Painting Kezia’s Nails with Aila

If you zoom in on the name on those nail polish bottles, you will see why this moment was such a gift.

5 years ago, right after we lost our daughter Aila shortly after birth, I began getting DMs from some of you and texts from personal friends telling me you saw a nail polish brand that reminded you of our baby girl.

Ask any mama who has lost a child, and they’ll tell you the one thing they fear most is their child being forgotten by the world. The thing that means the most? Hearing their child’s name spoken by others around them.

It means the world to us that so many of you remember our Aila, and say her name. But I’ll be honest. Those DMs and texts with photos of those very nail polish bottles that are now on my table, were really difficult for me to receive.

Manicures and pedicures were activities that were on the long list of girly things I had dreamt of doing with Aila as she grew up. I imagined taking her to my favorite local spot and sitting next to her while her little feet barely reached the bowl and she giggled as they painted her squirmy toes. There’s been many occurrences since she passed that I’ve found myself in tears at the site of another mom and her daughter sitting across from me while I got my own toes and nails done.

So I deleted or archived the messages and moved on, and completely forgot about that brand.

Until the other day.

I came home with bright yellow painted on my toes and sweet Kezia said “mama paint toes?” She pointed at my yellow nails and then pointed to her own and said “paint Shay-ya’s toes?” That’s how she pronounces her name right now and it gives me alllll the 😍😍😍😍😍.

After bed that night I went online and ordered a few bottles of Aila Cosmetics. It’s non-toxic and gluten-free and the colors are so beautiful. (Ps definitely not an ad).

But ordering it wasn’t enough and there was something inside me that needed a few answers from the company.

Why did they name it this? That spelling isn’t all that common. What was the meaning behind it?

I chatted with a rep through email and she let me know the founder’s daughter is named Aila. I shared a bit of our story, and the next day had an email from Cary (who ps lives in my second home Nashville. Where all of my people live. Of course).

We exchanged some emails, and after a few, I said – “by the way, when was your company founded?”

She wrote back and said June, 5 years ago. I responded and said my daughter was born on June 24th 5 years ago. And she responded back saying they officially launched just 2 days before that. The day I went into labor.

I’m not sure I can properly covey what a gift that was, and how she nor I had any idea. What was too painful for me to see 5 years ago has now become something so incredibly special that I can share with Kezia. Something that can give me the opportunity to teach her about her big sissy every time we paint our nails together.

I’ve been pretty open here over the years about the journey I’ve been on with losing and try to find my faith again. And I hope to be able to share more as it continues to unfold. It’s a new, deeper faith that’s built on questioning, doubting, seeking, studying, and listening. Rather than the surface level one I grew up being told to believe, so I did. I’m not quite there yet. And there’s days where I don’t really want to keep going. Where I can’t find the answers or the pain feels too deep. But little moments like this remind me that there's a God who sees me, and that He’s good. And that He’s been there all along.

And I’m pretty sure my big girl was shining brightly over us as we painted her baby sister’s nails for the first time. I painted my own too. And it’s surreal looking down at my hands all day to see Aila on my nails.