“To see the world more clearly we may need to take off our glasses” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Jenn D'Mello and Cathy Bird by © Aaron McCullough

“Jenn is originally from Toronto. She and her family moved to Calgary in 1993 when she was 11. She has three boys, James, Theo and Robbie. James will also be in the Birthday Book Project. Lucky for me Jenn lives only a couple of blocks from my house so it was fairly easy to get together for a shoot. Jenn is a pediatrician working at the Children’s Hospital.  Jenn loves running and triathlons. Although she was on crutches recovering from knee surgery, we were able to meet at our local Starbucks and crutch our way over to a nearby park. Her mom, Cathy, whom also shares the same birthday as Jenn, pushed little Robbie in the stroller.
Cathy moved the family out to Calgary from Toronto as her husband worked in the financial end of the oil and gas industry. She has four daughters. Three of them are in the medical field and one is a High School English teacher. She and her husband, Richard, are retired now and live in the community of Springbank in Calgary. Cathy loves the outdoors, travelling and playing with her grandsons.”

Image by © Aaron McCullough

An Interview with Cathy and Jenn

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

C. My best birthday memory has to be meeting my oldest of 4 daughters for the first time.

J. I celebrated my 27th birthday in Las Vegas surrounded by family that all travelled there to party with me…they may have also been there to celebrate my Mom’s 50th birthday but it made no difference to me!

Q. How about the worst? And why?

C. My worst birthday memory is 24 hours of labour pains.

J. There have been no birthdays that stand out as bad but there have been several over the past few years since having kids where I can’t stay awake until midnight and ring in the New Year which is a little disappointing.

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

C. The most surprising birthday present was being sent on a treasure hunt by my family to find my gift of a water ski.

J. My husband got me a beautiful necklace a few years ago. I opened it in front of a bunch of friends and then felt really uncomfortable thanking my husband in front of all of them so I just said thanks and shook his hand. My friends still make fun of us for it but PDA is not our thing!

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

C. I love eating delicious ice cream on my birthday and many other days of the year too!

J. Champagne is pretty much required not surprisingly!

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

C. The most important aspect of a birthday is being able to celebrate with family.

J. Being surrounded by loved ones and never feeling bad about getting older.

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

C. I always ring in the new year on my birthday!

J. My husband’s birthday is the following day (January 1st) so it’s tradition for him to make jokes about being married to an older woman on my birthday. If we manage to stay awake until midnight then it’s also tradition to count down together, share a quick kiss (nothing crazy- see PDA note above), and then I wish him happy birthday.