I'm thrilled to introduce you to this week's contributor, Trina McNeilly. Trina needs no introduction to many of you, as she's the blogger behind the popular (and gorgeous) La La Lovely. She's also a mom to FOUR!, a freelance writer and a self -proclaimed style scout, who is currently making her childhood home into her grown-up home. What struck me immediately upon "meeting" Trina over email was first, her obvious kindness, and second, that she said the fear of turning into her mother isn't much of a fear at all for her. I know exactly what she means. And with that, I give you the lovely Trina.
By Trina McNeilly
My mom kills me with kindness and loves the way we all want to be loved: unconditionally. She was the mom that every other kid wanted to have and I was lucky enough that she was all mine.
We were the treat house. Growing up, ours was the house that everyone wanted to play at; for the fun, undoubtedly, but also for the snacks (it was not unusual to catch a neighbor kid knocking on our front kitchen window asking my mom for sweets). We had a home that people just wanted to be at. I attribute this to my dad providing a wonderful place and my mom making it a home. Besides giving us a home, the greatest thing they gave me and my siblings was the gift of being kids. We spent our days living out whatever it was we could imagine and playing our days away. There was not a worry or care and if one tried to find its way in, there was no doubt that they would scare it away and make any wrongs right.
I've always held both my parents in high regard - put them on a pedestal, in fact, and looked up to them the way I thought all kids did. It’s hard not to look at my mom with a sense of adoration. I don't know anyone as kind, loving, giving and beautiful as she is. To me she was – and still is - the perfect embodiment of beautiful elegance living in the casual comfort of the everyday. I've always known my mom was beautiful, more beautiful than I would ever be. To this day, when someone says I look like my mom, it’s a compliment I hold onto. But, when someone tells me that I am like my mom, it’s the best compliment of all, because beyond her beauty is a beautiful soul. Hers is a soul that houses a quiet inner strength, the kind that often goes unnoticed. And worse than going unnoticed, is often mistaken for weakness. But there is no weakness there. My mom’s is the kind of strength that needs not be spoken, needs not be displayed, needs not show its heavy lifting to every person it encounters. It is the kind of strength that is content to continue on, day after day, on good days and bad days alike. It is the kind of strength that is enviable; that is, if people knew about it.
There are days I can't quite find my step. And some days worse yet, when I can't find my footing at all. But, before I collapse and cave to my wobbly limbs, the strength I need comes in the whisper, in the thought of a woman who has already taken the steps that I am, on that day, afraid to take. And hope flickers in my heart. And in that small flicker of hope, I find my strength. My quiet inner strength is taking form. Forming courage. Forming tomorrows. Forming a foundation of strength for my own daughter. And so the story continues.
This is the story of a beautiful soul whose strength might not always be seen, but whose inner beauty always shines through. All those years, I watched my mom putting on her makeup, always applying lipstick before she walked out the door. In teaching me those very same practices, she was actually teaching me something far greater: how to love without conditions, how to serve a family and put others first, how to love until there is nothing else, how to hope against hope itself. A mother’s unconditional love is never wasted, it is only reproduced.
So with my lipstick in hand, I say thank you mom, for all that you might not have even known you were teaching me. Because of you, my soul is growing strong in the quietest of ways.