• Kate Stapleton

To My Dear Daughter On Her 3rd Birthday

Dear Ella Bear,

Where do I begin?

I'm at a loss for words when I think back to the joyous life you've had so far. You are so full of wonder and happiness. Your daddy and I could not be more proud of calling you our daughter. We are extremely blessed!

You are three now and you have gone from needing us to to guide you through the park to independently running around and making friends on your own. Your social skills amaze me. Sometimes you get bashful but you are quick to warm up and recognize that making friends is easy. You always say hello to other kids and you also introduce yourself to their parents. "Hello, my name is Ella Marie! What's your name?" Some acknowledge you and others just walk by you, but you keep the sweetest smile and do it again to the next person. You are so sweet.

You have friends now who we have regular playdates with. And you know what else I love about you? I love that you always go in with the intention of kindness. Even in a group of kids, you are able to play independently and let your vivid imagination run wild. We are still working on sharing, but you only get defensive and frustrated when other kids take the toys you are quietly playing with so I noticed you have become territorial. I understand where you are coming from, my love, but I hope I am doing the right thing by teaching you to adapt. Know that I am proud because even when you are frustrated, you choose not to inflict pain on others. You have never intentionally pushed or hurt anyone just to get what you want. You have always been a gentle spirit which has been so true of you since you were a baby, although we still have to work on those temper tantrums...

There will be a lot of life lessons ahead of you, my love. And I have this yearning as your mom to protect you. Your daddy and I, our job is to keep you safe and happy but it won't be too much longer that you will experience life as your own person. No matter where you go and what you do, we will always be behind you and we will do our best to guide you. Please always remember that.

One of my favorite moments with you is getting ready in the bathroom. You patiently wait and sit on the counter next to me as I get ready. You sing your original songs in the tune of The Wheels on the Bus. You play with my lotion bottles and name them as if they were dolls. You pretend that the sinks are their homes or the pool. Your little dialogues with the lotion bottles make me laugh! You look at yourself in the mirror and give yourself kisses. You ask me out of nowhere for hugs. I hope when you are older that you remember these moments because they are the sweetest. I know I surely will.

When I became your mommy, I learned that loving yourself plays a big role in loving others. Because you cannot love and care for your family to the best of your ability without loving and caring for yourself first. I enjoy the conversations we have about loving on people and, most of all, loving yourself. When you ask me why it's important, you are not only asking me in innocence but you are also reinforcing my values as a person. Sometimes it is easy to see value in other people and forget that you are invaluable too. So remember to always love yourself because no one else other than you can love you the way you do. Keep on giving yourself kisses in the mirror!

My sweet, dancing, twirling, singing little lovebug. You are my inspiration. You were ten days old when I first picked up a camera and now you are three. These days you come with me to family sessions and when I do weddings you and your daddy spend the day together. One day, you will have dreams too. And just like you and your daddy are with me through mine, when the time comes I will be with you through the ups and downs of making it happen. Your daddy will definitely be with you too. He is our number one supporter. Together and to the best of our abilities, we will strive to give you the life we have envisioned for you and we will always be rooting for your success.

We love you so much our little Ella Bear.

Love always,

Mama and Daddy

(aka your biggest fans!)

PS. You requested a ballerina themed birthday party so this year you wore ballerina shoes and a tutu dress. You absolutely loved it! And our good friend Courtney Wallace loves you so much that she gave you some of her jumbo balloons for your photoshoot which you had a blast playing with!


Kate Stapleton is a wedding photographer who values telling your story in a way that feels like you.

She creates images that are sincere, meaningful, and real.

Kate is based in Reno, Nevada and photographs weddings in the Reno-Tahoe area as well as destination weddings.

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