Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Words I Never Thought I'd Say


So….

After I wrote the post where I talked about what a horrible human being my ex is and why he will probably burn eternally in hell and how I don’t like him, I realized something when I said that The Guy I have been dating, stepped up and took care of my kids while I sat in bed and cried my eyes out.

I realized that I owe him a lot more on this blog than just the dramatic trilogy detailing his crazy female friend who hates me, and I think it’s time to rectify that. Because what you don’t know, is that he has been around for over a year, and has been personally dealing with all the crazy stuff that you have seen me going through. And I have to admit, he's done a pretty swell job of holding me up every step of the way.

So why haven’t I told you that much about him?

Because it terrifies me to put myself out there and be vulnerable again. 

I've made a lot of bad decisions in my life when it comes to men. My friends and the people around me have watched me fall, and it hasn't been pretty, and it hasn't felt good. In the same way, I feel embarrassed that I’ve come on here before, all excited about someone I have been dating, only to have to come back and explain why it didn’t work out and that guy is now gone. I didn’t want to solidify another man into the pages of my safe space within this blog, that I thought I might one day want to rip from my memory.

"Maybe," I thought, "if I don’t really talk about it, it won’t be so real; because real hurts you know. When things get real, hearts get invested, and when that happens, you’ve just given someone the power to hurt you."

I don’t know how much more hurt I can take.

So here, and "in real life," I didn’t invest myself into him, not right away anyway. We dated, he asked me what we were, and I told him “humans.” The term “boyfriend,” well that’s too much pressure for me. You see labels create expectations and expectations turn into dreams and future plans and that was all just a little bit too much to handle. In my life, people leave, so let’s just not look at tomorrow, OK? Let’s just try to get through today.

He wasn’t thrilled, but he was willing to give me the time that I needed in the space that I required, and so off we went; day by day. But then suddenly all those days rolled into weeks which turned into months, and then a year, and now here we are.

Invested.


I’m invested.

And it wasn’t always easy, oh no there were rules, because not only was my heart at stake, but so were the two fragile hearts of my children; children that have already watched the man who was supposed to love them, leave them. And so there were rules, because there were little hopes that couldn’t afford to be raised, only to be broken later.

Do NOT tell them we are dating!

No touching me when they are around!

I need the kids to be around my other guy friends, sometimes without you, because I don’t want to limit all their manly interaction to just you in case our situation changes!


And he was a good sport about it.

He was even cool when the kids started asking him to marry me (as they often solicit RANDOM men, which never gets any less awkward, and also makes me wonder how desperate they think I must be).


He was understanding when I chose to spend Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas without him, even though we had been together for quite a while at that point. He knew that I was not at a place in my life where I was able, or willing, to have a possibly temporary man become a permanent part of my kids most prominent memories, and he respected that I needed the space to make lasting holiday memories for my kids, that didn’t involve another man that might not be there next year.

But not long after that, after being scared to death that the kids would find out that I was seeing someone — even though The Guy was respecting every boundary I set with such perfection that the kids still didn’t know we were dating — I did finally sit The Girl Child down and tell her the truth.


The truth is, “that mommy is dating The Guy. This doesn’t mean that he is going to be your daddy, or that he will be here forever. You have to date a lot of people before you know which one you should be with forever, and sometimes that means you get really close to someone, only to find out that they are not the person you are supposed to marry. And I know you like The Guy, but I need you to understand that mommy has a lot of things to figure out, but I promise that I will always be honest with you about what I’m thinking or planning. And if he leaves, I’m not leaving. I will never leave you, but sometimes people do need to leave, and that does not mean that anything is wrong with you, or that you did anything wrong, it just means that mommy realized that I want something better for you.”

She seemed to understand, but did I say the right thing?

Hell if I know.



Swimming at the YMCA

I’m walking a fine line between not wanting the kids to get too attached to someone who might leave, and allowing The Guy to get close enough to the kids to really know what he is getting himself into.

I’m scared to death that I’m doing it all wrong.




The Guy and I talk about this a lot, and the best that we can come up with is to model healthy dating, and hope that it’s enough. My son is still young, but my daughter is watching. She is watching me, learning from me, and what I do, I know she will do too.

This is a lot of pressure, and I’m terrified that I’m failing her.

So we are trying our best, to do the best that we can.

The Guy and I, as I’ve said before, we have set boundaries. He is involved in my kids lives, but for a really, really long time, he was not at all involved with their care. He wanted to help, and offered often, but I held tight to my "singular" parenting tactics (even when I could have REALLY used the help) because I didn’t want the kids to associate him as a father figure; my kids can’t stand to lose another “father” if things don’t work out.

In fact, when the Daddy-Daughter Dance at The Girl Child’s school rolled around last February, even though he wanted to take her, he was fully supportive when she went with my Bestie’s husband; understanding that she needs to place her “fatherly” associations on people who are never going to leave her. But for now, within the boundaries that we have set, I’ll give him credit, because he has been the best supportive role caregiver I have ever met.


The Boy Child’s surgery? He took the day off work and sat at the hospital with me so that he could get anything I needed, and I would't have to leave The Boy Child alone. The Girl Child’s high fever that wouldn’t break for days? He ran to the store at midnight for Ibuprofen, then stayed overnight and set his alarm to wake me up so that I could check on her every two hours. The Boy Child vomiting on himself, The Guy, and the carpet? He cleaned the carpet while I bathed The Boy Child, and he didn’t even flinch. The Girl Child's school musical? He cheered along with me and wanted a copy of every picture I took.

And then, as I tested the delicate transition from "supportive role" to "can you really hack this lifestyle," when I had a nonprofit event to attend not long ago, he drove The Girl Child to dance class and kept The Boy Child entertained. He then made them a gluten and dairy free dinner, brushed their teeth, and put them to bed.

I came home to find him drinking a glass of wine on the couch and holding Henry hamster.

I then died laughing because he was basically living my single mom life.

Pre-surgery

But either way, he enjoys my kids, I can tell. Not just from what he tells me, but from the way he rushes over after work; hoping to see them before I put them to bed. He spends his weekends eagerly joining us to swim at the YMCA or visit the zoo, and he asks about them just as much as he asks how I am. When they cry, it really does upset him (in a totally manly way of course).


Trust me, my alerts are up, as would any mother’s be when she is letting a new man around her kids. As I said, strict boundaries have been set, and I’m watching. Just like I was watching when I was washing dishes one night and a SERIOUSLY disturbed Guy came into the kitchen and told me “The Boy Child was exposing himself” and it didn't feel right to stay in the other room with him.

This is basically my favorite picture ever.

Upon further inspection, The Boy Child had merely unzipped his footie pajama’s down to his belly button, but hey, I’ll take his unequivocal discomfort because that’s how it should be! Now, a year later, he has seen The Boy Child run streaking naked through the house more times than I can count, but I’m happy to report that he is still just as uncomfortable with it as he was the first time he saw it.

Dating with kids is a whole new ballgame my friends, but kids aside, it’s also about us.

And we are good. We are so, very, good.







He has a job that he loves and I mostly just pretend to understand (engineer), with hours that have him working until only 4:30 every day, and never on the weekends. He is basically on the same diet that the kids and I are on, and that makes life SO much easier. Like me, he tries to make it to the gym every day, lives an organic lifestyle, and just as eagerly as I do, he awaits the release of every new scary movie. He has a very large extended family who have been quick to include me, and oddly enough, with the exception of his amazing teeth, he is not at all my typical physical type.

Yet I just can’t keep my hands off of him. And I really like his teeth.

Yes my friends, the virginal streak has been broken.


 One night we were afraid we would run out of strawberry daiquiri's while in the tub... which you know... tragedy... so we prepared them all ahead of time.

Which ended up being way more than any two people could have possibly consumed.

But it was fun.


He makes me laugh when I want to cry, and when I do cry, he says all the right things; even if that means saying absolutely nothing and just giving me a hug.

He makes sure to text me as soon as he wakes up, and right before he goes to bed; never wanting me to think that I’m not always on his mind, because he knows how many years I have spent alone. He fixes things around the house that he sees need a little work, and opens all the tight jars in the world (eh hem… wine bottles).

He never, ever, pushes me to let him help me pay my bills or lend me money when I need things such as groceries, or provide things for my kids when I can't, even though he knows that my underlying reason for that is because I don’t want to put myself in a position where I (literally) can’t afford to break up with him. When I was seeing a counselor, she reminded me all the time to never mix money with dating because money is a slippery slope, and I'm in a "desperate and vulnerable position" where I could once again become dependent on the wrong person, make poor dating decisions because of the financial security, and/or end up being unable to break-up with someone because of the financial dependence. So even though I still struggle financially and it's hard for him to watch, he doesn't help me with any of that, and he respects me enough to understand that sometimes I make decisions based on the understanding that I would like to keep the option of breaking up with him.

He does that, because as he always tells me, he trusts that it will all work out in the end.


Will it? After all I’ve been through I really can’t say, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I would like to believe him. He understands me in a way that no one has before, and he somehow manages to take all the weird, broken, damaged, and crazy pieces that make up who I am, and turn them into something beautiful that reflects back to me in a way I hadn’t seen them before.

There’s just something about this guy that makes my walls of trauma crumble and my broken heart mend; and somehow he manages to take it all in stride. I'm damaged you guys, I am, but it never seems to phase him. When I fell asleep and a nightmare about my ex caused me to begin screaming and calling for help, he didn't run (which honestly, I'd be scared to death if the situation were reversed). No, he gently woke me up, reminded me over and over again that I was OK, and then rubbed my feet until I feel back asleep; never once making me feel embarrassed by my terror. And speaking of terror, on the days that I have court, even though he does not live with me and has a forty-five minute drive to and from me house, he brings me flowers the night before, and sends me off with breakfast in the morning, and most importantly, a promise that no matter what happens, I will have someone to come home to that evening who will try his best to make everything feel alright.


He has met all my friends, and they more than approve. He fits right in, and not just because we are all short!!

(Here's my Platonic Hubby, her real hubby, and The Guy all measuring themselves.)




I've enjoyed getting to know his family, and he has spent a good amount of time getting to know my surrogate parents. The first time Frisbee Boy’s Dad met The Guy, he told him point blank “You had better take care of her. She is very important to us, and you had better treat her right. Do you hear me?” He then proceeded to firmly shake The Guy’s hand until Frisbee Boy’s Mom instructed him to “let go of him, I think he got the point,” and The Guy answered "I have every intention of treating her better than you expect of me." And a year later, Frisbee Boy's Dad no longer tries to scare The Guy, but rather, both Frisbee parents have taken to asking when he is going to marry me, and his answer is always the same; "when she will let me."

But marriage is forever, and forever is a scary thought, and the word alone is enough to trigger a panic attack, especially when forever has never meant anything more than the number of days in my past where people have failed me.

But I don't know, because when I really sit down and think about it, I couldn't tell you what feels scarier anymore. Am I more scared to let him in, and trust that he will never hurt me the way my ex did, or am I more scared to let my trust issues close off my heart, and cause me to lose him forever?

I don't know, but what I do know, is that today I'm scared of how much I really do love him.


I love him.

55 comments:

  1. Ahhhh I'm in tears reading this post. So beautifully written. I'm so happy for you and your kids and I'm rooting for your relationship!

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  2. My wife made me wait for 3 years while we were dating before I could ask her to marry me. I've never regretted investing that time. Take the time you need. It's pretty clear he realizes that you're worth waiting for.

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  3. You are just plain amazing. Congrats on your future engagement ;)

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  4. Yes Steven, she IS worth waiting for and The Guy recognizes that. I can say that he treats her like a queen and truly is on board with the kiddos. We both like him and trust him to be in this for the long haul... for better or worse! Congrats Edens on finding a keeper ♡

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  5. I have a great deal of respect for how hard you work to make your kids front and center in every decision that you make. Too many single moms jumping from one relationship to the next, kids calling the guys "daddy" after several weeks, and becoming more and more damaged with each guy that leaves. It's obvious how hard you are working to not just protect your heart but also protect your kids and I really respect that. It shows great parenting and exceptional mothering in a tough situation so Bravo.

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    1. What an amazing compliment, thank you. I'm not sure I'm doing everything right, but I appreciate that you can see I'm trying!

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  6. So excited for you and him! What a wonderfully happy read today!! You and the kids deserve all the love in the world.

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  7. When it comes to the kids asking people to marry you I think that's just normal, not because they think you're desperate. I kept asking a friend's mom to marry a particular guy because he took me and my friend to Chuck E Cheese. Clearly, that means he's perfect!

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  8. You are SOOOOOOOOOOOOO deserving of this happiness, in reading this I feel I am with you and feel exactly what you do. I fully understand the whole "arms length" mindset, but as with you, I have someone who understood and is staying the course. I wish you the best for you, your children, your heart, him and everyone <3

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  9. ALL of the happy tears!!

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  10. Aww, this makes me so happy for you.

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  11. Thank you for sharing!!! I'm so happy for you.

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  12. I just love this entire post. You ARE worth waiting for.

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  13. This post is awesome!! - I am so happy for you and the kiddos!! Hit me back via e-mail if you get a chance (as if you already responded once again I didn't get)....I love love love that you are in love!!!

    Niki E.

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    1. And I love that you guys are happy for me :)

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  14. You searched long and hard for a guy who was willing to accept you AND your kids. He seems awesome. So glad we finally got to "meet" him.

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    1. It was a long wait lol! I mean yes, it definitely could have been longer, but it sure felt like a long time :)

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  15. I'm so excited for you! :)

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  16. loved every part of this post!!!

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  17. I look forward to all of your posts and I really loved reading this one...it was like I could hear the happiness in your voice and in your heart! Glad you have someone who treats you so well...you deserve all the happiness in the world!

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  18. Awe! I love this <3 Happy for you!

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  19. Thank you for sharing The Guy with us. Whatever happens in the end will be the way it was supposed to go, and you'll be along for the ride and the lessons that life has to teach. I'm super happy that he is helping you mend. Thank God for people like that in our lives!

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  20. Yay you! And Yay The Guy! And here's hoping that a future post includes the words "engaged"....with perhaps something sparkly. :)

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  21. Will this be marriage #4?

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    1. FOUR!? Good gosh I hope not, because if this is my fourth marriage, I would like to know how many years of my memory I'm missing and hopefully see a really good doctor...

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    2. Didn't you know? If you date a guy, that means you married him!

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    3. Haha! Well in that case I must be owed a ton in alimony from all my "husbands." Or actually... some of those marriages might have been illegal since I've only ever been divorced once...

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  22. I am so glad you found yourself such an awesome and supportive man.

    This might be an odd question, but in one of your pictures, are you at that Saved by the Bell diner in Chicago? I live in Chicago and have been meaning to check it out!

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    1. Wow good catch! He may or may not have taken me there for a late birthday present... I may or may not have been a crazy super fan back in my day.

      I mean it's not like I had a scrapbook or anything, because THAT WOULD BE CRAZY.

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  23. When did you start dating? According to another post, the time line of a year doesn't add up so I'm just confused. Also just be csrefuk- seems to be veryyyy quick for under a year according to the skew of pics (sorry didn't read whole post, way too long about one guy lol)

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    1. We've been dating a year. I'm not sure what post you are referring to that throws off the timeline for you, but it could have run out of order. I often write things that I plan to publish within a few days, and then they get bumped for a bit because something else comes up that I'd like to run first (the drama with my ex has screwed up some of the posts that I've written about other things), and that can mix up the timeline a bit. But either way I'm not really sure what you are referring to....

      I also don't really know what you are talking about with the slew of pictures being too fast... but it's not been under a year... but you also said you didn't read the whole post so...

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    2. Why would someone not even read an entire post and then feel like they have any authority to give advice?

      SMH

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    3. $10 says the OP is one of Eden's male readers, and he stopped reading when he saw the pic of you and the guy in the tub cuz he got jealous LMAO. Eden put your nun costume back on, its only been a year and that skew of pictures says you are going too fast!

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    4. Hmmm yeahh you just lost ten dollars, I'm definitely not male nor am I jealous of tub photos lol.

      If you've been dating a year, then all past pictures would be from under a year of dating, unless they've all been taken since after your one year anniversary? I don't see the confusion there, simply saying it appears to be alot of closeness and fast for the timeline, so be careful. Under a year, a year exatly, whatever-it's not a long time in the grand scheme, and didn't know innocent advice was not allowed.

      The defensive vibe is off putting though so good luck and take care, for real!

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    5. I don't read Eden's answer as defensive at all. She said she didn't understand what you were talking about. Simple as that. You were kinda off-putting from the start with your insulting "this is way to much to read about one person" comment (was that necessary? Did it make you feel good to add that in?)

      Now YOU'RE defensiveness at being called out, thats pretty obvious.

      $10 bucks still says you're a dude.

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    6. My womanhood has never been challengedoing except for riget here, very weird... I have my period right now and am using super absorbency Walgreens brand tampons, it's heavy because it's the second day, and midol is not even helping my cramps. Does that count as proof? Lol, goodnight all!

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    7. "Cath" you sure do seem to be over compensating to prove your "womanhood" to us all.

      Just reaffirms my initial suspicions. No real woman would feel the need to discuss her period with a stranger in order to get them to believe she is a woman.

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    8. I'm closing comment replies for this chain. Happy to have you here to read and chat, but please bicker elsewhere :)

      *hugs*

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  24. Eden, I have followed you several months now and I am rooting for you. You are so resilient and you are a captivating writer. I'm glad you are watching out and being careful, especially for your kids sake. A lot of women only care for themselves. My own mom stayed with her boyfriend after finding out he molested me. It's nightmares like this no one should have to think about when navigating life and looking for love. I hope this man is a man of faith because you are clearly a woman of faith against many odds, especially since faith was so misrepresented to you. You are my precious sister and far brighter than me. This guy sounds great and he would be BLESSED to have you, you are beautiful in every way. I get scared because one in three men are said to be addicted to porn. Is it condescending to hope he doesn't look at porn or go to strip clubs where human beings made in God's image are objectified? I know this stuff is mainstream even among some Christians, but every perp I have known of looked at porn. Anyway, I feel bad saying this stuff. Those of us who are inspired by you are along on this ride with you to a certain extent. I want you to have the best because you are the best. You have helped me so much when I felt alone, you will never know.

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    1. Even if he watches porn, eden, you'll be just fine.

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    2. Thank you for your concern :) It's definitely important to keep the lines of communication open on what you expect from your partner when you are dating :)

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  25. I'm still terrified. It's wonderful that you have a good guy in your life. All the best.

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  26. I never shared this with anyone. There's a song by India Arie that I heard and loved ten years before meeting my husband. I think it's called "The Truth." I never understood it until I met him, I just loved the way she described this man as being the truth, and how she knew deep down who he was, but also appreciates all his quirks, but especially how he treats his mama (this is very important as a general rule, BTW). Before meeting and marrying my husband in my 30s, I had been psychologically and physically abused my whole life. The pattern established in childhood set the standard for how I thought I deserved to be treated in adulthood.

    So, this song intrigued me. I kept it with me in my heart when I wasn't listening to it. Singing it while cleaning. Humming it while walking. Not really getting it, because I'd never known truth or purity of heart.

    Fast forward to moving out of state for a fresh start...I started a new job and met my future husband. He didn't fit my superficial rules ("Never date a co-worker," "Don't consider men outside your faith.") When we became friends, I knew we were going to get married, even before we were dating. This scared the blank out of me, so you know I didn't tell anyone else—especially not him. :)

    Well, in the few months before we were planning our wedding, he said something that blew me away. It was almost identical to a lyric in the song. He mentioned that he knew deep down we were together before, in another life, maybe not as husband and wife, but equally close. And he's a numbers guy who loves sports and isn't the poetic, maudlin type at all. He also mentioned that from the very beginning he felt compelled to tell me the truth, tell me his deepest secrets, and was almost apologizing for over-sharing, but felt compelled to tell me everything about himself, the whole TRUTH, even things I didn't need to know about him.

    I pushed him away when we dated, were engaged. and still try to after five years of marriage, but he understands and he's very patient. He knows my background. He knows my truth, too.

    Anyway, I thought I would share this story because I thought it might help you feel more at ease. Even if it is coming from a stranger and is about a love song (gag!) My point is that I've learned God helps you and communicates in different ways. This song was a message for what I should look for and expect, and it caught my attention.

    Just look for the truth. You'll know deep down in your gut. That doesn't mean you won't feel the urge to distance yourself. But the right mate at the right time feels a whole heckuva lot different than anything before.

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    1. It sounds like you have found an amazing guy who compliments you in every way that you need. I am thrilled with you, and hoping that I am as blessed in my own relationship :)

      *hugs*

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  27. You are not exactly short... 5'3" is one inch shorter than average for females

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