“Acceptance and universal values are important, but so are washing the dishes and mopping the floor” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Image by Cyndal Lorch

An Interview with Ellen

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

A. On my 30th birthday my husband and family planned a surprise party for me. It was just close family and I was able to hang out with the people I care about most in my own home. Plus there was a lot of great food!

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. It’s funny now, but I remember turning 20 and thinking I was so old. It seemed like such a change and I still had so many decisions to make. I was in my dorm at university with one of my friends who had the exact same birthday as me, and we were being depressed together. It probably didn’t help that it was also midterms!

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

A. My oldest daughter makes me a birthday card every year. I keep them all and love to look back on them. This year she made me breakfast in bed and another beautiful card. It always surprises me when I notice how much she’s grown. She had obviously put a lot of thought and effort into her present for me.

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

A. I love dessert, so definitely cake. Cheesecake if I get to be specific. And a nice glass of wine too!

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

A. I think it’s important to surround yourself with people you love and care about. Birthdays should be positive experiences. Each year has been another chance to celebrate growing older and being comfortable with myself.

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

A. Yes, in our family we picked out our “birthday dinner” that my mom would make for us. Every year we looked forward to our favourite meal and whatever kind of cake we wanted. We now do this in our home and it extends to the whole day. Everyone gets to decide what breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert we will have on their special day.