Birthdays Are ‘Big Deals’

July 4th was a ‘big deal’ day in the USA earlier this week when our country celebrated another birthday as an independent nation. With parades, picnics, backyard cookouts and traditional evening fireworks, Americans paid tribute to our homeland, a really ‘big deal’.

Birthdays are like that, aren’t they. To each of us, a birthday is a very ‘big deal’.

In early May, the streets were empty as I drove to a local Burger King restaurant for their $0.89 pancake special.  It was a Sunday, my birthday, and the early rising sun was like a giant candle on an over sized cake, as I imagined it.  This was my ‘big deal’ day.

Do you think of birthdays as ‘big deals’?  Birthdays, like anniversaries, are rare, hence, ‘big deals’. And the longer you’re around, the bigger the deal.  For me, birthdays are really big deals, I’ve been around a while.  Of course, it’s a bigger deal for my older sister and I remind her of that every year, it’s what little brothers do.

Certain occasions are meant to be celebrated with gusto, such as birthdays and anniversaries.  They’re high points in our personal timelines, reminding us of those significant accomplishments of making something last, a rare feat today.

Some among us like to keep these days private, quiet affairs.  Balderdash, I say! Announce it to anyone and everyone. Accept the kudos and applause, you’ve earned it. Revel in the handshakes and pats on the back. Smile broadly when someone ‘lies’ and tells you that you can’t be ‘that’ old, or that your spouse ‘robbed the cradle’.  Consider those compliments as gifts that help make your day the ‘big deal’ it should be.

On your birthday, announce proudly that you’ve moved the bar a bit higher, like an athlete achieving a personal best.  I’m almost two months along to a new ‘PB’, and I’ll let my world know when it happens.  Everything that is good that day will be in my honor because it’s my birthday, and that’s a ‘big deal’.  That’s how I see it. I hope you feel the same about your birthday!

Incidentally, Starbucks thinks my birthday was a big deal, they gave me a free coffee!

Steve (July 2017)

Sometimes It’s Diamonds, Sometimes It’s Paint…

Paint Bucket

Honestly, it’s never diamonds. Perfume, maybe, but not diamonds. Oh, there was a diamond engagement years ago and another one at our 25th, but that ‘streak’ ended there, years ago. Nowadays, prudence, practicality and pocketbook influence my choices..

So, this Valentine’s Day I gave a gift that satisfied all three criteria, the gift of color. I painted a bathroom for my wife, and, not surprisingly, it was one of the best gifts I’ve given over the years. She raved about it and appreciated my work and the new look. As pleasant as that sounds, it’s an unflattering commentary on my gift giving skills. I’m terrible at it.

However, I’m a good painter, it’s in the genes. My immigrant grandfather established himself as a ‘master’ painter. He begot three boys who continued the trade. The line of succession produced more sons, yet, who donned the white overalls, joined the union and called themselves ‘journeymen’.

You see, while ‘diamonds are forever’ (who wears out a diamond?), paint jobs are actually meant to be replaced. Colors fade or fall out of fashion. The painter gets the opportunity to ‘regive’ the paint job, a ‘do over’, if you will.

Paint Corner

“Hey, honey, I repainted the bathroom. How’s it look?  And, Happy Mother’s Day!”

“Looks great, dinner is ready”, she shouts from afar. “You slug…”, is the unspoken word you don’t hear because she has resigned herself to the age-old mantra, ‘it’s the thought that counts’. But we all know this about marriage, ‘what you do or don’t do now will be used against you later’. As I was reminded recently, disagreements, arguments and shortcomings are all part of the bonding process in marriage, no matter how long the union, decades in our case.

But, I digress. There are more gift giving opportunities on the horizon. The bedroom sounds appropriate for our wedding anniversary. And the hallways for her birthday. Oh, I just know she’ll love it. Everyday will seem like a birthday as she walks through the house, admiring the colors, reminding her of just how old she is. Hmm, I should rethink that one. Then there’s Christmas, maybe a brightening up of the guest room would be a hit.

Yes, diamonds are pretty; pretty impressive and pretty expensive. So, gentlemen, heed my advice. When the time comes, give the gift that is bold and beautiful, that tells her how much you love her. Give the ‘gift that keeps on giving’ and is cheap, the gift of color…PAINT SOMETHING!

Paint 3

srbottch (February 2016)