Motherhood - the madness, the mistakes, the migraines, the messes and you can't leave out the meltdowns.
But then there are the memories, the miracles, the magic, the milestones and the moments that keep each and every one of us mothers alive, that keep us going, that enable us to wake up and pull ourselves out of bed, grab the bull by the horns, and conquer the next day's challenges that await us.
Falling into the group of motherhood, we share so many common experiences, feelings, frustrations and uncertainties that it's comforting in itself to know that we are not alone.
As we exchange stories and adventures, one of the reassuring things I always find within my complaints, are its hidden blessings. With each and every rainstorm that has fallen on me, I have found numerous clouds, which all contain a silver lining.
And the wonderful thing is ... they are there for all of us, we just have to have an open heart to find them and once we do, we begin to understand why the clouds have hovered over us in the first place.
As a mother, we must search for the silver lining in all things because it's not just about us anymore. Now we are living each day for someone else, for little people who rely on us, who at times, can make a simple task 10 times more difficult, but in the end, they make each day 10 times more worth it.
With that said, the next time you encounter the madness that awaits you when you walk in the door, when you face the handful of mistakes you've made throughout your day, when the crushing pain of the next migraine is upon you, when, for once, everything seemed to be in order but your next handful of messes are waiting your attention, which undoubtedly are followed by multiple melt downs that seem as if they are never going to end, remember to take a deep breath and know that somewhere at the end of this, it is an unfailing fact that there is a silver lining to each and every trial set before us. Search for it with an open heart and once you find it, embrace it and never lose sight of it.
Remember that you have been blessed with one of the most important jobs on this earth. And when you hit the next bump, it will never fail, it just will never fail ... search for the silver lining - the memories, the miracles, the magic, the milestones and the moments that make this journey the most compelling one you will ever travel on and I assure you, you will find them!
It never fails that at the end of each pregnancy, the pain ... the physical pain my body endures and the complete exhaustion, has left me feeling as if this is the last thing I will ever want to do or put myself through again. And yet here I am, three babies later, I yearn for a fourth.
It never fails, right after stripping, washing and putting the fresh, clean sheets back on a bed, it is a clear cue for someone to puke, pee or spill on them. It may be a true miracle that my poor washer is still working, but there is nothing sweeter than watching a baby roll around in fresh, warm sheets that come right out of the dryer.
And what's even better? Deciding that the bed doesn't need to be made right away, so you hop in there with them and find that the extra washes were totally worth this impromptu snuggle time.
It never fails, as soon as we hurdle through a terrible bout of sickness, within days, I'm wiping noses, changing bed sheets, sanitizing and lysoling 'puke buckets' and pulling out the vaporizers once again.
As my body feels as if it is drowning in exhaustion and there is no way I can carry on, the extra snuggles and the extra rocking and the extra rubbing of the heads, it is enough to refuel me to get me through the day. Although I don't have a medical degree, I realize no doctor could heal my children as I just have.
It never fails, that after a long day of just holding on to the thought that bed time is somewhere in the near future, I miss the kids terribly once they are all asleep. And so badly, there are times I just go in their rooms and lay beside them and stare at them in such awe and wonder, how did something so perfect come from me.
It never fails, that as I'm two seconds away from blowing my top, one of my little ones do something so terribly cute that it brings me to my knees as I wrap my arms around them so tightly, realizing that just when it didn't seem possible, it was - I fell a little bit deeper in love with them.
No one on this planet can raise my blood pressure as quickly as they do, but no one can equally bring tears to my eyes and such love bursting through my heart as powerfully as they do.
It never fails, as I'm in the middle of multi-tasking my normal five things at once and a little one keeps asking for "Mommy ... Mommy," once again, me ignorantly assuming it is for something trivial, outstretched is a little arm holding me the most beautiful scribbles I've ever laid my eyes on. Another masterpiece from my little Picasso to add to my fridge.
It never fails, that when there is no possible way the bags under your eyes could grow any larger and the sleep deprivation has totally taken over your body and once again, just hours after the last wake-up call was answered, you find yourself looking down to a sleeping baby on your chest and are reminded, who actually needs sleep when you can spend time with this most perfect, little person that you get to call 'yours.'
It never fails, after a long stretch of irritable hours and needing just to get away for a few minutes to myself, ten minutes into my 'me time,' I'm already heading back to the chaos that I needed to leave.
It turns out that the chaos is what actually keeps me moving. It's unfailing that these crazy, rambunctious children have me wrapped around their little finger and to be honest, I'd have it no other way.
It never fails, the stages you find yourself wishing your baby/toddler out of, you are desperately searching to get them back to because you realized the sleepless nights were filled with cuddles, the tantrums were followed by heart to heart talks and giggles, and the boo boo's and tears were fixed only with Mommy's magical hugs and kisses.
It never fails that sometimes, learning how to dance in the rain isn't so bad after all. As long as you have a partner to dance with, just hold on tight, remember to find reasons to laugh and smile through the tears, and never let go of the little hands that need your support.
Each one of those clouds have set upon you for some reason; all you have to do is be brave and open enough to find the silver lining. Seek the memories, the miracles, the magic, the milestones and the moments that make this all worth it and I promise, you will find them.
Long is a local author and mother of three. Her column will be published on the second Sunday of each month.