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Katherine Heigl Shares Birthday Tribute to Daughter Naleigh That All Parents Will Relate To: ‘How Did This Happen?’

Raising kids is always an adventure, but there’s no denying that raising teenagers is a total game-changer. Suddenly, it can feel like the little one you’ve loved and nurtured for all these years is not so little anymore. (Oh, our hearts!)

Katherine Heigl can relate. As a mom to a newly-minted teenager, the Grey’s Anatomy alum took to Instagram to share a touching tribute to her eldest daughter, Naleigh, whom she shares with husband Josh Kelley, on her 13th birthday. The actress posted a gallery of photos of Naleigh from when she was a baby to present day, along with a caption that will almost definitely make you well up with tears when you read it.

Heigl opened up about the process of adopting Naleigh from South Korea, sharing the very first photos of the couple’s baby before they had the chance to meet her in person. “The first two photos are the first two photos @joshbkelley and I received of our beautiful baby daughter Nancy Leigh Mi-Eun as she waited in Seoul Korea to come home to us and we waited in LA to hold the baby we already loved,” she began.

“I’m not gonna lie…I’m tearing up a little…ok a lot…looking through these photos, reaching back in time grasping at the smoke of memories that still hold this gorgeous, spectacular girl at 9 months,” she continued. “All folds and rolls and chicken fluff hair. Then mists of memory that hold her at 2. All gap toothed grins and endless giggles and girly sass.”

Echoing a sentiment about the passage of time that any parent will instantly relate to, she wrote, “The memories drift in and out like the ebbing of the tide and I keep trying to chase them, grip them tight in my hands, hold them still so I can live it all just one more time. This girl. The girl that made me a mother. The girl that gave my life purpose. Meaning. Direction. Boundless eternal love. This girl turns 13 today. 13. She is officially a teenager. I can’t seem to process it. How did this happen. Wasn’t she my silly, giggling, gap toothed, rolly polly baby just a few years ago…just yesterday?”

She continued, “God am I grateful. For yesterday. For today. For tomorrow. For every memory that drifts in on a breeze and flutters across my heart. For every new memory I have the privilege of making with this extraordinary girl. I love you Naleigh. I love you with every fiber of being, every cell in my body, every wish in my heart. I love you. Happy Birthday my beautiful girl.”

The Firefly Lane star also shares daughter Adalaide and son Joshua with Kelley, frequently sharing adorable behind-the-scenes family shots of her brood on Instagram. And while the realization that your baby is, well, a full-on teenager is definitely a tough one, it seems like Heigl’s home is filled with plenty of love and no shortage of sweet memories. Here’s hoping Naleigh had a spectacular birthday.

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