Posted by: Kath Usitalo | February 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Little Sunshine!

The cover of a story by young author/illustrator Paige

“When you have brought up kids, there are memories you store directly in your tear ducts.”

Robert Brault

Making memories at the UP Pro Rodeo last summer

The tears have always welled up suddenly and unexpectedly…in a good way.

At the grade school Christmas concert.

Watching beautiful ballerina Paige dance in her recitals.

Two years ago, while talking about starting the college search.

But lately, I’ve been Boehner-like in my tear production.

They sneak up on me while listening to Paige and her girlfriends chat.

While reading her college essays and looking at her portfolio. And digesting the complimentary acceptance letters.

Brunch at Good Girls Go To Paris Creperie, Detroit

As I observe her talking with business owners about producing and pricing and retailing the line of T-shirts she’s designed.

This morning, making breakfast scones for her 18th birthday.

And while jotting down these few thoughts about her turning the corner from childhood to becoming an adult.

Happy Birthday Paige! At 8 or 18 or 38, you’ll always (sniffle sniffle) be my Little Sunshine.










  1. Your beautiful words brought tears to my eyes as well! Happy Birthday to sweet Paige. I still see her as an infant at the picnics, then a toddler with Molly and now as a spectacular young lady. Thanks for sharing your heart and for touching mine.

    • I was thinking of our girls at The Giving Tree, in the reading nook, and the plays…Wow, time flies!

  2. Now I need to grab some tissues — this proud aunt is sniffling and swallowing a lump in her throat too while reading this story. What a smart, talented and beautiful young woman she’s grown up to be. She truly has been a ray of sunshine in our family — always with a smile and always upbeat. We’re so lucky! Happy 18th Birthday to our Paige!! Love, Aunt Mary Lou

    • How sweet of you…she must have inherited her does of it from her Aunt Mary Lou!

  3. What a beautiful way to say Happy Birthday!

    Happy Birthday, Paige.

    • So nice of you to send birthday wishes!

  4. Gosh, I have tears in my eyes reading this! (an emotional day today, apparently…) She looks like a beautiful young girl. You should be proud, mama.

    • Thanks Kathy…it appears you’ve got two to be proud of, also!

  5. How beautifully written.

    • Are you running up the Kleenix budget, too?

  6. Oh boy…. how I didn’t realize you made a column for Paige earlier. How could I not suspect you would before days ending. I love the sunshine story<3 It's so "Paige". Now I must root around for the next 4 days looking for my "sweet sunshine" story which will pay "tribute" to Gina's beautiful childhood advancing to adulthood….though we shall never leave this sweet innocence behind.

    • Well, she still hasn’t looked at the post so we’ll see if she thinks it’s “sweet!”

  7. Aw shuckssss 😉

  8. So sweet, Kath.
    For Paige ~
    You truly ARE a ray of sunshine! As long as I can remember your presence has warmed many hearts. Belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY wishes, dear.
    Much love to you and your family.
    Ellie & Dana

    • Thanks Ellie!
      Just home from a joint birthday dinner with Mary Lou, her family and ours, at Loui’s Pizza—their pizza is so good and cheesey it’s a once-every-other-year treat.

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