“The highest form of control is knowing when to let go” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Ashley Smith by © Emily Dozois

Image © Emily Dozois

An Interview with Ashley

Q. What is the best memory you have from a previous birthday?

A. My last birthday. My husband threw me a surprise party and I had never had one before. I had my suspicions as he had made sure the house was super clean that week that something was going on but it was still a great surprise to see everyone there.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. Probably the first birthday when my husband and I started dating. We lived 3 hours apart and I had driven down to spend it with him. He had planned a fancy dinner, which was excellent, and afterward he was planning to serenade me with a song he had written for me. Just as he started his roommate banged on the door and told him to keep it down cause he had to work in the morning, even though Jeremy, my husband, had told him his plans and he wasn’t even supposed to be there. He ended up whispering it to me and it was a great song but it just wasn’t the same after the interruption.

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

A. My truck. My husband got it for me in a round about way. He was hoping to get me a new vehicle for my 30th birthday as our growing family didn’t really fit in what I was driving. About a month before my birthday though he rolled his vehicle and wrote it off. He was completely fine but of course he had to tell me what he had been planning. It worked out for me though since I got my vehicle a month earlier.

Q. Is there a food or dish that you insist on eating on your birthday?

A. Desserts. I don’t care if it’s cake or not but whatever it is, it better be sweet. 

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

A. Just having people who genuinely care about you being there. It’s so much nicer now being older and having birthdays with like 10 people who really want to be there than back when you were young and everyone would show up just to party.

Q. Do you have any traditions or thing you always do to celebrate a birthday? What is it?

A. We don’t have anything specific.