A love letter.

Dear Kate,

Twenty years ago, I fell in love with you.


At 8:00 am on March 8, 1993, you took your first breath outside my womb and made your presence known. Until that moment, I had never before witnessed perfection.

Until that moment, I didn’t know love could be so big and so strong. I felt overwhelming love deep in my bones when I held you, and I saw it on the faces of your Father and your Grannie the first times they held you.


After your birth, the doctor told your Father you were a footling breach. That means you were right side up when you should have been upside down. And your umbilical cord was wrapped around your foot. The doctor said it was very dangerous and you could have died during birth.


You didn’t, of course. The doctor didn’t know you. She didn’t know my CupKate who’s never made a fuss in her life. Who always bucks up, head up, and makes things work. It was the first big sign of who you are, that you could have been a big mess, a child full of drama and complications, who instead came out perfect and perfectly poised.


From that day on, I have fallen in love with you another 7,300 times, basically every day I have known you.


My heart is bigger because of you. My touch is gentler because of you. My instincts are kinder because of you. My soul is filled with gratitude and hope and optimism because of you. I am excited about the future because of you.


Did you know you impressed your Dad and me from the start? He loves to tell the story of how smart you were even as a baby, a baby who got caught sneaking away noisily the first time and crawled away quietly the second time. He loves to tell the story of how you walked miles with him on a cold winter day at age two.


He loves to tell the story of how calm and brave you were after the neighbor’s crazy dog bit you. Of how charmingly superstitious yet stoic you are. Of how enormous your love and loyalty are. Of how sound your judgement is. Of how, every day of his life, you have loved and cared for your brother.


Me? I just love to tell the story of you. It’s the best story I know.


Happy birthday, my sweet baby Kate.

With gratitude {for the gift of you},



  1. Don Hill says:

    Lucky Momma, lucky Girl. lucky Dad, Heck, the whole Famdamnly is lucky.
    Happy Birthday Kate.

  2. What a lovely rumination on your daughter with the amazing eyes. Happy Birthday, Kate!

  3. What a loving gesture. You honor us all by sharing this tribute. And, those eyes!!!

    May this be one of many (many) amazing birthdays to come. Happy Day, Kate!

  4. Carolyn says:

    Joan–This is a beautiful letter. I have tears in my eyes reading it. It is filled with love. I feel the same way about both of my children. They have brought Mark and I so much joy and so much love. Have a wonderful weekend!!

  5. Allison says:


  6. The love you all share is so palpable. This is just the sweetest love note and it made me teat up a bit. How lucky you all are to have one another. She’s a beautiful girl. Happy birthday Kate!

  7. Awww….so sweet! I love reminiscing!

  8. Wow, how sweet,thank you for sharing

  9. Stephanie Carlson Wade says:

    I’m speechless. That was beautiful. I knew you were pretty special in the 3rd /4th grade!

  10. Happy birthday to Kate. A lovely tribute to a lovely girl.

    (P.S. Makes me a little sad that I’ll never have a daughter, though. My younger son’s eyes are just like hers, but he’s still . . . well, a boy. And my boys are VERY BOY. Sigh.)

  11. Just so lovely. Your words and your daugher.

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