She’s 11! Happy Birthday Anna-Laura

That decade, plus one, sure was fabulous. Our sweet Anna-Laura has had quite the eventful weekend. Her Godfather was named a bishop and she celebrated a birthday.

That’s how you do it.

It’s letter time, y’all ready?

Dear Anna-Laura,

You have really come into your own this year. For me, our time together during your 10-year-old trip allowed me to see another beautiful side of your personality, your soul and your heart. It was a week I’ll cherish always. I believe it was your generosity that touched me the most, when you decided we should buy socks for all the homeless folks we saw. You proudly walked up to each and lovingly offered them a gift. For a moment, I saw them soften. Boy was that beautiful.

Small acts. Great love. I know a saint or two who must’ve inspired you.

If not for you, things would never get done around here. It’s true, you are my biggest helper, and most days the only kid who listens to me. You are a master baker. At least once a week you ask, “Hey mom, can I bake some cookies?” It’s like my own personal Paula Dean. You need zero help. Shoot, you even wash the dishes. You change diapers, you vacuum, you make sweet tea – be still my southern heart. But more than all that help, I love that you always want to do it with me. It’s so nice to have a partner in crime these days.

My work here is done, folks.

Reading is not your jam, but soccer sure is. I think we might need to jump back on the Harry Potter train this summer. Watching you play soccer with John Paul this spring was just fantastic, though. Well, after the whole earring debacle of 2016. Yes, we learned – the really, really hard way – that earrings can’t be worn during soccer season. We figured it all out, you got to play part of the season and your ears are still pierced. Or, as you said, “We sure have learned a lot of hard lessons this spring, haven’t we, Mom?” Um, YES.

I know I’ve hit a winner of an outfit when you smile and say, “Now that’s a cute outfit.” Please keep telling me that. You are so good at lifting people up.

You take your faith seriously. I don’t know what else to say, but thanks for your example to your momma. It’s a beautiful thing to witness, that great love.

I think the thing I’ve loved most about this year is catching a glimpse of the young woman you’re becoming. For years, I think I feared it. But to be here, in this moment with you, is such a gift. To see how you get excited about learning something new (like sewing), or exercising your independence (you are my daughter) – it’s just so, life-giving.

You’re still sassy and stubborn. I love that about you, most of the time. It will serve you well later in life. You love your sisters with a fierceness that is enviable and you tolerate your brothers. I think that sounds about right for this season of life. You still give great hugs, want to sit near me and you’re quick to share the details of your day. As we enter the tween years, may my ears be always ready to hear you, my eyes ready to connect with you and my heart always loving you.

You’re a gift Anna-Laura. I’m so grateful God gave you to me. Happy birthday sweetheart.





  1. Verdina on May 16, 2016 at 8:41 am

    How beautiful! I envy your ability to “see” below the surface and to be able to express what you see so beautifully! Your description of Anna-Laura reminds me so much of my daughter at that age. Enjoy every moment!
    God bless you and your family!

  2. Alicia on May 16, 2016 at 9:01 am

    Happy 11th! My oldest is 7 and I’m filled with equal parts excitement and dread at the thought of her getting older. I want my littles to stay little forever…thanks for showing me the lovely parts of growing up you’ve seen with Anna-Laura this year. It makes me a little less dread-y. 🙂

  3. Gina on May 16, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    I LOVE your letters to your kids on their birthdays, Kathryn. They always make me tear up as they come straight from the heart! Great job, Mom!

  4. Caitlyn on May 22, 2016 at 8:12 am

    She is so cute. Happy birthday Anna-Laura!

  5. Maureen Davis on May 24, 2016 at 12:08 pm

    Happy Birthday Anna Laura and love and blessings to all! Ms. Maureen

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