Do you want to know a secret? 

The entryway to my house is a mess, and I’ve made peace with it. 

I choose peace because stumbling over my four teenagers’ shoes means they have traveled miles in those shoes. Whether caked in mud from a long walk with a friend or covered with granules of sand from walking along the shoreline of crashing waves to soak in one last bit of summer, they have experienced a piece of life that will be etched on their soul. As simple as it sounds, the mud and the sand create and mold the empowered women they will become along this journey of life, and that allows this mama to sit back and exhale.

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So, the muddy and sandy shoes kicked off blocking my way inside . . . I’m just going to muster up all of the patience inside myself to not need it to be perfect and allow the shoes to stay there. Kicked off, led astray, and in a messy pile as I watch my glorious girls unfold into young women creating their individual paths.

And here is another secret . . . my heart leaps when the assortment of kicked-off shoes becomes even more colorful and laden with multiple sizes, a larger pile created by shoes that don’t belong to my four girls.

I’m OK with this mess too since I know this means the house is filled with other teenagers who bring joy to our lives.

Joy pours into our house, filling up the walls with laughter, stories to share, secrets to hold dear, and a bite to eatusually quesadillas. And then, as quickly as the quesadillas are consumed, the shoes also disappear to head out on the next adventure only to be kicked off at another home.

Those shoes, as silly as it sounds, give me great comfort, knowing our home is a place to relax while spending time amongst friends, creating a lifetime of memories, and for that I am grateful. So, once again, I’m going to make peace with the mess and exhale.

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Now the bags, so many bagsalso thrown askew in the entrywayare moments filled with after-school activity items, ranging from volleyball to ballet, horseback riding to lacrosse, and let’s not forget the massive school backpack. The hanging bags, or let’s be real, the bags left on the floor with contents oozing out of them and blocking the door are filled with their desires, goals, and dreams.

The bags have changed through the years and have been filled with all different accessories but the same truth remains. The girls remain unwavering with eyes filled with exhilaration for the next adventure and what’s to come.

A journey that ebbs and flows with challenges as well as victories. I am confident these bags are being carried by young women who are fierce and filled with the knowledge that they can make a difference as one woman with one voice. 

So yeah, I’ll take the mess of the bags often thrown across the walkway and I’ll make peace with the mess, knowing one day in the near future, the room will become the dreamy Pinterest-inspired mudroom I have dreamed of.

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But I wonder how long it will be until I wish for the mess to take over again. For the mess is, ironically, my safe haven of comfort and love.

The mess only enhances that this sacred space doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be filled with love. 

I’ll tell you one more secret. I’ll probably always miss the mess and secretly long for the pile of shoes and bags that I trip over each day, but shhh . . . don’t tell the girls. 

Ali Flynn

Hang in there mama by Ali Flynn Ali Flynn lives in New York with her four teenage daughters and husband. She is excited to share with you the joys and hardships of motherhood with an open heart, laughter and some tears. Ali is a monthly guest contributor for Westchester County Moms and has been seen on Filter Free Parents, Grown and Flown, Today Parents and Her View From Home. You can also find her at https://www.facebook.com/hangintheremama where she keeps motherhood real.