“Acceptance of what happens is essential to the discovery of truth” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Geneva Tetreault by ©Craig MacPhee

Image © Craig MacPhee

An Interview with Geneva

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

A. My mom always made our birthday special…birthday parties with our friends that included games and lots of giggles. I remember all my little girl friends coming over in their pretty, frilly party dresses and us stringing fruitloops onto shoe laces or playing “pass the parcel” eagerly waiting as each layer of wrapping was peeled away to reveal another colourful layer. 

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. I remember as a little girl waking up sick on my birthday party day and being so ill my mom had to call and cancel the party. I can recall sitting looking out the front window with big tears rolling down my face feeling that the world was such an unforgiving place. I am sure the party was rescheduled but as a little girl I definitely don’t recall that as well as the disappointment of having to cancel that special day.

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

A. As a kid each gift is so special and unforgettable. Now I can’t remember any of them other than my little pony or cabbage patch dolls. When I reflect back I love that I can remember the experiences: the parties, the family nights, and not the toys and gifts. I guess that goes to show what is really important in the end.

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

A. Other than fruitloop necklaces, I remember asking my mom to make rhubarb apple crumble all the time for the family birthday celebration! I loved the brown sugar oatmeal cookie crumble.

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

A. Birthdays are so special. Each year we get to live is a gift and the start of the next year is a new beginning. It’s time to reflect on who carried you for 9 months and gave you life, to be thankful for those who touched your heart in the past year and to reflect on your own personal accomplishments. It’s also really nice to have people make a fuss over you for a day!

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

A. Nothing out of the ordinary. We always celebrate the birthday on the birthday with cake or cupcakes and then have a friends and family night or a kids birthday party on the weekend. Mini specialty cupcakes are a birthday tradition along with having my family call and sing happy birthday over the phone in duet to the special birthday person. At our house on your birthday you get to pick what’s for dinner…so we have had macaroni and cheese all the way to steak and back to pancakes. It’s fun to let the kids pick whatever they want that day.