The first lines of Chapter 3 of Their Eyes Were Watching God are, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer. Janie had no chance to know things, so she had to ask.” It’s one of my favorite beginnings.
I have favorite books. But more importantly, I have favorite parts of books. While I love the whole, the beautiful small moments bring me back. I don’t dig into the whole novel or essay or collection or whatever when I visit. When I need to feel a connection, when an afternoon brings me to the bookshelf to search for the words that resonate, I find the lines that, as Infinite Jest’s Mario Incandenza would say, “make my heart beat hard.”
I turned 31 on Monday after a weekend of people making my heart beat hard. After feeling like I’ve had a few years that have asked questions, I’m starting to feel like it’s time for answers. It’s almost like I’m starting to understand some of the things that have happened and am starting to wonder/expect/see how things might be. I didn’t really have a chance to know them before, but maybe I will soon.
The big moments of the weekend were special and great and I loved them. But it’s the small parts that are carrying me through the week. And so I’ve decided to write a thank you note for the small moments. Real, paper ones that my mother would be proud of me for writing are forthcoming, but until then, here are my thanks for the intangibles:
- Thank you for picking the ice cream cake decorated with M & Ms because you thought I might be into that.
- Thank you for wearing sensible shoes for daytripping.
- Thank you for sending me home with Doritos.
- Thank you for affirming that, yes, I did want the buffalo chicken sandwich for lunch.
- Thank you for making your dining room look like the Yankees and a party store had an evil love child.
- Thank you for cheering when I caught my cheeseburger with my lap.
- Thank you for wanting to sit and talk and laugh.
- Thank you for remembering and saying hi.
- Thank you for joining me in a sweatpants party.
- Thank you for reminding me that I don’t mind getting flowers.
- Thank you for using paper plates.
- Thank you for remembering that I love socks.
- Thank you for surprising me just when I thought my allotment of special had run out.
- Thank you for making me feel like some days I make your day a little special.
- And, most importantly, thank you for reminding me of the richness of the past year.
I’m knee-deep in cookie cake and struggling to eat second dessert until I either run out of cake or think I’m pushing food safety limits, whichever happens first. I don’t think that’s much of a problem to have. I spent my 30th birthday just trying to keep my shit together. I spent this one trying to make sure that I didn’t forget the good things and good people.