“All of life may be a fantasy, so be comfortable in the part you pick and play it well” from The Secret Language of Birthdays by Gary Goldschneider & Joost Elffers

Wanda Symes by ©Emily Dozois

Mrs. Symes took over as vice principal at my school about halfway through my high school career. When I met her, I was still very much trying to find out who I wanted to be and as a result I was not very self-assured. She made sure to get to know me anyway though, and didn’t let me shy away when I started to lose confidence. She is one of the people who pushed me to accomplish as much as I could while I was in high school, and I will keep the lessons she taught me with me forever. I hope one day to be able to make a difference in someones life the way that she did in mine. I went back to my old school to capture this photo of her, and I am glad to captured her natural beauty and her  positive, outgoing demeanour. – Emily D

Image © Emily Dozois

An Interview with Wanda

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

A. My best memory of a birthday is my most recent one – the big 4-0! My husband bought me a trip to Las Vegas with 5 of my closest girlfriends. I’d always wanted to go and I was so happy!

Q. How about the worst? And why?

A. I am happy to say I’ve never had a bad birthday. To be honest I don’t put too much emphasis on birthday celebrations. I like to be simple and spend time with my family or close friends. And I’m blessed with beautiful people in my life so I have no complaint!

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

A. My 40th present to Vegas!

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

A. Absolutely – Dairy Queen ice cream cake! That’s the only requirement for my birthday, period! I’ve had to change it to Oreo for my boys’ sake but that’s okay!

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

A. Celebrating a birthday is just about being with family and friends. Pomp and circumstances are not important. I’m not one to enjoy being the centre of attention so low key is essential!

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

A. My family’s tradition, since I’ve been married and had two boys, is that whoever’s birthday it is gets to pick one activity they’d like to do, and choose the dinner and dessert. And no chores to prepare or clean up after dinner – that’s by far the best part for me. 😀