My dearest FrogDiva Jr,

Last year I veered away from tradition and my birthday letter to you was more in the form of a personal Mother’s Day reflection. But this year the birthday letter returns as an affirmation that things are back on track for both of us on many levels. The crazy train ride of the past year that Life decided to take us on is slowing down to a pace at which we can both enjoy the view outside the window, maybe even hop off to smell the flowers or swing from a tree, and not just hold on for dear life.

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FrogDiva Jr. at 20 ©MTHerzog

Today I celebrate the life I live which, in spite of all the difficulties and challenges, is a beautiful life that has been blessed with special people. This is something your grandmother taught me to do. In spite of all the evil around us, the disappointments that knock us down, and the roadblocks that knock the wind out of our sails from time to time, always strive to seek out the beauty within those you love and care about, and don’t give up on them so easily. Let them squirm and tread water from time to time, but never let them drown.

Today I celebrate life as proof that I have survived intense loss and pain. You know better than anyone else in this world what my pain has been like these past months. Your presence by my side during my darkest hours were the only grasp of sanity that kept me afloat. You saved me, and passionately reminded me that I matter at least to one person – you. Resilience, my darling, is something that runs deep in your veins and you have your grandparents to thank for the most valuable lessons.

Today I celebrate the gift of having given birth. Twenty years have passed since you and I became irreversibly linked to one another, a mother-dauther bond that has grown into a sensational mother-daughter team. We live and share a friendship that breathes life and love into our souls, a rarity that no jewel can match.

Today I celebrate you, the woman you are, the artist you have become, and the precious daughter who lights up my world. We made it through the teens in one piece! Time to brace ourselves and buckle up for the roaring twenties. These birthdays with 0s at the end are scary from here on, but the twenties have the added advantage that you can still cheat and say you are a teenager of sorts… twenteen.

We may be several hundred kilometres apart today, but virtual hugs, chats, and messages have made it easy to navigate the physical absence. The cats and I wish you a very Happy Birthday FrogDiva Jr!