I grew up in countries that place a high value on Mother’s Day. The cynicism that has developed over the last two decades about this special day tears at my heart, especially after I became a mother myself. But today is different. It has nothing to do with the universal Mother’s Day and is my own special holiday. Exactly 19 years ago to date I gave birth to a beautiful little girl, who became the greatest gift in my life.

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19 hours old ©MTHerzog

It was Holi 1998, the Indian festival of colors and she was brought into the world by C-section, the attending surgeon and anesthesiologist both having a bit of Holi fun before the surgery. Ever since, colors have been a part of Maike’s life, her artistic tendencies showing at a very early age. We never left home without paper and crayons, and now, 19 years later she is a graphic design student in Florence. Destiny? Coincidence? I don’t really care, all I know is that she is influenced by colors and can never imagine her without them in her life.

A friend sent me a congratulatory message this morning and I was about to correct him by saying it is the other frog who has a birthday. But then he said, and rightly so, it is the mother who should also celebrate the child’s birthday, and not just the child. I remember attending a birthday party of one one Maike’s friends one year and I brought the mother a huge bouquet of flowers. She was quite taken aback, even more so when I pointed out that without her there would be no birthday to celebrate.

The last six months have been a veritable nightmare for me, with life dishing out empty nest and death onto my plate at the same time, but there have been a few precious silver linings to go along with it. The little time I get to spend with my daughter now are moments that are few and far between now, but the geographical distance is made up for by a friendship that bridges a lot of emptiness and sorrow.

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19 Years later ©MTHerzog

She was my favorite muse from Day 1 that she came into my life, and will always be my favorite subject for as long as I am able to shoot a camera. I have all the reason in the world to celebrate motherhood today.

It may not be my birthday, but it is my birth day… and it is Holi again!

Happy Birthday FrogDiva Jr!!!

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