“Sometimes blending in is requisite for survival” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Lee Anne Beesley by © Aaron McCullough

“Born in North Bay, Ontario. Lee Anne moved out to Calgary with her family in Grade 6. It is a small world and we both went to the same high school! We were friends at school but like most of our school friends we lose touch with each other over time. We hadn’t seen each other in about 32 years. It was neat to reconnect! Lee Anne and her husband, Trent, have run their own company since ’97. It is a production accounting consulting company called Amasa Consulting. She has a son, Matt, who is 20 and a daughter, Meagan who is 22. She lives in Makenzie Lake in Calgary with her family and their new puppy, Jackson the 100lb lab. They like to spend time at their place in Palm Springs enjoying the sun.”

Image by © Aaron McCullough

An Interview with Lee Anne

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

A. I have two… Having a birthday in February is not always fun – weather is usually not the best…sometimes there isn’t a lot to do when it is cold and snowy outside. Although, usually everyone you invite is able to make it because no one is on vacation at that time of year. On my 8th birthday, we went to the Sugar Shack in Northern Ontario near where I lived at the time. The maple trees were being tapped and the syrup was starting flow and to be processed. My friends and I had a ton of fun going on hay/sleigh rides, learned all about the maple syrup process and tobogganed. It was a great time. I have always been a planner. I had always said that I would like 2 children, a boy and a girl and I would like to have them both before my 30th birthday. This is not an easy thing to predict and plan. My son, our second child, was born 2 days before I turned 30. I was discharged from the hospital on my 30th birthday. When I arrived home I had a houseful of well-wishers, there to see our son and to surprise me with a birthday party – literally for both of us! It was amazing of my friends to plan this.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. I can’t remember ever having a bad birthday. They are all very special to me in many ways.

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

A. I have had my best friend in my life for more than 33 years. Just after my 35th birthday, she surprised me with an amazing gift. She had put together a 4 inch thick photo album/scrapbook of our life together. There were sayings and captions applied to each photo and every photo told me who was in the photo. This was a celebration of our 20 years of friendship and birthdays. It was and still is one if my most treasured gifts. She is amazing and I am lucky to have her.

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

A. One of my most favourite meals has always been stuffed peppers – ever since I was a little girl. My dad used to make them for me without fail for my birthday every year. He taught my daughter to make them and for a while ,she continued the tradition. Now, I make them for her on her birthday because they have become her favourite as well. I am not a huge cake lover and in the office that I have worked at for the past 10 years, they always celebrate the birthdays by ordering in cake for the department. The person’s whose birthday it is gets to choose what kind of cake they order. They stopped asking me because I never gave them a kind to get. They started bringing in veggies instead. The rest of the staff was not happy with that idea. No one but myself like veggies and dip on their birthday.

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

A. Your birthday should be about you! The most important person in your life…is you! The people that are around you should want to be there with you, celebrate with you! It is your day and you should celebrate it. I know it is cliché, however, age is truly just a number. You get wiser, stronger and more confident with each passing year. I believe you should make that day as special as possible. Do what makes you happy!

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

A. Every year since my children were babies, the four of us go out for dinner as a family – just the four of us – on the actual day of your birthday – no matter what day of the week it is. You get to choose the restaurant and it is really such a nice evening not only to celebrate as a family but to reconnect. Now that my children have special people in their lives it is getting more difficult to continue this tradition. I know it is missed when it doesn’t happen so we make concerted effort to continue it every year.