“Emotions can be calmed with the breath” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Kristine Rodriguez by © Cyndal Lorch

“Kristine is a talented homemaker who loves to cook and bake for her family. For her photo we thought it would be perfect if we captured her in the kitchen her husband designed and built himself, which is also where she spends a lot of time making their house a home. She even made some fresh baking for us to use in her photo, so her home smelled like fresh cookies when I arrived. Definitely a mom any kid would be lucky to have. Thank you Kristine for inviting me into your home and allowing me to photograph you for The Birthday Book Project.” – Cyndal L

Image by © Cyndal Lorch

An Interview with Kristine

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

A. I have two, when I turned 18, as a Filipino tradition, I had something like a Debutante’s Ball, or what we called a Debut, a coming of age celebration for girls. It was a big formal party with family and friends coming from everywhere. My favourite part about that birthday was the Cotillion, a group of my closest friends/family performing a choreographed ballroom dance. It’s a memory I will always treasure. The second best memory was from my 30th Birthday when my family went on a road trip to New York City, and on my actual birthday, my husband and I went to see a Musical on Broadway and walked around Time Square. It was very exciting.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. I actually can’t recall a bad birthday memory. I may have had simple birthdays where I didn’t do much because I was living on my own in a different city away from my family for a while, but it was not bad. Though I suppose the one recent memory I can recall that happened on my 24th birthday was when I was living in Vancouver and decided to cross the border to Seattle for the day to celebrate with my boyfriend, we were stopped at the border and asked to go in while our vehicle was inspected. We didn’t have anything to worry about because we had nothing illegal, however it must have looked suspicious to border patrol that my husband, then boyfriend and I looked too young to be driving a large truck across the border. We were held up for a little over an hour before we were let go. I thought it was a terrible start to my birthday, because I thought it was going to ruin my day and we would have to go back home, or worse. Nothing happened after, and we were able to go on our way and continue our plans. It was just a little bump in the road at the time.

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

A. On my 18th birthday, my uncle gifted me with a trip to Mexico along with his family! It was an amazing gift, and not something I would have ever expected to receive from anyone.

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

A. Lately, I insist on having long noodles on my birthday. It doesn’t matter how it’s cooked, in spaghetti, Chinese style, Japanese, Filipino, as long as there’s noodles. I was told it is associated to good luck and living a long life. Also, for almost 10 years, I insisted on only having Dairy Queen Ice Cream cake on my birthday. On my 30th birthday, I finally had enough and decided to celebrate with something else.

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

A. I believe the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday is to spend it with family. It is not only my celebration but also my family’s. It is also important to give thanks for another year of blessings, good health, love and, life. Of course another important aspect is to do something for oneself. On my birthday I want to do something for me, whatever it may be.

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

A. I always celebrate it with family. I also try to take the day off work so that I can thoroughly enjoy the day relaxed. But now that I have been a stay-at-home mom for the last 2.5 years, I try to do as little for others and try to put my feet up even just for half the day.