Most people I know are divided into two camps on the subject of celebrations: they are either promoters or tolerators. Promoters are people who will celebrate anything at the drop of a hat. They buy (or make) cards, know how to pick the perfect gift, can make their house look festive and welcoming, and they are actually energized by the activity. Tolerators celebrate holidays because they know that life will be horrible for them if they don't, and they survive rather than enjoy the experience.
I am a promoter. Big Dave is as tolerator. Life is interesting.
I should be fair, though...we did grow up in the age when it wasn't necessary to have a budget for a birthday party. And in a family like Big Dave's with four kids all born in a span of four years and three months from oldest to youngest...your birthday meant that you had a cake, got to choose what was for supper and didn't have to do the dishes.
My family was a little different...a birthday was a really big deal. We went out to eat, there was usually a party, and you were basically treated like royalty. So imagine my surprise when I realized that Big Dave considered leaving something in the WalMart bag (that he had gotten up before I did to go purchase) was considered "wrapped."
I've had 28 birthdays since Big Dave and I met. And wouldn't you think I'd have gotten past this by now? So I didn't have a big party for my 30th or 40th birthdays. That's no big deal, right?
Well, never mind about that...I enjoy my holidays...Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, 4th of July, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Day and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. I also get fired up about birthdays, the beginning of Spring, and every Saturday in the Fall when SEC football is on. I love seeing who is crowned Homecoming Queen, and I love seeing kids who are the lead in the play, are up for an award, or who make Eagle Scout.
Through the years, when I've seen a kid do something that is exceptional...especially if it isn't going to be viewed as the big deal that it is by their peers...I've sometimes sent a note to them. Sometimes they've probably thought it was nice, and other times thought I was nuts. But to me...it was worth the risk. I remember being young and how nice it was to have someone just notice my existence...in a good way.
That is not to say that I am attention-hungry. I guess I just like that affirmation from time to time that I did something right (even if it was just being born) and assume that others do as well. Sometimes a little encouragement makes the difference in a life that we have no idea about at the time. I think of encouragement as fuel for the tank of creativity or initiative. Some people seem to be powered from within...and I don't mean in the religious sense either. They are just self motivated and accolades really don't matter one way or the other. But a lot of people see encouragement as that cool drink of water on a hot day that picks them up enough to get them to stay at it. Because you never really know which folks need the cool drink and which ones have an ice chest crammed with water sitting right beside them...I find that it is best to err on the side of offering that water.
As for me, today I'm going to celebrate a new album coming out from a band that I like (want to venture a guess which one? Yep, Foo Fighters. :)) and the fact that my son's Senior Prom is in a few days. That in two weeks we'll have a Senior Party for his classmates that all of the parents are throwing jointly and a few weeks after that he will graduate. Jill comes home in a month, and there are two weddings I'll be attending in May. There's a lingerie shower for one of them scheduled for mid-May and Brian will be headed to France with the French Club after graduation. When he gets back, he'll have his 19th birthday. See? Lots ahead to celebrate!
To me, life is sweetest when we DO have a lot to celebrate. Sometimes we have an official reason to do it...and sometimes we just have to look a little harder. I mean, I'm not above celebrating a really good deal I get on groceries or losing a few pounds.
And Big Dave? Well, after complaining about my "birthday weeks" that I have because I like to stretch it out...he got a "birthday month." Each morning this month, he has received a small gift of something that he likes and a index card of one of the many reasons that I love him. He says that it is not necessary...but I think that he's secretly enjoying seeing what I'll come up with to make his day.
So, go out there today and find something to celebrate. Look for someone doing something right and send them a card. Jill had that happen to her last week. One of my friends sent a card to her mailbox in Tuscaloosa. I knew it was coming but didn't tell her...and she was delighted. It is times like these that we remember...because someone actually took the time to drop something in the mail. The Target gift card that was in the card totally rocked as well. She put it to good use yesterday.
It is a new day. Enjoy it. Savor it. Celebrate it. Provide some encouraging words when someone has something wonderful happen to them. Sponsor someone who is trying to make a difference. Send a card, write a note, or pick up the phone. Make someone's day. You'll be surprised how much fun you'll have in the process. If the tolerators only knew...