To Ruby on the Occasion of the End of the World

Dear Ruby, it is the end of the world. I’m not sure if you’ve noticed or not. No, I’m not talking about Corona Virus, although I know that seems very apocalyptic and stressful right now. Thank goodness we had your birthday party a week early! If we’d had it on your actual birthday, it would have been canceled. Oh, right, that’s what I’m here to talk about. Your birthday. Today. Also known as: the end of the world. Or a type of world, anyway.

As much as we don’t want it to happen sometimes, the world of childhood is ending. You are 13 now. An honest to goodness teenager. Of course you are always very advanced at everything, so you’ve pretty much been an adult-sized teenager since you turned 12. But now it’s official. Teenager-hood. Very exciting.

I remember being very excited about becoming a teenager, because I thought it meant I would get to go hang out at the mall with my friends all the time. Television in the 80’s and 90’s told me this was so. As it turned out, that didn’t really happen, but I was still excited. It was the beginning of a whole new phase of life. That in-between time, when I wasn’t a kid anymore, but I wasn’t a grown-up either. And I survived it. So here are a few tips from me on how you can survive it too. Not that you need any help. But it makes me feel better.

  1. Kids have very nice kid brains with kid logic in them. Adults have adult brains with adult logic. For the next several years yours will shut down for construction. That’s okay. Just roll with it. That’s how you get an nice adult brain. Watch out for potholes.
  2. The best/worst part about being a teenager is that you get to have deeper and more nuanced adult emotions. You will, at some point, feel some very strong feelings, and they will be all the more strong because they are new. Things will seem VERY important, heightened, and life-or-death. Enjoy the ups, these might be the most intense good feelings you ever have. Try not to freak out too much over the downs. I promise, things calm down on the other side of 20.
  3. Time is going to speed up. I wish there were something I could do about this. Again, like the emotions, it’s just perspective. You will find that summers in high school are much shorter than summers in elementary school. For some reason, that’s just how time works. Just wait till you’re 40.
  4. Your friends will change. I don’t mean that you will have different friends, although that might also happen, but remember that all of your friends are figuring out who they are, and what they like, just like you are. You are changing too. When you were little, I got to decide what you liked, for the most part, but now you are building your own self. And so are your friends. You might not always be compatible. That’s okay. They will always be your friends, even if you do different things. But it won’t be the same.
  5. I get to show you more stuff! Okay, that’s not really a tip, but I’ve been enjoying watching The Office with you, and the older you get, the more cool things that I like, I get to share with you! Very exciting…for ME!
  6. Most importantly, you are going to begin the process of separating yourself from your mother and I. This is normal and natural and healthy. This helps you get ready to go off into the world. But no matter how much you try to be apart, we both love you very much and want to support you as best we can. Maybe you don’t want to talk to your parents about stuff. I get it. But if you ever do, we’re here for you.
  7. Wash your hands.

I’m sorry the entire planet is on lockdown at the moment and you’re going to spend your 13th birthday “social distancing.” In a few years this will be another footnote in history (or we’ll all be dead, but probably not), and you will hardly remember this madness. Because the best part about the world ending, is that each time it does, a new one begins. And I can’t wait to see where the new world takes you!

Love, Dad

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