“Laughter itself may be meaningless, but its effect on the soul profound” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Tanya Wilson © Emily Dozois

Image © Emily Dozois

An Interview with Tanya

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

A. One of the best memories was when I was served breakfast in bed by my daughters. They served me my favourite – Belgian waffles with fresh fruit, maple syrup and whip cream. I also got a fresh hot tea!! Nice treat to start the day.

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. Since my birthday is 2 days after Christmas – I HATE getting birthday presents wrapped in Christmas paper. One year my mom wrapped all my Christmas and birthday presents in the same paper and then divided them randomly 2/3 and 1/3. On Christmas, I opened a gift and it was batteries. A few days later, I opened my birthday present – it was a walkman (to go with the batteries!). Though the gift itself was nice, the delivery was way off. Mom never wrapped birthday presents in Christmas paper again!

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

A. Growing up – as I got older – my family choose to travel instead of buying presents. We spent the money on a trip as a family. As my birthday is at the same time, that meant I travelled for my birthday. As a young adult, I took a cruise with my family around the Carribean. Though there were no Christmas presents, no gifts were brought. So my family bought me cruise gear. It was fun to hear them explain the reason behind the gift. Took a lot of creativity. As an adult, I travelled with my husband and children, and all my in-laws on another cruise. For my 40th birthday, we spent in Tortola, BVI. My husband, our 2 daughters, and I swam with the dolphins. It was really fun.

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

A. In my own household now, the tradition is the birthday person gets to choose their birthday dinner – whether that is a cooked meal at home or a particular restaurant. One of my favourite dishes is chicken cordon bleu; therefore, this is what I typically eat for my birthday dinner.

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

A. I think the most important thing is to celebrate it as a family and to spend time together. The focus is on the birthday person, but not just as a person, but as an important part of the family.

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

A. As mentioned before, now that I am a parent, my husband and I started the special birthday dinner tradition. We cancel outside plans and spend the day/evening as a family. We ALWAYS end the day with a cake.