The first morning of the year I spent living with my grandmother, Mary, was mired in childish disappointment from the beginning. Not only had she woken me up extra early, but when I arrived at the breakfast table I was greeted by a bowl of Cheerios. Not Honey Nut Cheerios, mind you—the regular, normal kind. They were just bland, boring, tasteless Cheerios. And I hated them. But grandma was no fool. After attempts to reason with me over the merits of Cheerios in their classic form failed to dethrone my bratty expectations, she offered the compromise of a spoonful of sugar to, quite literally, sweeten the deal. Thus began our “Odd Couple” year together as overly picky boy and cat-lady granny.
Looking back at this quirky and wondrous time in my life, I realize now that I was only there as a companion for grandma following the death of my grandfather. This was explained to me before I moved in with her, but it wasn’t until years later that I could recognize the true value of the gesture by my mother who gave me up for a year and by my grandmother who agreed to take me. While I felt caught in the middle of something I didn’t understand back then, I now feel that the time I gained with my late Grandma Mary is some of the most valued of my youth.
It’s this contrast of the sour and the sweet that life is truly made of. To me, the sour amplifies the sweet in a way so rooted in human nature as to be a wonderful, if not maddening, mystery.
That’s why when Jason Lee’s character in the movie Vanilla Sky utters the pivotal line, “the sweet is never as sweet without the sour,” it really stuck with me. The quotation continues, “I know sour, which allows me to appreciate the sweet.”
These words illustrate my mindset while, after having only been a member of the BatesMeron team for eight weeks, I can reflect on 12 years of professional and agency life and say with clarity that I’ve never felt more welcome, included or valued. Of course, that doesn’t mean there aren’t difficult times. After all, there are times when a client doesn’t like a creative choice or a direction we’ve chosen as an agency. In those times, the day can quickly turn dark, only to soon be turned around by the infectious enthusiasm and talent of our team.
One of the most impressive things I’ve noticed about BatesMeron is how eager everyone is to pitch in to find effective and creative solutions for any issues that come up. I’ve already witnessed extra hours being put in by people who are not even assigned to a given project in order to assist in its completion. There is a genuine camaraderie here driven by a willful sincerity to produce truly astounding creative work.
After knowing Becka Bates personally and professionally for more than eight years, I now know that the bees and honeycombs that adorn our logo and walls are no mere design choice. They are an embodiment of the values espoused by a company that chooses to do right, both by its clients and employees—and that truly puts the “sweet” in BatesMeron Sweet Design.
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