Helen Holden is the multi-talented virtuoso behind Counting Candles. She has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from MIT, an MBA from UCLA, and has worked in consulting and finance for 20+ years. Beyond these accomplishments, she is also a sincere birthday expert.
A native of the Boston area, she grew up in a close-knit family with two brothers and a sister. Throughout her childhood, her mother arranged the traditional backyard home birthday party for each sibling every year. Helen observed that although each birthday party had its similarities, it was her mother who made them singular by creating a whole day of favorite foods and traditions. Helen’s mother knew that her favorites were a mint chocolate chip mud pie for her birthday cake and french toast for dinner.
When Helen was prepared for motherhood herself, she encountered difficulties which were eventually overcome, but the joyous news of her twin pregnancy coincided with the devastating knowledge of her mother’s cancer diagnosis.
The year Helen became a mother herself, she lost her own mother. When her mother passed away just days after Helen’s birthday, she reflected upon the passage of time and how birthdays punctuate life as milestones that mark time whether those times are good or bad.
While still grieving the loss of her mother, Helen endured a complicated twin pregnancy. She was put on three months of hospital bedrest followed by a C-section in which she almost lost her life. She spent time in ICU and her daughter spent time in NICU. Even the very birth day of her twins emphasized the ephemeral quality of life.
After a year of overwhelming emotional highs and lows, Helen did not celebrate her birthday for two years, while still delighting in the birthday of her twins. With time, she came back to treasuring all the birthdays in the family again, because she knew she must make every candle count.