On Natalia Bryant‘s 18th birthday, Kobe Bryant‘s memory continues to be ever-present.
The late basketball legend’s firstborn rang in her milestone birthday on Tuesday, Jan. 19 as her mom, Vanessa Bryant, commemorated the occasion on social media. Nearly a year after Kobe and daughter Gianna “Gigi” Bryant‘s untimely deaths, Vanessa expressed her gratitude to Natalia for helping the family through one of their most challenging chapters.
“Dear Natalia, Happy Birthday!” Vanessa wrote in an Instagram birthday message posted at midnight. “Mommy and Daddy are so proud of the young lady that you are. You have displayed so much strength and grace throughout the most difficult year of our lives. Thank you for stepping in to help me with your little sisters. You’re such an incredible big sister and a beautiful role model to so many people.”
Vanessa’s moving tribute continued, “Thank you for being kind, polite and gracious in everything that you do. You have no idea how happy and proud mommy and daddy are that you’re our daughter. We love you always and forever, forever and always. Happy 18th birthday to our first born, Natalia, our principessa!”