The end of innocence

Ray van Hilst Avatar

One of the first things we taught my daughter to say when she was 2 is “I am precocious”. Little did we realize how special she is and how she would develop her own unique personality.

I’ve noticed over the past year how she truly marches to her own drumbeat. While the other kids are screaming through the neighborhood she’s head down in a pile of sand drawing pictures and checking out the ants. While other kids want to watch TV she wants to draw pictures and make books. And in a world where we make children dress up like grownups she’s been content to pick her own outfits and dress any damn way she pleases.

Well, as I looked at her outfit yesterday (her Christmas dress… and yes, it IS may) I thought, “That’s my Riley…. doing her own thing.” My wife and I confirmed that’s what she wanted to wear and let her head off to school.

And this morning we realized that the innocence may be ending. After getting teased in school, she was a bit more careful in what she chose to wear this morning. She asked me what I thought and seemed to care about others’ opinions for the first time that I can remember.

I hope she can find her way back to her own path. It’s a special thing to be able to be your own person and comfortable in your own skin. If I can help her do that, I’ll be a successful father.

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