I’m writing you an email all the way from Provo. Can you believe it? Happy Birthday dear brother.
Sometimes having a party to celebrate turning 13 seems like a cruel joke to me because 13 is the gateway to so many terrifying, depressing times. “Welcome to being a teenager!” we cheer as we poke your bum with pitchforks and throw back our heads cackling.
Obviously I didn’t always love being a teenager.
I think you have wonderful things ahead of you though Gabe, and I actually think you and I are just about to find out exactly how cool you really are. In a lot of ways we both already know that you’re pretty spectacular, but I’m still preparing for some surprises.
If you haven’t noticed we have some pretty overachieving brothers. Fortunately for me I got to go before them and never had to deal the ACT and the pressure to get a perfect score all at the same time. You on the other hand might get some people heaping on the expectations. And maybe you will get a perfect score and maybe you will spend your Saturdays in a wrestling singlet and maybe you will learn Swahili (OK, nobody learned Swahili). But, maybe you won’t. And that’s OK, because we already have people who do those things.
No one else can make me laugh as hard as you, no one else comes up with such amazing stories out of nothing, no one else cheers everyone up when they’re sad. Whenever our family meets new people, you’re usually the one who charms the crowd.
In a lot of ways turning 13 is really exciting because you get a little more freedom which means you get to start thinking more and more about what you really like. And what does this lead to? You start realizing what you’re good at. As a side not you also start realizing what you aren’t so good at. Pay more attention to what you’re good at. Follow the light and give your time to what makes you happiest and most satisfied.
Now, no pressure to go out and discover who you are, but I think you’re going to do great. I remember a day when I was 15-ish and it was terrible. I pulled you over and hugged your little monkey body and because I thought you were asleep I cried a bit out of frustration over something (it was a dramatic period). And then you looked up and I was terribly embarrassed. You probably don’t remember that, but I guess you will now. Anyways Gabe you’ve always been awesome.
Happy birthday dear brother.