“The first step in being honest is leveling with yourself” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Ainsley Suntjens by © Aaron McCullough

“Ainsley was very patient as she waited while I was shooting Barbara, her mother. She is an avid reader and brought a ton of books with her. She new everything about all the books she had brought. I thought shooting her amongst her books would be a great way to make her feel comfortable. She is such a sweet and smart little girl.” – Aaron M

Image © Aaron McCullough

An Interview with Ainsley

Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?

A. Last birthday was great because I could celebrate with all of my friends. I didn’t go anywhere, we just stayed at home and I invited them over, and we had cake and a dinner of pizza and sushi, watched a movie, and just hung around. It was very pleasant.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. On my first birthday, I had a birthday of peas and chicken nuggets, and I stuck a pea up my nose and spent my birthday in the hospital getting it taken out.

Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that most surprised you?

A. It was the cotton candy machine I got last birthday.

Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist on eating during your birthday celebration?

A. I want sushi and udon soup on my birthday. There also has to be a sweet treat of my choice (hopefully an Oreo ice cream cake.)

Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?

A. I think celebrating with family and friends is important. It is important to be surrounded by loved ones when you progress into the next stage of your life, and it is very pleasant when there are friends around to congratulate you on your birthday.

Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?

A. I usually wake up early, and choose breakfast. I then open my present from mom and dad. Hopefully, my party is on the same day as my birthday, if not I usually have a sleepover with my closest friends. Then I choose dinner and we go out for dinner (if it is not my party) to a restaurant of my choice. Then we come home and watch a movie.