“Two shapes in a painting, happening in the same space create a time between them—a kind of rhythmical occurrence” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers
“My mom, Sylvie, is patient and loving like most mothers are but she is also funny and cultivated, and strong and courageous in a very tranquil way that makes one feel that everything will be alright, no matter what. She never rolls her eyes whenever I say I’m vegetarian “now”. She has a sense of curiosity about almost everything and can find a solution to about any problem there is on Earth like magicians make rabbits appear out of hats. She is the master of IKEA furniture assembling and I suspect she can even read a bit of Swedish now. She fixed my washing machine after she took it apart and I wasn’t even surprised. Bottom line, my mom kicks butt. Happy birthday, Mom!” – Mélissa P
Image © Mélissa Pelchat
An Interview with Sylvie
Q. What is your best memory/moment from one of your past birthdays?
A. One early morning, the doorbell rang and it was my mom, her foster family and my sister with her four kids all coming in with their hands full of stuff, cake, food, birthday gifts, and everyone was excited. We had a wonderful day with my two children and all of them. It was the best day ever with my family.
Q. How about the worst? And why?
A. I can’t really remember a bad birthday. Once my children were not with me so it was maybe the worst boring one but it ended up very nicely when my boss and my coworker took me to a restaurant. We had a great time!
Q. What was the present you’ve received for your birthday that most surprised you?
A. I think it was a bicycle… when I was an adult! I tried and tried to do it but I have to admit that I was a mess. It is not true what they say about you can’t forget how to ride a bicycle, haha!
Q. Is there one food or dish that you insist on eating during your birthday celebration?
A. Definitely a cake! Any kind of cake. With vanilla ice cream even better!
Q. What do you believe is the most important aspect of celebrating a birthday?
A. Probably that it is an excuse to a family reunion. I always consider I share my birthday with my mom because it was also a special day for her. I always have a thought for her, trying to imagine how she felt, having her first child that day.
Q. Do you/your family/culture have any traditions/rituals/ceremonies that are performed to celebrate birthdays? What is it?