“Bubble gum may not mean much to you until you get it on your shoe” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Mikayla Kuenn by ©Jeannette Breward

Image © Jeannette Breward

An Interview with Mikayla

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

A. One of my best memories would have to be the year I turned sixteen – yea, my ‘Sweet Sixteen”. I got together with a bunch of my best girl friends and we ventured up to a huge mall in the city where we spent the day shopping. I chose to spend this birthday practicing one of my most favourite hobbies – ending with a much needed passion tea lemonade Starbucks drink, of course. The day finished back home with my family for our tradition of dinner, cake, and gifts!

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. The worst birthday memory would be when I had an outdoor pool party at my house, and it poured rain and thunder stormed the whole afternoon. This was typically what happened on the days of my parties when I was younger. Such an inconvenient coincidence!

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

A. My parents actually bought me a credit card for my birthday one year! I was shocked because I couldn’t believe they would trust me with that kind of thing – at sixteen years old. It had my very own name printed into it. I remember thinking that was so cool. It also opened many doors and possibilities in my world – like being able to make my own purchases online!

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

A. There isn’t necessarily a certain food I insist on for my birthday, but I usually always go out for dinner with family and order pasta. Or pizza. Or chicken strips. Okay, I like to have a lot of choices for my birthday meal. I just go with what I feel like having. One thing I always have though, is a big vanilla birthday cake with lemon filling – and the icing has to be pink!

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

A. Birthdays bring people together. It is so important to me to get together with those whom I love and care about. Birthdays help keep friends close, and family closer. They are a time in everyone’s life, once a year, to recognize them for everything they are. Birthdays are a time to reflect how far you’ve come, and how far you’d like to go. They are to be celebrated and enjoyed by you, and everyone who cares about you.

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

A. My family has a tradition of always having dinner together. Whether it’s just immediate family, or some distant relatives, we go out for dinner, or host a dinner at home. It is a great way to converse, spend quality time together, and celebrate the birthday at hand. We always end with cake, cards, and gifts! Simple, but still a meaningful tradition to us.