“Tomorrow is another day” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Luanne Young by © Jeannette Breward

Image by © Jeannette Breward

An Interview with Luanne

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

A. It was really difficult to pick my best memory or moment from my past birthdays because I have experienced so many amazing ones. My family has always taken the time to make each birthday special and I will always be grateful. A few years ago I had reached a milestone birthday and it was hitting me pretty hard. My mother wanted to throw me a big party, but I said no as I don’t care much for a lot of attention. I definitely appreciated the thought though. I do have a really great memory from that year and it is because of a small gift I received from my best friend. It was a keychain that had been engraved. The front of it said, “Young, old, just words. George Burns”. On the back side of it was a personalized message. This small token put things back into perspective for me. I have very fond memories of that birthday moment. Seven years later and it is still attached to my keys. It’s a great reminder of our friendship and when I read it, it always makes me smile.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. My worst birthday would be when I was hospitalized a week before my birthday and during my birthday. It was my worst birthday because I was really sick and felt horrible. Fortunately, my family was with me at the hospital and we celebrated. My family and the nurses brought me a cupcake to celebrate. On that birthday I was very thankful to be alive and getting better.

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

A. Last year on my birthday, my boyfriend was away on a trip, but he managed to hide my birthday gift. This was a wonderful surprise! On the day of my birthday, he called and proceeded to give me hints to help me find it. I was very excited to find a lovely hand-crafted ring. I love the design and wear the ring every day. It is very special to me and it is symbolic of the great relationship we have with each other.

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

A. One food that I must have for my birthday is cake! I love chocolate cake especially if it has a rich icing. It doesn’t have to be chocolate, I am happy as long as I have cake. Over the years my mother has baked numerous cakes for my birthday. My sister has also made many delicious cakes. Whoever has ‘cake duty’ knows it is important. Even though my father doesn’t bake, he always manages to buy the most delicious cakes. My best friend also makes sure we have a piece of cake or a yummy cupcake. She also likes to pair the cake with some wine or we make Sangria.

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

A. I think the most important part of celebrating a birthday is sharing it with family and friends. It’s a time to show that you appreciate them and that you are thinking about them. Over the years you can develop birthday rituals with family and friends. These rituals are fun things that you can look forward to and appreciate. For me, it’s also a time to reflect and take inventory of the year that has passed and to be thankful for life in general.

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

A. In my family, we have a few things that we do every year. We always give each other cards, light the candles, make a wish and then blow them out. We also sing Happy Birthday. Also, the person who is celebrating their birthday is asked what they would like for their birthday meal. My mother would always make our favourite dishes. The person can also request to go to their favourite restaurant. When I was a young child, my mother would make a money cake for my birthday party. I think this tradition came from my maternal grandmother who was born in England. It was lots of fun for everyone to find coins in their piece of cake. I have many great memories celebrating my birthday with my family and friends!