Musings of a Mum: 17 Weeks

February 27, 2012 Candace Morris 5 Comments

Dear Baby Femme Star:
       My sweet capsule of energy, this week marks the first official time I felt truly excited to become a mother.  Everyone tells me this is a pretty normal process for the beginning of pregnancy, since for the most part, you are just sick and tired.  The catalyst for this excitement was nothing less than empowerment.  After beginning an awesome book about parenting (and subsequently reading half of it in one sitting), I could suddenly see a vision of myself as a successful and happy mother.  "Bringing up Bebe" is a wonderful account of the differences in American pregnancy/parenting vs. French pregnancy/parenting.  A lot of what the French do makes so much sense to me that it quelled so many anxieties about parenting styles.  There is a lot I've learned, but mainly the notion that the French seem to make the transition from 'woman' to 'mother' a more seamless, holistic move.  They are still encouraged to take care of themselves, to be as beautiful as they can (and to take the time to do so), and to live their life integrated with a child, not because of and totally catering to a child.  They are calm, less anxious, and generally more trusting of their children's ability to learn at a very young age.  What was revived in my  soul this week, in the place of anxiety and dread, was nothing less than hope.  My goodness, it feels divine.
        Lets talk about boundaries, shall we? One of my dear friends recently reminded me that we must implement emotional boundaries as well as psychological/interpersonal boundaries.  I suppose I forgot that I cannot possibly internalize every person's opinion of my life, marriage, pregnancy, etc. I cannot adopt every birthing method or parenting strategy.  I am a sensitive person with a rather thin skin, and have only found a way to thicken it in my early 30s.  Oh child, how I hope that you will learn this lesson much sooner in life.  How I hope to spare you from the agony of extracting all those critical voices from your being, only to discover your own voice is the true critic and that you are using others as a scapegoat.  When we hear criticism of our own choices, and afterward become prickly, defensive, and downright hurt by another's opinion, I believe what is truly painful is actually our own doubts revealed to us within this opinion.  Take the time to internalize your doubt, truly examine it in light of new information, but let it stop before it destroys hope and crushes your spirit.  There is such a difference between healthy self-doubt and insipid absorption of the world around you.  May the voice inside you be always gentle, always educated, always kind, and always empowered.  Selah.
       Your father had the most endearing dream about you, and as his eyes welled up in tears while telling me, I felt a wave of familial bliss come over me.  Oh! I am so eager to meet you and kiss your chubby face and see your father's prodigious soul within your green eyes.
~The Voice

p.s. Additionally, Joel and I could use your voice to weigh in on our debate about Harper's Bazaar vs. Vogue.  This month, Bazaar all the way. What did you think?

Musings of a Scientist:
You are a miracle, my child...not because babies are astonishing, nor because birth amazes, but because for an arrangement of energetic fields to coalesce into a pattern that can understand that it is mostly ordered emptiness is a transformation so beautiful it could make one weep.


Musings of a Mum: 16 Weeks

February 21, 2012 Candace Morris 3 Comments

16 Weeks

16 Weeks

Dear Baby Femme Star 
(or Starla as your Aunt Kelly affectionately teases),
    This week has been many weeks converging into one.  We said goodbye to Red, we said hello to Aunt Umberdove.  I felt awesome and then suddenly horrible again.  When I read some information about your growth stage, I was informed that you will be doubling in length and weight in the coming weeks, and now I realize why I am wildly ravenous all the time and sleeeeeeepy all of the other time.
    The passage of time is strange.  Your Dad and I were just watching a documentary on time - what is it?  I think of it in relation to you, how this pregnancy has already felt so long, how much longer I truly have to go, and how I will feel like it was a flash in the pan upon looking back at it.  Nostalgia can be so neat and tidy, wrapping up memories in ribbons and warming our hearts with only tidbits of reality.  
    Surprisingly enough, I am learning a lot about other people through carrying you.  Apparently, there is a standard regarding how a woman should feel during pregnancy.  My love, as much as I've tried - I simply haven't felt Gaia surging through my being, I feel very little other than terrible impatience for this bodily ordeal to be over and to just meet you.  I am not glowing, I am not elated, I cannot seem to find a way to accurately express myself in maternity clothes (and personal style is very important to your mamma) and I dread the upcoming weight-gain, but I am still pregnant - and thank the heavens that enjoying or not enjoying the process does not disqualify me from having you.  Though I hope to uncover some of this Mother Earth connectedness and privilege of bringing forth life, I am not going to judge myself any more if it never surfaces - despite people's insensitive censures.  Life lesson, little lady - you cannot control how you feel, you can only control your judgments of those feelings.  People telling me that I should enjoy pregnancy or that they "loved being pregnant!" doesn't mean that is how my story will unfold.  I am still and ever learning to LET.ME.BE.  As it is, so it goes.  I hope to model this for you, for no human ever benefited from judging themselves severely. A healthy human walks the fine line between personal analysis and gentle self-improvement.
   Another theme that emerged this week was the notion of suffering.  As I drove on the 520 bridge, agasp with the view of the sun on the smooth water, I acutely felt the suffering of Jessica and losing her this week.  I wondered about how I would nurture you through your first confrontation with a friend, your first heart-break, and any other inevitable suffering you might encounter.  I though of a parent saying to their child in justification of unsolicited advice and lack of support, "I just don't want to see you get hurt!" and wondered if it is indeed a parent's job to keep their child from suffering, and hell - if it's even possible.  I don't want to keep you from any lesson the cosmos has to teach you, but my own being will surely break in two to see you in pain.  I want my presence in your life to be just enough support.  I heard this a while back from cousin Amy - a good goal is to offer "just enough" support to our offspring.  Too much and a child will never be independent enough to make it on its own, too little and the child will not have enough confidence to venture out.  Many people disagree with this notion, finding it somehow withholding, but I don't.  I find it soulful and I trust that it means I step out of the picture instead of creating a child who will always need me - because we will inevitably part.
   We will be a strong family unit.  Not because you made us one, but because you are entering into one.  I sincerely hope you like it - but it's not a requirement.
   Oh also, if you think of it, could you please stop pounding on my head?  Thanks so much.  I promise to keep feeding you all the pineapple you are requiring.
~The Voice
Musings of a Scientist:
Dear Humankind's Future,
I would like to make a deposit.  Do you have any envelopes?

The baby belly stats: 36"



What I've learned

February 16, 2012 Candace Morris 1 Comments

I call her Red.

A Walk
My eyes already touch the sunny hill.
going far ahead of the road I have begun.
So we are grasped by what we cannot grasp;
it has inner light, even from a distance -

and charges us, even if we do not reach it,
into something else, which, hardly sensing it,
we already are; a gesture waves us on
answering our own wave...
but what we feel is the wind in our faces.

To whom or what do you turn for comfort when there is no way to accept what is happening?  For me, comfort lies in the words of those long dead.  For some reason, Rilke in particular always seems to capture the impossibilities of how I feel, what I mean to say, and how I attempt to go on.  I want to write just like him.  He's less elusive than Plath, more subtlety spiritual than Arnold and Eliot, more reverent than Pound, more literal than Neruda, more humble than Whitman or Thoreau, and deeply more sorry than Hughes.

Last night, I had to say fare-thee-well to one of my heart's chambers, my Red.  My burden of loss is nothing compared to the mortal fear she faces, but a significant loss nonetheless.  Nothing is ever final as we wander this earth, pursuing our dreams and uncovering our paths, and in this I know the friendship will always remain integral to my being - even if she isn't here physically.  She is moving home to San Francisco to help her mother fight the sudden onslaught of stage 4 pancreatic cancer.   On the way home, after a few cleansing tears, I found myself pleading with the cosmos for an exception, for something to change so we don't have to endure this suffering, this impossible loss.  There is nothing like tragedy to test your convictions, as I spoke with something I don't even believe interacts with daily human activity.  But sometimes, whether or not it's real or provable science, the biology of the human soul cries out to the universe - nothing could be more natural than for a created being to plead with that which is responsible for its existence, call it god, science, or as I do - both.

I've learned many things from my Red.  To name a few:

  • The availability of a friend can be equally comforting as the words they might say.
  • There are so many different ways to live a life.  No one is more correct than the other.
  • There is nothing better than the sound of a cork popping at 11am.
  • The pace of the cook is just as important as what you cook.  Pour yourself wine, turn on music, spend time omitting love and care into the food and it will do the same for you.
  • Never give up hope on someone, no matter how badly they may treat you or how flippantly they may hold your love.
  • Flirting with service staff gets you free wine.  Copious cleavage helps too.
  • Believe confidently that how you naturally love others is enough, even if they complain otherwise.
  • A messy room can be cathartic.
  • People first.  Always people first.
  • Wear scarves as shirts and skirts as dresses.
  • In the name of love, learn to speak another soul's language.
  • Women need other women.
  • Self-deception is despicable.
  • Everyone is on their own journey, and it is up to them to do the work.  Walk alongside whilst both working hard, but never, ever do the work for them.

She's in the arms of her mother today and soon we will also say goodbye to her husband, who owns another chamber of my heart - it's really rather sectioned-out, this beating beast in my chest.  It seems to keep getting bigger and bigger.  One who is well loved is one who loves well.  Until we are all loved-well, we must extend relentless patience and compassion to others.

And so we are grasped by what we cannot grasp,

p.s. If you want to follow the progress of Jessica's mother's battle, Jess is writing about it here: El Tiempo Para Gustar.


How we celebrated...

February 15, 2012 Candace Morris 1 Comments

Mexican Coca-Cola

We have been so exhausted this week, and we therefore decided to keep Valentine's Day super low-key.  Joelio took me to our new favorite deli, Dot's Delicatessen, where I had a tasty hot-dog topped with coleslaw and mustard and a Mexican Coca-Cola.  He had brussels sprouts with bacon, and collard greens (incidentally, I just learned that the term is brussels sprouts - huh!).  It was delicious!


Afterward, we went to the store for these.  To be fair, I did try to find a fresh cupcake, but the store was COMPLETELY picked over.  So I opted for these totally disgusting and indulgent hostess cupcakes.   Sometimes I find it disturbing how I crave junk for celebrations, but then I just accept my white trash upbringing and enjoy horrible, deliciously bad food - but only occasionally.  Truth be told, I will probably throw the rest of the box away as I am feeling quite guilty for supporting Hostess.

We then went home and fell asleep watching Star Trek.  We loved it.


Musings of a Mum: 15 Weeks

February 13, 2012 Candace Morris 4 Comments

15 Weeks

Dear Baby Femme Star,
    You are a little lady baby - thanks for being cooperative for the photo shoot.  I do hope you weren't too embarrassed that I posted your lady parts on the internet for all to see!  Knowing you are a girl, my desire to chronicle this pregnancy grows - simply so you have some sort of resource by which to compare medical and psychological information in your own pregnancies, should you chose to have children.  You had a pretty exciting weekend.  You took your first plane ride, you saw your first ocean, you met your cousin Clara and Aunt Teresa, and you demanded cheeseburgers and cupcakes for all your efforts.  I answered only one of your requests, since cupcakes were not readily available, but we were close to InNOut...praise the gods.  
   As you grow in my belly, I am sensing a shift in my own mind.  All the items that need doing are slowly starting to sink in.  I must be experiencing some sort of nesting instinct when I find myself falling asleep to thoughts such as, "I have to organize the medicine cabinet!"  I am all aflutter with thoughts of how we will fit you into our lives, but one can never anticipate the changes - no matter how experienced or imaginative.  I despise feeling under-prepared for things, so it's hard for me - but I am telling myself daily that it will all get done when it needs to, that we will figure it out as we go.  I suppose I am feeling myself gradually grow accustomed to the idea of Candace as a mother.  I've only really seen women raise children single-handedly, never been a part of seeing a truly unified partnering between spouses.  As I start to see how much I will need to learn to share and involve your pop (and how this will not come to me naturally), I also realize how wonderful it will be to have another head to contribute thoughts, another pair of eyes when my close connection to you clouds my vision, and another pair of hands to help hold up your soul.
   Your cousin Clara has my heart entirely - partly due to the bonding I had while helping raise her for 9 months, partly because she is a remarkable soul (all your cousins are pretty amazing.)  If meeting you feels even remotely as strong as my love for them, I am simply going to burst.  As your dad played with Clara, throwing her up in the air while she giggled and incessantly requested "again! again!," I saw visions of you and he playing together and found such peace in the idea of partnering with him to raise you.  As she spiritedly challenged the boundaries around her, I choked on admiration for your Aunt's determination to help that strong will find balance without hurting her spirit.  I secretly hope you are a lot like Clara, which is to say, I hope you are a lot like me (no doubt true of most parents (in fact, even wanting to have offspring is a rather narcissistic notion - biologically ingrained self-reproduction).  However, if you insist on being a sunshiny, easy thing - then I suppose I'll still love you. I'll just have to rely a bit more on the Morris side of your DNA.  There is an easy test.  Will you wake up with an existential scowl or will you wake up with rainbows and lollipops streaming from every orifice? 
   As I was watching a wedding scene in a movie, I mentioned to your Aunt that I was dreading those moments in your life...first day of school, graduations, and wedding.  The idea of seeing someone every single day of their lives and then suddenly not - it makes me tear up now even thinking about it.  But then Teresa challenged me with, "Maybe you will be best friends? Maybe she will want to talk to you every other day."  I suppose it was interesting to uncover my preconceived notions of a mother/daughter relationship simply based on my own experiences.  This began an interesting conversation at the dinner table regarding having adult relationships with your each of us discussed our own relationships with our parents as adults, and what are the steps - if there are any - to ensure that your child will still want anything to do with you once they are grown, I wondered what our future holds.  I just heard a news segment where a couple lost their only son to war, he was 23.  As I look into future, examining my daydreams and dreads, I realize most of all that we are guaranteed nothing, that deciding to bear children is such a risk for the human heart.  Being human is all about sojourning, about discovering new things and lands, and my dear - you are helping me uncover my own human courage.  I'm about to jump into the abyss of loving my first-born daughter, and somehow...without noticing it before, I see that I am more than equipped for the adventure.
-The Voice

P.S.  Sorry about subjecting you to that horrific "Twilight: Breaking Dawn" movie.  I felt you groaning.  At least we have that in common.

Musings of a Scientist:
Baby, you get an A+ in cellular mitosis. 

The Baby Belly Stats: 35.5'' around.



February 09, 2012 Candace Morris 3 Comments

Though I do not wish to spend all my days in 80 degree sunshine, I am still a California girl by birth.  Right about this time of year, I can close my eyes and feel my hair whipping my face as I ride in my Mom's old '57 Chevy Station Wagon, windows down because there was no A/C.  She raised four kids single-handedly for 10 years and we were rather tight on money, but she seemed to make special outings happen.  I remember not only frequent trips to Disneyland, but also trips to Ventura beach.  We would leave at sunrise and all sleep in the car as she drove the 45min to the seaside, then spend all day swimming and sunning.  Lunches on that day, though nothing fancier than homemade PB&Js, a thermos of cold water, and nacho cheese Doritos, never tasted better.  Come sunset, with sand-filled swimsuits, we would climb back into Betsy and watch the golden light on the horizon and drift off to the sound of the wind drying our hair as we drove home.
Windows Down. 
Always Windows Down.

Later on as a teenager, my best friend Keri and I would take several trips, looking for trouble (we never found any, we were good girls afterall) and turning heads as much as possible, which is easy to do in a bikini while driving.  Her VW Bug was my ticket to freedom, and also didn't have A/C.
Thank God.

I'm going home to Southern California this weekend to see my Teresa and Clara, and I cannot tell you how much my skin aches for a drive like this. I've requested to see my ocean.

I love your salt-water soul,


Musings of a Mum: 14 Weeks

February 06, 2012 Candace Morris 1 Comments

14 Weeks
Sipping Tea
The Parents

Dear Baby Star,
     This week, I saw you! You were playing a bit of peek-a-boo, but your profile was so clear!  You're looking pretty good, kid.  Keep up all that parasitic behavior!  Get ready for another debut this weekend as your Aunt Teresa is going to try and discover if you're a Jack or a Jill.  
     Your pop and I took the longest walk in Discovery Park this weekend.  It was so beautifully sunny, and I've had so much more energy - probably from all the protein and fruit you've been demanding.  I cannot seem to eat enough!  You had your first glimpse of what we love about Seattle - your father's trees and your mother's salt water.  Could you smell the air?  Oh we were simply high on it.
     I've been taken such good care of this week.  The Scientist talks more and more about financial goals and our material future, and I find it as endearing as if he were quilting your initials on a baby blanket.  We are so different, men and women.  I hope to teach you how the differences in people can bring strength, and with self-work - don't have to be a threat.  As I've had to learn to let your father become a father in his own time, I am realizing how this is preparing me for raising you.  One of your Uncles joked about us having a "jock" for a kid, and while this is initially humorous, what I realize is that I don't want you to be anything other than exactly what you what to be.  If you decide to follow a career in football, your pop and I will learn all there is to know about the game, wear cheesy outfits, drink cheap beer, scream at the flat-screen, and buy a huge truck.  In short, we will be the your biggest fans.  Your life is your own, and it is OUR privilege to watch you unfold.  We don't want clones of us (but just for the record - you'll be one Mars-loving, well-read beefcake).  Speaking of unfolding, apparently you are doing a lot of that because everyone seemed to comment about my belly this last week - I was a bit mortified.  My shirts and pants seem to be in agreement.  There is something equally unsettling and peaceful about knowing I have absolutely no control over this - that my mammalian self is growing her young.
     Last week, your pop and I talked about food habits and how we wanted to help you have a healthy relationship to eating.  As I expressed my frustration with how kids seem to want McDonald's whether or not a parent encourages it, Joel wisely mentioned that he doesn't care to teach you what to eat, but more to teach you how to think soulfully about food.  This week, as we were eating breakfast, I looked out at our neighbors leaving for their son's baseball game, and wondered if you would play a sport.  I told Joel that my Mum required us to play a sport and an instrument.  I like this practice.  It's just fun to converse with your Dad as we watch ourselves mold into this executive committee called your parents.

~The Voice
 p.s.    Sorry about all the 'Star Trek' this week.  We are kind of addicted.  
KidA: 13 Weeks

Musings of a Scientist:
     Live long and prosper.


The Belly Stats: 35" around


Sunday Morning Letters

February 05, 2012 Candace Morris 0 Comments

Sunday Morning Letters 2.5.12

Sunday Morning Letters 2.5.12

Happy Super Bowl Sunday.  I spent the morning writing to my baby and my best friend.  I'm going to watch the game today with a mild interest in football, but I'm rooting for Madonna's half-time show!



February 02, 2012 Candace Morris 5 Comments


A change is brewing.  Imperceptible to external human observation, but ever-so tangible to me.  If my brain is this active performing an acrobatic act of tying and untying the knots of various thought-strains, it makes me again remember that so much of what we see in another person is entirely our perception; that we know very little of their magnificent or mundane brain activity.  May we be given keen third-eyes to see the true alchemy of others; I feel this gift would make us so much more gracious and compassionate with each other.  Or maybe Christianity is correct, that we are born depraved in need of saving.  Either way, we'd see it and we'd finally know.

The change I speak of is my transition from the very simple, almost bored thought-life of my first trimester to a new time of rich and complicated thoughts and situations.  My brain is stuck in the thick of things.  It isn't angst-ridden, I can shut it off, and I can say that I take much pleasure in deconstructing my feelings and unraveling my thoughts (it's a hard-fought for skill - thank you, Therapy), but it seems to be a large onslaught of thing after thing after thing and I'm quickly realizing it is certainly not just myself stumbling through these thorny thickets.  

I'm just going to wander through them for a bit and pray I don't bleed to death:

One of my closest friends recently received a blow to her soul, and is trying like mad to re-stabilize from getting the wind knocked out of her.  Her mother, entirely healthy not 6 months ago, has rather suddenly found out that she has stage 4 pancreatic cancer which has already metastasized to her liver.   I am watching my Red behave so remarkably - marveling at her newly-discovered strength of purpose.  This woman is a warrior, and this soulless American dream of a life had recently left a gaping existential hole in her heart.  Her many gifts were seemingly rendered useless. She felt weak, sick, and lost.  However, it is THESE moments for which she was made, as horrific as they are.   Something about her, otherwise scattered, is coming together and forming this magnificent being.  I almost feel the need to step out of the way, for surely the light exuding from her head, eyes, mouth, belly, hands and feet will disintegrate my cells - for this is not what I was made for.  For now, I hold her heart for her with the other heartbeats inside of me - as it has pounded right out of her chest and broken her human body in two.  I will care for it well, for in this, my purpose is revealed.   Though she may lose everything she once knew as everything, she will never have to worry for her heart.  I'm a good watchman. She fights. I watch.  


Ever since the viewing of my child's profile via ultrasound this week, my heart has felt seven sizes too big for my rib-cage.  If this is the result of each ultrasound and every subsequent viewing of this kid, I am going to choke on my own love as it spews out of me.  It very well may kill me, but I think that's the natural way.  There are several mes inside waiting to die and be brought back newly evolved; my being is making way for this child in so many more ways than physically.  It, like the physical pregnancy, feels wonderful and horrible all at once.  There is a softening.  I am uncovering insecurities about motherhood, pregnancy, and parenting I was positive I'd never encounter.  I find myself alone in the most profound sense.  Joel and I are so interconnected and similar about most other things that it feels strange that his belly isn't growing daily, that his thoughts are not all-consumed with researching cribs or whether or not we'll feed the children organic everything or not (we completely will, by the way).  It's harder than I thought it would be to allow him his own path to attachment. It feels wrong to be so much more advanced in connectedness to the fetus, but biology is biology.  He is here to care for me as I care for the child.  He does this very well.  I felt sorry for myself that I wasn't given a husband TOTALLY crazy about having a baby, but then remember how vastly superb a father he will be to them for the rest of their lives.  My sister, thank the gods for her, said this, "I feel alone all the time.  The weight of motherhood is a perfect balance between servitude and worship.  No one will ever feel what it feels like for you to carry this star. It is your soul connection to your child.  It's a tad lonely and quite a bit of work but it bursts your soul at the seams...the cosmos has declared this is your journey.  So define it and relish it for it will never occur again."  I blink back tears of the supreme wisdom in these words every single time I read them.  I think I expected others to help me carry this, and i'faith - it is mine alone.  I am up to the task, I assure you.  I just need a second to adjust my attitude. 

Corporate View of an Eastside Sky

I have recently had to fight for a friendship that has never required anything of me.  We've always been so in sync and respectful of each other's privacy, and in this instance, it has failed us.  We erred on the side of not communicating and in turn, realized we were both carrying worries and doubts about the future of our friendship.  I have abandoned a worldview she ascribes to and one that is most likely responsible for our initial bonding, and I made the mistake of keeping the journey to myself, partly out of confusion, partially out of shame - full well knowing the pain it would cause most people I knew.  This week, I forced myself (for her sake at the time, but I'm realizing the benefits to me now) to succinctly write out the 10-year process of deconstructing my previous worldview.  I realized also that I was viewing anyone still ascribing to it as unenlightened, under-educated, cowardly, and lazy. Through her kind and long emails, I discovered how haughty this was of me and how inappropriate it was to advise her in my own worldview.  

This theme has returned to me several times this week.  I made the mistake of reading some mother forums, and realized how doggedly opinionated parents can be, and read some very atrocious scare-tactics regarding attachment styles (ie..."If you don't pick up your child every single time they cry, they will never learn to trust you).  I've done a lot of my own research and have known how I will be proceeding in this matter for some time, so you would think I would be confident and unflappable in my choice.  However, I awoke to realizing that this simply uncovered an insecurity at my own choices as well as my pride at being judged, not to mention my anger at the ignorance of this statement - not because it's wrong per say, but because it is not fully-informed, not scientifically well-researched by this mother.  Taking time to explain your choices to someone willing to listen to you, someone who loves you, and someone who asks in the first place is one thing.  Justifying your choices to strangers and haters and offering your supreme unsolicited advice is something I must find a way to refuse to do - no matter how RIGHT I feel I am.  It's an unwise use of my precious little energy.  

Why do we assume that we have the market on the best way to live?  How arrogant of us.  Humans, though descendants from the same biological substance, are vastly different in countless ways.  Without the ability to truly feel compassion, without realizing that "you never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it," we cannot assume that our answers will behoove someone else.  Thank you, Atticus Finch.  I believe we are here to learn from each other, not correct each other.

I am quite full-up of humble pie, served to me generously this week.  It has done me so much good, throwing me into continued realizations that I am a spec of a spec of a spec of a spec in this vast and terrifying cosmos.  I read a bit of Carl Sagan this week, "Cosmos is a Greek word for the order of the universe.  It is, in a way, the opposite of chaos."  It is organized and beautiful and unfathomable, and my insides are all of these things, as well as entirely nothing. I am nothing at all, and I am every atom ever made.

Sure, I am in the thick of it.  But I have never felt this peaceful before.