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  • Meighan Leibert

In The Trenches

Who am I to think I am any different from anyone else? What I have learned thus far, is in fact, that we are more the same. Yes. I said it.


Regardless of culture/education/experience, what we have are feelings in common. We each have our own dance with our emotions. And here's the truth: we can all relate. Whether we want to admit it or not.


What I am living now is life on life's terms. Duh. I say it that way because I seem more aware of it these days. Before, I used to act like I could control my life (I still do sometimes, let's call it a slip). I look back and see it as living denial pinched at its core by my fabulous and cunning ego. Very different from the space I inhabit now, where everything seems to need adjusting at the same time. Life can get big. In my effort to stay tuned in today, resisting 'future tripping' where all my fantasies fly, I can readily find myself engulfed: Ten missing homework assignments, a mistreated device in the tune of inappropriate texts sent to a sibling's friends, shaming another for their body size, overuse of swear words coming from short people, pre-pubescent hormonal moodiness, disrespect, misbehavior, trying to get a second income in full swing, weight gain and a general sense of mutiny on the chore front with the lovely addition of barely making the mortgage. And then somebody suggests we get a puppy.


As matriarch, I decide we just start to address everything, one subject at a time, through discussion. Yes, again, I said it. "We can talk about it." Ha. Well, we did: we got mad, we got stubborn and we got quiet. We also got loud, heard all sides, let go of some stuff and created solution. We failed and we succeeded. Life on life's terms, in my world, is like a roller coaster.


Merriam Webster defines "trenches": a place or situation in which people do very difficult work...every day to improve ...lives. (aka parenthood)


We are learning. Together. It gets messy. It is HARD. Managing emotions is really intense. Mine alone are enough of a full boat for a lifetime....how the hell do I help my kids with theirs? Vespa, our fourlegger has it down-seriously-she is always IN and always available. Our beacon of hope and solace in the form of furry and cuddly. I am inspired.


Choices. I choose to love us through it all. Even the yucky parts. I could feel the weight of the burden heavy a few days ago. That's how it happens-the STUFF bubbles up and FEELS all engrossing. How about "Swarming"? Is that a better word? IT will suck you in. The work comes in the form of practicing detachment, staying separate from IT, to maintain perspective, sanity, peace of mind and me. Practice joy whenever possible. We visited a puppy litter, we went to the movies, we played ping pong, we ate ice cream by moonlight and we binged on Star Trek Discovery amidst the reality of consequences for misbehavior, the challenged conversations and the written apologies to others we had harmed.


"Green Book" is a must see. One of my favorite lines from the film: "The world is full of lonely people afraid to make the first move". Involvement goes two ways, do it, participate more. It is not what we look like, it is our our behavior. How we act is our signature.


Integrity was a big message from the movie.


Dignity, maintain it at all times (not my strong suit).


Life is short, we need to make the most of it while we can.


Do you know who you are? Can you identify yourself? From where do you come? What matters most? Who defines you?


Express yourself.


My kids throw new words around like they are jelly beans. All of them have different flavors. And some of them are tough to deal with because they promote reaction. The C--- word just falls out of my son's mouth. (wtf?) I screamed in the car (all so lovingly) this morning: "Stop saying that word in front of me, I NEVER want to hear it. If I do, you will lose your phone for a week." And then he does this mumbling thing, where he continues to talk-like to a wall- and I get all twisted inside. Honestly, I never spoke to my mom like that. Ever. The words you NEVER want to say out loud, how did I learn? Who taught me they were wrong? (Honestly, I cannot remember. What does that mean?)


Be indomitable. Act courageous.


Stop doing what you can't and start doing what you can.


My kids are skirting that teenage edge. The transition has begun. They are curious, seeking and eager to move on, without me. They are beginning to judge. Music, fashion, food groups, and money are huge concerns. I think my son's diction and tonality drop a few notches right after school when I first taste, audibly, the boy he is on campus. I listen and say to myself "who are you?"


My daughter still runs when she sees me. Precious on so many levels. I watched her yesterday, look at her brother, keeping pace until she could no longer, and then she sprints, bumbling backpack behind her. My smile broadens. These moments are fleeting, everything comes and goes in an instant. How do we slow down to recognize and enjoy? It is so necessary and so alien for some, that it feels like we are going backwards when we do. Crazy!


I turned 52 and my life exploded in fantastic ways thanks to all the angels in my life. Maybe that is the balance everyone talks about. Recognizing the good stuff when you are overwhelmed can help us shift, assist our doom and gloom with a sprinkle of fairy dust. I went skiing with my kids (been decades since I tackled snow) and it turns out I am a loner amidst boarders. Not sure I will transition to that form specific, as I feel enough risk and delight on two.


This is the ride of my lifetime. And it is getting better every year.





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