Vanessa Bryant Shares Touching Birthday Tribute to Daughter Natalia: 'Mommy and Daddy Are So Proud'

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January is a difficult month for the Bryant family, but there is one bright spot -- the 18th birthday of Vanessa and Kobe Bryant's daughter, Natalia. 

On Tuesday, Vanessa took to Instagram to share several beautiful photos of her eldest child in honor of the special occasion. 

"Happy Birthday! Mommy and Daddy are so proud of the young lady that you are," Vanessa wrote. "You have displayed so much strength and grace throughout the most difficult year of our lives."

January 26 will mark the one-year anniversary of the tragic deaths of Kobe and 13-year-old Gianna Bryant in a helicopter crash. Vanessa noted that her eldest had stepped up amid her own grief to help their family get through its toughest times. 

"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 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!"

She signed the message, "Love always, Mommy, Daddy, Gigi, BB and Koko❤️"

Vanessa also shared an adorable throwback photo of herself and Kobe with a baby Natalia while on the Los Angeles Lakers court, as well as a sweet photo of Kobe holding his daughter.

"Daddy’s little princess, Natalia. ❤️🎉🎂🎉#18 #BirthdayGirl," the proud mom wrote.

With the anniversary of Kobe and Gianna's deaths on her mind, Vanessa asked that those covering the occasion do so respectfully. 

"We ask that you do not air photos of the wreckage, helicopter in the air or accident scene," she wrote over the weekend. "We do NOT want to see it. Our year has been traumatic enough." 

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