Difficult Love Lessons– A Story of Yes and No

Difficult Love Lessons– A Story of Yes and No

One day last week my daughter, Arayla (14) was out riding her horse at the stables, when suddenly I received a text from her with a photo of a tiny little brown bunny, cupped sweetly in her hands.

The text read: “I rescued a baby bunny. Can I keep him?”

I responded: “Awww…so cute. No, my love. I think he needs to go home to his mom.”  

She wrote back: “But a cat attacked him. He’ll die in the wild.”

I replied: “Oh no! Poor guy. I wonder where you could bring him to keep him safe? Maybe you could google local wild-life rescue shelters? He can’t live with us, my love.”

I could see the writing on the wall on this one, and intuitively I was guided to be firm.

She wrote back: “Yeah, ok.”     And that was the last I heard.

Side note—(lest you confuse me for just another mean, bunny-refusing mom ;-)) : When the children were small, over a stretch of many years, I believe we went through about 12 bunnies total. Yes, you heard me: 12.

Oh, there was Buddha and Quan Yin, Poseidon and Luna, Buttercup, YeMaya and Sunshine… just to name a few. We had a wonderful rabbit hutch in our spacious backyard garden in West Sonoma County, CA.

But rabbits are delicate animals, it turns out. The slightest change in weather or digestive disturbance can end badly for a little bunny, and so we also had many rabbit funerals.

Each time, the children would lovingly wrap their dead bunny in some old, soft t-shirt and flower petals, then tearfully dig yet another hole in the backyard dirt with their small metal shovels, before lowering the body of their bunny into the earth. I remember them improvising funeral songs and naming their gratitude for these sweet, sensitive friends.

At one point, when the kids decided they felt guilty about keeping their bunnies enclosed in such a small space, we tried “free-ranging” them in our back yard. I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear this eventually culminated in nourishing the local owl and fox families. 

When the kids got old enough to hold more responsibility, I was thrilled we could graduate from pet bunnies and move on to having a dog. And just 7 months ago, I made the huge decision to support my passionate and gifted equestrian daughter in rescuing a 6-year-old retired race-horse; a gentle giant with tremendous promise—a horse of her own to love and learn from and grow with. (But that is a story for another blog post!) 

And so you might say that my, “No, you may not keep the tiny, injured baby bunny” was a somewhat informed stance, particularly considering how many animal responsibilities my daughter already has.

But a couple hours later, when I drove to pick up Arayla from the barn, the first thing I saw was a cluster of teenage horse-girls, all standing together in a line like a small army of maidens. Arayla stood in the center of the line, and it appeared they were explicitly waiting for my arrival.

Oh boy here it comes, I thought to myself.

I had barely finished parking before the group of eager, gangly, long-limbed girls all rushed to the side of my car. They were glowing with unified purpose and camaraderie. As I opened the car door, Arayla rushed in close, carefully revealing to me in her hands the tiniest, furriest, most appealing little baby bunny that ever existed. Oh my. 

My daughter’s eyes were awash with soft, sentimental love.

She said formally: “Mama, we’d like to introduce you to Biscuit.” 

I smiled at her meekly, asking, “Oh—you named him?”

Arayla backed up and quickly reclaimed her spot in the center of the band of maidens.

One by one they each came forward then, with their carefully formulated argument for why the only right choice was for all of them to “co-parent” baby Biscuit, and nurse him back to health until he was big and strong enough to be released back into the wild.

Each girl was so uniquely determined, eloquent in her stance, and confident in her commitment. They had every detail covered—from housing for the bunny, to research of what a tiny, wild baby bunny needs, to a solid plan for how to equally share the cost of food.

Arayla’s eyes looked at me pleadingly.  She said, “Please, Mama? We’ll take care of everything ourselves…?”

I mean—what could I do? They were all so darn adorable and impressive. I couldn’t help but recognize it was a wonderful opportunity for them to stretch into collaborative responsibility. What a perfect Summer project for a group of young teen girls. 

So I took a deep breath as I smiled at them. And then I acquiesced: “Okay girls, I’m in…”

The girls jumped up and down, squealing joyously, hugging each other ceremoniously.

For two days the baby Biscuit rescue saga continued.

The first co-parenting shift was happening at Arayla’s house, and so the girls came to visit him, taking turns feeding him special milk with a syringe, carefully tracking and charting his poop and pee to make sure he was healing. 

Arayla’s brother Ezra (10) fell in love with the baby bunny too, of course.

I watched my beautiful daughter rushing around the house with diligent focus, carefully tending to the needs of this small, utterly dependent animal. I appreciated how fully she was rising to the task. 

All signs pointed to Biscuit’s growing strength and health! He started jumping around joyously, kicking up his tiny bunny hooves, as he revealed a definite love for snuggling.

On the third day, however, things suddenly took a turn for the worse. 

I was busy working with long-distance healing clients that day, and in between appointments Arayla asked if I could drive her to one of the other girl’s houses. She had baby Biscuit wrapped in a little cloth, tucked warm in her hands. As we drove, she anxiously explained to me that all did not seem well with him, and she was hoping her friend would know what to do.

About an hour later, I received a text: “He’s dying, Mom.”

I texted back: “Oh my Love. I’m so sorry. How can I help?”

No response.

About twenty minutes later, I got the text: “He died. We’re gonna bury him.”

Soon after, Arayla got a ride home. The moment she walked in the door she broke into deep sobs of heartbroken grief. She wailed loudly and crumbled to the ground. I wrapped my arms around her, and her brother came rushing out from his bedroom and wrapped his arms around her too.

We just held her close as she cried and cried.

I was impressed by how deeply and fully she grieved. She was definitely not holding anything back. In fact I noted that it seemed she was grieving the loss of this little wild bunny more passionately than any of her pet bunnies she’d had as a little girl.

That night she fell asleep crying in my arms. In between sobs, she said things like, “I’m just so disappointed, Mom. I was invested. I loved him. I feel so defeated now. So purposeless. I was saving him. I was giving him another chance.”

The next day she was still clearly feeling the loss, but showed signs of resilience, laughing again and playing robustly with her brother.

The following evening I was resting quietly in my bedroom when both kids suddenly appeared in my room with an air of uncharacteristic tentativeness.

Immediately suspicious, I said, “Uh-oh…What is it?”

“Oh nothing, Mama,” Arayla replied cheerily with innocence, “We just wanted to talk to you about something.”

Ezra nodded in agreement, beaming by her side.

The dynamics were obvious. Arayla was clearly up to something and had enrolled her little brother as her devoted side-kick and back-up.

“Ok…?” I responded, somewhat skeptical.   I sat up on my bed and faced them: “Let’s hear it.” 

Slowly Arayla pulled out a folded-up piece of paper from the back of her jeans. She said, “Now don’t answer right away, okay Mom? Just stay open. Just listen to my perspective.”

I took a deep breath, and replied, “Ok, you got it. I’m listening openly.”

Ezra nodded at me, as he coached: “Good job, Mom.”

I couldn’t help but giggle at his cuteness. He was perfectly fulfilling his role as her ally.

Carefully referring to her handwritten notes, Arayla then began to make a case for getting a new pet baby bunny.

She explained how loving Biscuit had made her realize how much she really loves bunnies and misses caring for them. She had made a small financial spread sheet based on the costs entailed, and explained how her Summer job would contribute to these costs.

My heart softened, as I opened to receive her proposal. It was easy to see how this was another way for her to process her raw grief about the little bunny she’d lost.

As I listened to her diligent display of all the relevant points, intuitively I could tell she already knew the answer had to be No.

Just as she had assigned Ezra the role of devoted side-kick in her process, she had also assigned me a role—of holding a clear line of discernment for her. 

As the kids began to feel my answer arising, Ezra took a noble stand on behalf of his sister. He pleaded fiercely: “Mom, she worked so hard on this. She really wants to do this, Mom. And I’ll help her. I really will.” He stood resolutely by Arayla’s side. 

I smiled at them tenderly.

I said, “I really appreciate and respect how you looked into this possibility. And I really get how much you loved Biscuit and how losing him made you naturally want another chance. I’m sure once you’re a grown woman you’ll have all sorts of animals in your home. But I just don’t see how this would be a wise choice for us at this time, given all the other pieces we are juggling. I’m sorry.”

Arayla’s face fell, and started to break with emotion. Clearly upset, she turned on her heel to go. Ezra, her loyal ally, frowned at me with sharp disapproval, before also turning and leaving the room. 

Alone in my bedroom once again, I sighed and pondered this wild play of relationship and the various roles we are given to uphold in our committed love for one another.

What an honor it is—how we get to show up in these temporary lifetimes and steward one another in skills of openness and flexibility, discernment and surrender; lessons of yes and no, attachment and investment, disappointment and forgiveness.

The next morning, first thing upon opening my eyes, I noticed my daughter waiting by the side of my bed.

I gently scooted over to make room for her beside me, and she jumped in, letting me spoon her sweetly, as she pulled my arm tightly around her to hold her close. We lay there quietly together for some time, just breathing in the treasure of morning quiet.

Finally she whispered with an air of precious humility, “Thanks Mom. Thanks for being my mom.”

I smiled softly and squeezed her and nuzzled her precious little bunny head. 

I said, “I really love being your mom.” <3













































“You Don’t Have To Be Good”

“You Don’t Have To Be Good”

Single working parenthood has gotten the intimidating reputation that it has because it’s no joke. I mean, obviously any form of parenting is quite the rigorous task. And married or partnered parenting certainly brings its own set of fierce and complex challenges; I remember well.

But single parenting can be a particularly sobering, humbling shitload to juggle—requiring a tremendous amount of ongoing self-compassion, resilience, humor, and devotion.

And sometimes, no matter how much we might wish or will it otherwise—our stress and exhaustion, hormones and triggers can get the better of our parenting. We make painful mistakes with our children, and then get to work with remorse and the blessed opportunity for repair inspired by those mistakes.

One recent evening, I invited my children to join me at our living room altar. They came willingly—open and curious. “What’s up, Mom?” Arayla (14) asked, plopping herself down on the copper-colored meditation cushion to my right. I patted the other empty cushion to my left, motioning to Ezra, as I replied, “I just want us all to have a chance to sit together and share a bit.” Ezra (10) planted his bottom dramatically on the cushion beside me, exhaling deeply.

We all faced the altar. I sat in the middle, between them, and carefully lit the center pillar candle, and the two candles beside it. Everyone was quiet. Then I lit the small bundle of cedar in our abalone shell, letting the sacred smoke cleanse my body, mind and heart before handing the shell to Arayla, who did the same, before reaching around me to hand it to her brother.

After a moment I took a deep breath, and vulnerably shared, “I just want to acknowledge that I’ve clearly been carrying some extra stress lately, my Loves. And I know there have been moments when that stress has leaked out onto you both, through my voice and my energy; moments when I’ve lost my center and my temper.”

They both nodded quietly, listening with presence.

I continued, “And I know I already apologized in the moment, but it’s been weighing heavy on my heart—those moments when I fail to live as love with you. And so I just wanted to say again how sorry I am for any and all of those ways that my energy has felt abrasive to you, or for the moments when my words have been reactive and sharp. I always want to be so skillful and graceful with you, and I’m sorely aware of the ways I fall short.”

I picked up the lighter and burned some more cedar, offering it to Spirit, acknowledging the power in my own prayer.

The kids were quiet, just taking this in. Then Arayla placed her hand on my thigh, and with compassion responded, “Oh Mama, Thank you. And it’s okay, really. You’re holding a lot. I’m sorry we stress you out sometimes! I’m sorry for when we’re bickering and driving you crazy. And thank you for everything you’re giving. Thank you for everything you do for us all the time.”

Then Ezra piped in, “Yeah, Mom, thanks for everything you do for us. And…. I’m sorry for my part too. Like the mess I left in the kitchen yesterday, and for forgetting my homework and my lunch twice this week! And for, you know…when I don’t listen.” His shoulders slumped down, clearly feeling his own remorse of shortcoming.

I smiled at him tenderly and pulled him close. “Thank you, and it’s okay. We are all growing.”

I made eye contact with Arayla, feeling the simple grace of forgiveness flowing between us. I took another breath, and continued, “There’s something else I wanted to say, perhaps especially to you, Ezra.”

He turned to me, looking straight into my eyes, asking, “Yeah, what is it?”

I shifted my position back a little, so we could all see each other. I chose my words deliberately, “I’ve been noticing lately that you’ve been working extra hard to be so helpful around the house, Ezra. You’ve been helping out with cleaning, and taking out the garbage and recycling without being asked, and you’ve been setting the table, and taking out Freya in the morning. So many ways you’ve been really showing up as such a helpful member of our family.” Ezra’s face brightened and his golden chest lifted proudly.

I continued, “And I’ve been praising you every time, haven’t I, and letting you know how wonderful it is to feel your support?” Ezra nodded happily in agreement.

I glanced over at his sister, who raised her eyebrows at me, curious about where this was going. Then I turned and looked deeply into Ezra’s eyes, and slowly, with power behind my words, I said to him, “I just want to make sure you know that you don’t have to be good in order to be loved.”

The room got extra quiet.

I looked back and forth between them, as I continued, “You don’t have to be helpful, or act in a certain way, in order to secure my love.” I paused, to see how this was landing.

Ezra said quickly, “Oh I know Mom, it just feels really good to show up! I like it.”

I nodded in understanding, and then added, “Hey, helpful behavior is a wonderful skill to have in life. It DOES feel good to show up. It’s so important to find meaningful ways of contributing to one another and to our home and to our world, in all the ways we can. And it’s very important in a family that all the work doesn’t fall upon one person.”

I looked at both of the kids, beaming, as I accentuated, “Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE your help. It’s awesome and necessary! Please don’t stop.”

Ezra giggled a little to feel how excited I get about receiving support.

I continued, “BUT I just want to make sure you know that you don’t have to be good. It’s not your job to be good in life. What you give, and what you do, and how you perform, and act—these are not the reasons I love you. Sometimes your behavior triggers me, and sometimes your behavior delights me. But my love for you is constant, having nothing to do with what you do. I love you just for your being, okay?”

I dove into Arayla’s ancient, wise-blue eyes, and echoed to her softly, “I love you just for your being, okay?”

She smiled at me, cozying up to me sweetly, as she mumbled shyly, “Okay, Mom.”

Then Ezra galumphed all of his 105 pounds of ten-year-old boy into my lap, straddling me, almost knocking me over, as he said into my ear, “You don’t have to be good all the time either, Mom. We always love you too.”

I laughed out loud at his quick reversal of the teaching.

I said, “Hmmm, are you sure about that? I thought Mamas were supposed to be good all the time? I’d certainly like to be.”

Ezra shook his head and said, “Nope. Nobody’s supposed to be good all the time Mom, not even you.”

I sighed then, resolutely, and shrugged happily, “That settles that, then.”

Sooner or later, most of us find the need to trade in being good, for simply being wholeheartedly ourselves.

Do you maybe wish to burn some holy cedar now, and truly apologize, and be forgiven, and once again surrender being good for being wholeheartedly yourself? I left my candles lit on my altar for you. Be my guest, my friend. Please be my guest.

Everyone Has A Role to Play

Everyone Has A Role to Play

This past Sunday evening I began heading home to Ashland after a full weekend in the Bay Area. I stopped at Harbin Hotsprings in Middletown for a few blissful hours of alternating hots and colds before getting in my car to continue North.

About 15 minutes after leaving Harbin, as I drove along the 2-lane Hwy 29, in one mesmerizing instant I witnessed an approaching car suddenly crash horrifically into the side embankment, flipping over and rolling twice before skidding to an upside-down stop just off the road.

It was a moment of profoundly heightened awareness. Everything seemed to slow way down and I noticed a powerful lucidity of presence. Filled with immense concern for the people inside the car, I immediately pulled my own car over to the side, along with a few other cars who had also witnessed the accident.

I got out of my car and stood back for a moment, leaning against my car, as I watched two men running at full-speed towards the upside-down vehicle. For maybe 10 seconds I waited, breathing and reading the situation from a short distance, trying to discern whether it was right and true for me to get involved.

Then I heard a very clear voice within my own heart, saying simply: “You have a role to play here. You are needed here.” When I heard that voice speak with such clarity, I moved quickly without hesitation towards the accident.

Two people, a young couple, were managing to crawl out from the upside-down car. There was a flurry of activity amongst the people who had all stopped to help. Someone was calling for an ambulance, someone else was determining whether or not the car might explode. I knew where my place was—right with the couple, and so I helped them to crawl as far from the car as they were able to before collapsing, and I sat down in the gravel, holding them as they were shaking and crying.

I watched as the adrenaline that had propelled them to escape from the car, gave way to deeper waves of shock and trauma.

The young man, who had been the one at the wheel, was in pretty rough shape. His face was cut up badly and bleeding profusely from several different wounds. He wept continuously, “I’m so sorry, oh God, I’m so sorry…” His girlfriend seemed relatively physically unscathed, but was experiencing extreme shock and terror, rocking, weeping hysterically, “It’s okay, it’s okay, it’s okay….”

I helped the young man to lie down, and then sat at his head, holding his head and his heart, while his girlfriend shuddered, sobbing and shaking beside me. A couple of other people pulled their cars over to help. By some incredible luck, amongst the people who pulled over, one was a firefighter and another a nurse. It was determined that the most notable physical injuries were to the young man’s face, and we decided that it was best to keep him lying still on his back while we waited for the ambulance. Someone handed me some clean rags to help stop the bleeding.

For maybe 30 minutes as we waited together for the ambulance I overheard myself speaking with supreme gentleness to this young couple.  The heart spoke so simply—powerful words of reassurance and protection, gentle words of gratitude for their lucky lives. To his constant wail of profound apology and remorse, it felt natural to acknowledge his sorryness for the accident, to remind him that accidents can serve to teach us, and to invoke a possibility of self-forgiveness.

I carefully picked shards of glass out of this young man’s hair, so acutely aware of his damp, dark curls, tenderly feeling how this was someone’s precious child in my hands. I felt the unmistakable grace and divine timing of my getting to be there; the honor of getting to hold this young couple through such a scary life moment of trauma.

All the while I simultaneously watched others moving around us, everyone doing their unique part to help. It was the most extraordinary orchestration and collaboration of human support.

Two people found a way to crawl into the car to retrieve the couple’s wallets, keys and phones. Somebody else directed traffic slowly around the accident. I could hear a woman staying on the phone with 911 to help direct the ambulance to our exact location. Yet another person helped the young woman beside me to call a couple of her relatives to let them know that they had been in an accident. I helped to hold the phone up to the young man’s ear so his sister could speak comforting words of love to him.

It’s amazing to notice how in a crisis situation, there are no strangers. We are so clearly in this together. All the socially conditioned agreements we collectively carry about how we are supposed to behave with people that we don’t know instantly fall away in a moment of crisis. What arises instead is the underlying pulse of our shared humanity, and the natural ways we can let our love and care for one another lead.

We all stayed until the ambulances, firetrucks, and paramedics came, and then it was clear my role was complete. I carefully handed them over, and stood up to walk away.

One of the men who had also been helping stopped me, taking both of my hands in his, and we shared deep eye contact for a moment, exchanging simple words of mutual gratitude, speechlessly alive together in this collision of crisis, humanity and Grace.

I waited for a pause in the traffic, and then crossed the highway back to my car. I glanced back at the scene of the accident and noticed the young man was being put onto a stretcher and carried to the ambulance.

As soon as I was back inside my car, I felt a big wave of cleansing release move through my entire body, rippling through my emotional body and nervous system… my animal body shaking it off, coughing it off. I was impressed by the efficiency with which my human so simply cleared out the pain, fear and trauma it had presenced. And that was it. I pulled back out onto the highway, and continued onward, driving the remaining 4 hours back home to my children.

There was something incredibly beautiful about this experience that has stayed with me, four days later. The simple words I heard, “You have a role to play here” have penetrated with such poignancy. It was a powerful way to be reminded—through this heightened presence invoked by crisis—that everyone carries different, yet equally necessary gifts.

Thank God for the people who know how to determine whether a car will blow up, or whether there are broken bones, or how to extract valuable objects from an upside-down vehicle, or how to actually save lives.

And since I don’t really know how to do any of those things, I’m so grateful that I do know how to sit with people in their pain and terror; how to help move the weighty burdens of shock and trauma. With all the awkwardness I feel at times in this earthly realm, how honored I am to simply be an angel here… for as long as this fleeting human life allows.

This time of being alive on our planet IS a crisis of sorts. May we notice the reality that there are no strangers, EVER, and that we are all clearly in this together. May we each hear the undeniable clarion call of the heart, announcing that we too have a role to play, and that we are absolutely needed here. 









Conception Curiosity~ A Love Story

Conception Curiosity~ A Love Story

The other day as I was driving my son Ezra (10) up to Mt. Ashland for an afternoon of snowboarding with his friends, a most astonishing conversation arose between us, one that merits being recorded and properly honored in this way I love to with written words.  

We were just driving along, slowly winding our way up the mountain, oohing and aahing together at the glorious sight of fresh powder clinging to mountain pines, firs and cedars. It was breathtakingly beautiful to perceive—this wondrous, earthy, snowy sparkle.

Suddenly Ezra turned to me, and with total sincerity he proclaimed: “I really love being in my body, Mom. Thank you.”

His words landed and resounded with precious significance.

Startled and moved by this incredible proclamation, I responded, “Oh Ezra. You really do love it, don’t you?! It’s such a beautiful thing about you, this way you love being in your body. I feel like you’ve loved it from the very first instant.”

He was quiet beside me, happily nodding in agreement.

Then he asked, with utter seriousness, “Do you remember the actual moment you conceived me, Mom?”

What a question! My thoughts went back to his conception, and I smiled at him curiously, wondering exactly where this was going.

Ezra just sat there staring at me, in total innocence, patiently awaiting my response.

So I answered, “Ummm….well, yes, actually I do! Your papa and I consciously conceived you, so we put a lot of attention and care and prayer into that powerful moment.”

Ezra  looked at me with his deep-blue soulful eyes, and asked, “What was that like for you Mom? That moment when you and Papa conceived me?”

I felt a little speechless. I let my mind wander back, remembering everything I could remember about it—from the prayers before, to the candles lit and the lovemaking, to the amazing week that followed as implantation was occurring.

As though reading my mind, Ezra suddenly said, “I mean, don’t tell me the gross parts. PLEASE. Oh God, Mom.” He put his reddening face into his hands, shaking his head, suddenly embarrassed.

I laughed heartily, gripping the steering wheel. I replied, “I definitely know what you mean Ezra, but I promise there were no ‘gross parts’ about conceiving you.”

He looked at me again, shaking off the blush, and then persisted: “But Mom. Like—what did you feel about my spirit?”

It was clear to me he was really wanting the esoteric details.

So I told him: “Well, it was actually an amazing time, my Love. In the week after Papa and I had come together to make your body with our love, I was in a meditation retreat, and so I was spending a lot of time in stillness and silence.

And what I noticed as I sat there meditating, was that there was a brand new quality of light within me; something I had never felt before. And there was a way I sort-of felt like the universe was exploding and expanding inside me. There was so much light!

And even though I couldn’t be sure yet whether I was pregnant with you, in my heart I absolutely knew. I knew that this new light I was sensing was actually YOU, and that this brilliant explosion inside me was actually your huge, starry soul creating a bond with this tiny little microscopic form growing inside me. It was the most incredible experience to welcome you into life.”

Ezra was quiet beside me, listening carefully, deep in imagining.

Then he said softly: “I can almost remember it.”

I grinned at him: “I bet you can.”

He said: “We are both such powerful spirits, Mom. No wonder that was an intense meeting!”

My eyes filled with joyous tears, just feeling the mysterious luck of it all.

I asked him: “What part can you ‘almost remember’?”

He shrugged, softly. He said, “I don’t know… I just feel like maybe I’ve known you forever? You know what I mean? Like I already knew you. So when you made my body, it was like we got to be together again, and I was happy.”

I sighed, letting my heart hopelessly burst.

Tenderly, tearfully, I said: “Yes, it felt exactly like that for me too, Ezra.”

We were nearing the entrance to the ski lodge.

I pulled over the car to let him out, collected my emotions, and offered up, “Now you get to take this incredible body you love up onto the mountain?!”

He nodded, beaming, exclaiming robustly, “YES!” He added: “Thanks for driving me here!”

Ezra got out of the car, zipped up his parka, put on his helmet, and grabbed his snowboard from the back. I watched every move he made. I was still thinking about that tiny bundle of cells made from love, joining with such an enormous star of brilliant light.

He started off, all bundled and lugging his gear, then turned back around towards me, shouting out, “I love you Mom!”

I called after him simply: “I love you! Have fun and be safe!”

But inside myself I was thinking: Thank you for choosing me. Thank you for loving your body. Thank you for your sacred curiosity, and your open receptivity. Thank you for being who you are. Thank you for this forever bond. Thank you for your life. Thank you for this Love. Thank you God. Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you.