A Birthday Public Service Announcement

2011 March 15
by Grace Boyle

I turned 25 this past Sunday, March 13th. The day before it, on Saturday, I hosted a party over food and drinks at my place.

I was going to write an insightful birthday post (which by the way, I’ve never written about my birthday, it’s only landed on Friday Linky Loves here and here over the years) BUT – I cut the bullshit and have a story to share from my birthday party.

Saturday was filled with a beautiful hike with the boyfriend and our new pup, grocery shopping for the lengthy menu I had planned for my guests, cooking, humming, showering, dancing around in my dress, some exciting present opening and finally, guests arriving.

I was near exhausted by 8 PM when my lovely friends started flowing through the door to my small apartment, but was energized by the great group of probably over 40 friends that came.

I felt blessed. Everywhere I looked there were hugs, cheers of wine, and close friends from all over who had come to help me celebrate.

I can distinctly remember not having this, when I first moved here. To now see, a cultivated, supportive, lively community of family-friends that have bestowed themselves upon me makes me teary eyed.

I digress…

Near the end of the night, our pup who had his own excitement of ‘partying’ was sitting patiently amongst the last 8 or so that were finishing their drinks, laughing and sitting closely – feet on laps, heads on shoulders – on the couches.

Through the laughter, without warning, an explosion of puppy vomit lands on one of my best friend’s white shoes (who is visiting from out of town). We all yelp.

Moments later, more puppy vomit explodes onto my white carpet, in another spot. The crowd flees.

I find myself on my hands and knees in my backless (short) dress, scrubbing puppy vomit, starting to feel stress and anxiety and worrying about the ‘buzz kill’, the sick puppy, my carpet, the ruined shoes of my friends whimpering, and the rest of my guests. Hostess anxiety.

Suddenly, I am overwhelmed and snap. I close the door to my room and tears start to slowly fall down my face. I’m ashamed I’m even crying. Next, I snap at my innocent boyfriend out of frustration and immediately realize how emotional I feel.

[I’m sharing this because these are the little things we let afflict us and I couldn’t believe what had come over me. Maybe I was tired and I let something little, “get” to me and even worse, others closest to me who didn’t do a thing. There are also, far more grave and important things in life. I know that. I’m even belittling what happened on Saturday night, but it’s worth a share, far more than a sugary, “what I learned last year,” post].

Want to hear the conclusion? The stories moral?

In the end, it wasn’t a big deal.

At all.

He’s a puppy. And if you saw his “I’m so sorry Mom,” face when he curled up in the corner, you would have forgiven him immediately. My friends were supportive and the night carried on, even though I felt depleted and they all continued the night out downtown. I stayed in to re-cooperate and clean. I wasn’t up for it. And that’s okay.

We have these choices to select our words wisely, to smile more often, to choose our battles, to act like the adults we really are and to seriously, not sweat the small stuff.

I didn’t choose the above at the end of my party and it’s no one’s fault but my own.

I woke up the next morning, regretting my snapping at my supportive, gift-bearing, cooking-all-day boyfriend and realized overall, how incredible the party was.

I sheepishly wanted to crawl back in time and instead, laugh at the puppy vomit, hug the puppy, kiss my boyfriend, turn up the Madonna beats, and pour more Pinot Noir for my friends.

Because really, those are the small joys of life that matter.

Indulge me. Any birthday shenanigans, outrageous actions on birthday tears? Can you laugh about it now? It’s okay, I urge you to laugh at me.

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  • http://www.neverniche.com Clare Bear

    “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to,” is a song for a reason. (huge hugs)

  • Kristin

    I love this story Grace, thanks for sharing. As bloggers I love it when we get to be real with our readers and this is a very real moment. In reality we are not always happy, proud, and loving life every minute of every day and its so refreshing to read something like this from someone who does also have lots of happy, living life to the fullest moments. In the end we are all human and we make mistakes and just give it our best everyday. Hope you still had a wonderful birthday in the end :)

  • http://harrietmay.com/ Harriet May

    Good luck with the puppy! They’re a lot of work, and they create a lot of mess, but they’re worth it. When we first got ours, she ate our carpet, our sofa, ever our walls! I can’t even imagine what would make her think, even in her little puppy head, I’m bored so I think I’ll gnaw on this wall. Good thing they’re so damn cute. :)

  • http://twentyorsomething.com Susan Pogorzelski

    I don’t think it would be a birthday for me if I didn’t cry at some point…Three years ago, I was in the midst of my quarter-life whatever; two years ago, I had some medical issues coming to the forefront; and last year, I bought myself the greatest birthday gift (the house) and ended up bawling my eyes out when celebrating with my family and friends, realizing just how damned lucky I was, realizing that I had finally allowed myself to be happy.

    Poor Cerna. The analogy actually works well, though — there’s excitement and maybe some stress and you can’t hold it in. Maybe you shouldn’t, maybe you can’t. And you feel bad because you worry about spoiling the night (or someone’s shoes or carpet), but these things happen…feelings happen. The thing about puppies, though, is that once they see you’ve forgiven them for the big things, or the small things (once you’ve forgiven yourself), they continue on with a tail wag — everything’s better.

    The point? Whether you’re going through something rough or you’re so appreciative of what you have, it’s ok to be emotional, it’s ok to let that show. Don’t ever apologize for sharing a story, for sharing a bit of what makes you human — that’s the most beautiful thing about you, about anyone.

    Sometimes, you become overwhelmed with love and sometimes you become overwhelmed with stress and sometimes those two merge together in an overwhelming desire to snap. Or cry. Or, you know, spill the kibble.

    Glad you had a happy birthday, Grace…May it be a wonderful year ahead.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Thanks, Kristin. So glad to hear you liked it and appreciated the real. I felt it was something to share :)

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    They definitely are :) It’s sort of a pre-requisite, where you are prepared for the kind of damage that can/will be done, but sometimes it affects other people who aren’t so forgiving (bringing him to someone else’s house, playing with him, etc.) The pup is so cute and again, in the end, it’s all so good!

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    I know, right? Re: the crying. Birthdays are for some reason emotional, lots of energy flowing through them and often lots of expectations. I have probably shed a tear at many birthdays for one reason or the other (happy and sad ones).

    It was a wonderful birthday and I should have handled the whole situation better, but I also believe in being true to your colors. Finding that balance :) Thanks for the sweet comment xo

  • http://gradtao.com Alex

    Aw. Puppy vomit can be a buzz kill, but like you said, it’s no big deal. :) It sounds like you were also pretty tired at that point. When I get tired, I’m usually more emotional. So glad it was an overall lovely night and that you had a great birthday!
    My worst birthday meltdown happened in college. No one called me. This was before texting and tweeting and whatnot. Nothing. Not even my mom! I was in a really bad place at the time and just sobbed in the car with my boyfriend at the time. He said, “Dude. It’s OK. Birthdays are just another day. You have love in your life every day.” He was right. But now I’m so terrified of forgetting a friend’s birthday. :(

  • http://www.BeHappyLifeCoach.com Lenora

    Your birthdays have always had an emotional bent, like the time your dad dressed up in a bear costume for your 2nd birthday party, and when he appeared at the party, all the kids ran screaming to their parents. We thought they would like it. Then he took his head off to show them he wasn’t a real bear, and everyone really wailed then. (We have that on video). They probably thought the bear had eaten your dad, and they were next. One birthday we rented a room at the local hotel and used their pool. All the kids were reacting to the heavily chlorinated pool. As we sat around the cake, everyone had red eyes and smelled like chlorine. Then the party where we served coffee chocolate cake and half the kids immediately got diarrhea, and we only had one bath room, so there was a line of frantic little girls. You stressed about all of this.

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    AW! Well I think you were warranted. It’s so silly and emotional on our birthdays. It just seems that way, no idea why. Maybe because of expectations. I’m so glad I can share this, not be ashamed and also laugh now 😉

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Haha, MOM! Thanks for the recap 😉

  • http://veggietestkitchen.com Veggietestkitchen

    It happens to the best of us. Don’t sweat it. I think with age you just have so many night like the one you had happen and mounting regrets about how you should have handled situations that you learn how to keep your cool 😉

    Happy Birthday!

  • http://veggietestkitchen.com Veggietestkitchen

    It happens to the best of us. Don’t sweat it. I think with age you just have so many night like the one you had happen and mounting regrets about how you should have handled situations that you learn how to keep your cool 😉

    Happy Birthday!

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Very true. I felt in writing about it, letting others laugh at/with me that I could recognize how it’s just not a big deal. Live and learn, right? Thanks for the birthday wishes xo

  • http://twitter.com/ChelsTalksSmack Chelsea Talks Smack

    I love you Gracie, it was a perfect party :)

  • http://theofficeingenue.com Terri

    Hi Grace,
    Good title! It is a public service to let eveyone know that it’s ok it not everything always goes right…even on your birthday!

  • http://www.smallhandsbigideas.com Grace Boyle

    Hi Terri! Oh yes, it’s all so true :) Thanks for stopping by. Come back soon!

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