The Wade-Union family wants everyone to know just how proud they are of their daughter, Zaya. To celebrate her 13th birthday on Friday, May 29, Dwyane Wade and Gabrielle Union shared birthday tributes to Zaya on Instagram, praising the teenager for being brave, kind, and living her truth. "I wanna take this moment to acknowledge you Zaya on your 13th birthday‼️" the former NBA star began his Instagram post, which accompanied a slideshow of photos of Wade and Zaya posing outside near their pool.
"I’ve woken up every day this week with low energy and not a lot of faith in people," he wrote. "But waking up and watching you smile, watching you walk in your truth and live your life your way is one of the greatest gifts I’ve been able to experience in my life." Wade also praised Zaya for "being the bravest person I know," by simply living her truth "in a world where the color of your skin is deemed a threat."
He continued, "I’m gonna stand by your side until there isn’t anymore standing left to do. I love you more than words can articulate. I hope you feel all of my love today and everyday of your life. You’re Bold, You’re courageous, You are Zaya." Wade ended his post by wishing the 13-year-old a "Happy Birthday" and adding, "We LOVE you!"
Union also took to Instagram to share a touching birthday message for her stepdaughter, joking that she "can't believe" that Zaya is already 13. "Happy Birthday baby!!!" the actor wrote, alongside a photo of herself and Zaya wearing matching white outfits and smiling widely. "You are such an inspiration and motivation to get my butt up everyday and fight."
She continued, "When I'm weary, frustrated, full of rage, I see your face and your joy and you living your best life and I want that for all of us. I love you sooooo much kid!!" Union also encouraged Zaya to "enjoy this day and every day" and remember that she is "loved, protected, respected, admired and celebrated" by her loved ones.
Back in February, Wade revealed that Zaya had decided to "live my truth" and asked to be referred to with she/her pronouns during an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. "When a child comes home with anything, it’s our job as parents to listen to that ... and that doesn’t change because sexuality is now involved in it." he said, adding that he was "proud" to be the parent of an LGBTQ+ child. "We’re just trying to figure out as much information as we can to make sure that we give our child the best opportunity to be her best self."
Shortly after the interview aired, both Wade and Union introduced the world to their daughter on social media, sharing a video of Zaya encouraging others to live authentically. "What's the point of being on this Earth if you're trying to be someone you're not? It's like you're not even living as yourself?" she tells Wade in the clip. "I know it can get tough, definitely. But I think you just push through, and be the best you. ... It's worth it."
Describing Zaya as "compassionate, loving, [and] whip smart" in her Instagram post at the time, Union encouraged other parents to celebrate their children. "It’s Ok to listen to, love & respect your children exactly as they are," she wrote, and based on Zaya's birthday celebrations, it seems like Union and Wade have continued to do just that.