that stop you in your tracks.
They make you stop breathing for a moment.
They reawaken something in you.
But they also level you, they make you worry, they cause you heartbreak.
They define love.
Like these two...

There are relationships that make you realize this is how it should always be.
They make you cry by looking at them.
They make you swoon.
They make you focus on what is important because they make you focus on only what is important.
They are filled with heroes and feeling secure.
They make you strong by taking away all of your powers.
They bring light back into dark days.
Like these two...

There are relationships that start of easy, comfortable.
They are how you would define family.
They are filled with joy and ease and comfort.
They are cozy and joyous.
They grow, they change, they face challenges, they suffer, they struggle, they evolve, they find each other again.
Like these two...

There are relationships that start off new.
They are so new you don't know what to do.
They are so fresh, they have so many possibilities.
They are filled with "I wonders".
They are loaded with questions.
They start you on a journey, one you will never be ready for.
Like these two...

And they evolve and change too.
They become roller coasters.
They are scary at times, they are comfort most times, they are wonderful.
They become song and dances, there is a familiar rhythm to their flow.
They are real.
Like these two...

And then there are ones that explode.
They have so many emotions you cannot contain them.
They are tantrums and gushes.
They are sweet and gentle, they are chaos, they are crazed.
They are erupting with feelings.
They burst you open.
Like these two...

There are relationships you wait for.
Ones you never realized you needed.
They are the ones that know all of you, your whole story.
They are the ones you will fall back on
they are the relationships you count on.
Like these two

There are relationships that are filled with history.
They have traditions and important meaning.
They are what you call home, what you look forward to.
All relationships serve a purpose.
All come with meaning.
All walk on your heart, all leave their mark.
Some are deep and leave scars.
Like us...

4
Sep

All you want...

...is us.

Play with me.
Color with me.
Read to me.
I want to go with you.
Snuggle me.
Stay with me.
Can you just be here?
Can we have a date?
Can I go running with you?

All you want...is us.

This summer, we took a once in a lifetime family vacation.
Your favorite parts: being in the pool as a family.
Sleeping in the hotel, because you each got to sleep with us.
Just time with us is all you need to fill your bucket.
You would whisper things to me like
"I love talking to you and I promise I always will"
"I love you mommy, I love being with you"
"this is the best vacation ever, we're all together!"

Since we have been home, all you want, is us.
Playing with us.
Snuggles with us.
Board games with us.
Reading dates.
All you want...is us.
Time with us
all of us with you all of you.
Us.
Just us.

Our trips to the Cape, you love the togetherness of it all.
You love how crammed and cramped we all are, because we are all together.
You love sharing the space.
You love how cozy it is.
You love how you all pile up on a coach.
You love being, with us.
All you want, is us.

And yes, there are moments when the attention and time are almost too much.
I get tired
days are long
but this needed time
this need for just me
take me as I am me
it's incredible.
It's what I will miss the most of this small window we all have.
That out of anyone out there, you have always accepted me.
As I am
crazy and all
tired
never put together
forever wanting pjs
forever wanting cozy
the woman that doesn't know how to dress
the woman that doesn't do her hair
the one that doesn't know how to apply makeup
the one that needs peace and calm
the one that finds that calm in routine and clean
stressed and crazed
hurried and impatient
me.

You love the real me
you see me as I see the real you.
You look beyond all of the flaws and you find the me you love.
And you don't really want anything from me,
you just want me.
Not distracted
not angry
not always tired
but happy to be with you too
me.

You slow me down.
You make me realize what is important.
Because how do I say no to being with you?
How do I look at a little face and say no, I can't help you.
No, I can't be with you.
No, what I am doing is more important, than you.
You are my reminder that time is fleeting.
You are my reminder that time is precious.
You are my reminder that all we will ever need, is us.

30
Jul

When you're not looking

It is when we are paying the most attention.
We sneak into rooms to see you play.
We creep up to watch you interact with friends, each other, watch your imagination.
We quietly enter classrooms and get a glimpse of you in your world.
We sneak into your room to watch you sleep.
When you're not looking, we have so much attention on you.

And this is one of the many secrets that parents keep.
It is that we spend so much time just gazing at you.
From the moment you were born, we could not keep our eyes off of you.
So many months of holding you and looking at you with wonder.
So many months of chest to chest contact, that closeness that is so new, so amazing.
Watching you in the tub as the relaxation spread through your body.
Watching you as you fed
and mostly as you slept.
How I still brush your hair away
how I still snuggle in and breathe your air
how I still whisper to you and how you now whisper back.
You won't remember the first few years that changed us forever
they are all my memories that I get to share with you.
And even now, you have no idea how much time I spend in awe of you, just watching.
How I can't look away because when you're not looking is when you are being you.
Not for attention
not for admiration
you are being you.

There are so many moments that the sight of you takes my breath away.
Because overnight you grew.
Because I still think of you as babies
because I remember all too well the feeling of you resting in my belly
because that first year of wondrous you was yesterday not years and years ago
because the day you were born was another way that my heart walked around outside of my body
and now, when you're not looking, I can't turn away.
That's my heart and I can't look away.

So, when you're not looking is when I am.
When you are deep in a moment, caught up in you, that's when I get a glance into your life as you define it.
We love these moments, this precious door you open, when you're not looking.

14
May

Simple letter of love

My Mother's Day letter of love...
take 3.

I love how independent you are becoming.
I love watching you pour your own cereal.
I love that we are still needed but just in time and love.
I love seeing you at school, so loving, so caring, so attentive.
I love hearing about your day and the crazy telephone game it becomes.
I love our summers and how many memories we make.
I love that you love our new doggy. I love that she is important to you.
I love that we healed enough to open up our homes to Pearl, I love that we still love and think of Mia.
I love that Cole still comes to plant himself in the middle of us during a hug.
I love that they both get nervous when we fight and want it to end, I love that we end it for them.
I love that small is still important in our house right now.
I love that I am really taking it all in, just how fleeting time is.
I love every single tradition, every single one.
I love that you love them too, every last one.
PJs and out of a bath are still my favorite, that smell, that clean, that cozy.
I love that you are beginning to look like me.
I love watching you be and play and childhood come alive outside.
I love that our goodnights are still magic.
I love love love to watch you both sleep.
I love to grab your hand, push away your hair.
I love the feel, the smell, how time stops as we inhale and exhale together.
I love our DEAR time. I love digging into a good book with you, warm by the fire and watching you love your book too. I love that we aren't distracted, my phone is away. This is our time, our end to the crazy of our day.
I love all of the cards, the letters the pictures.
I love getting ice cream for dinner, I love seeing you be a kid in the best way.
I love every picture we have hanging of you, of us. I love seeing and feeling that moment in time.

I love you both.

You have given me these gifts loves you have filled me so full.

Dear Anna,
This year, you started down a path of maturity.
And you are working hard on finding you.
Even in the middle of all of your friends, staying true to you.
I will continue to drive that message home because you are the best you I know and I cannot have you change.
Not for silly
not for them
not for any one person.
Grow, develop, have fun, laugh out loud, all of it, but always and forever be you, you are the best you I know.
This is your gift to the world sweets, your kind loving heart.
And I need it to shine so everyone can see it, to shine across your face to see the love and light you hold.

This year, you gave me the gift of one on one talks.
You are opening up to me more and we even started a journal together.
This year, your gift has been the gift of getting to know you as you are getting to know yourself.
And I love our time.

Dear Cole,
This year, you started down a path of amazing.
You hit four and it all fell into place.
Your crying, your screaming, your tantrums all gave way and in their place became my little man.
The one I knew was in there.
The happy little boy.
The gentle soul.
The calm, the storm, the loud, the crazy, the happy wonderful you.

This year, your gave me the gift of you.
Wonderful, amazing loving you.
This year, you reminded me how important it is to love love.
How important it is to be a good and wonderful friend.
How important it is to go on a goodbye tour when you leave friends and leave them feeling wonderful.
This year, you gifted me your heart.

Thank you both for all 365 days of the past year.
The wonderful, the awful, the beautiful and the ugly.
Thank you for your patience as I cried and cried over Mia.
Thank you for your hugs of understanding.
Thank you for do overs and starting again.
Thank you for words instead of tears.
Thank you for still holding my hand.
Thank you for still kissing noses.
Thank you for allowing me to carry your heart and eat you up.

Thank you for the best parts of you, thank you for finding me to mother you.
You have given me a life I never knew I always needed and wanted.
You have given me a title I will hold close and protect.
You have given me my smile.
You have given me family.

And as always...
to the little girl that made me believe in happily ever after
and the little boy that was my one and only love at first sight
I love and adore you
.

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