Vail Daily column: Final days of childhood innocence | VailDaily.com

Vail Daily column: Final days of childhood innocence

I had no idea it would last this long.

Sure enough though, after having at least one kid under the age of 18 since 1987, I have happily rolled along a full 30 years enjoying childhood.

Not mine, of course, as that ended long ago, at least biologically.

My own eighteen years before becoming an adult were wonderful, but I had no idea at the time due to the fact that I was just a kid, and as most of us have learned, we are blissfully oblivious as to how great things can be until we no longer have them.

Sort of like presidents.

But I digress …

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This week is it — in just a few days my youngest child will become my youngest adult, and my decades of dealing with childhood issues will come to a satisfying end.

The very early years of colic, colds, bottles, diapers and day care led to toilet training, preschool, picky eating, bleeding kneecaps, scraps, bruises, ear infections and monsters in the closet.

Oh, and innocence as well. Nothing trumps childhood innocence.

Those were followed by kindergarten, elementary school, homework, sports, broken bones, birthday parties and girls, leading to the teenage years of girls, crushes, acne, bullying, fitting in and never-ending popularity contests (aka middle school life in general).

Luckily most of the innocence was still retained.

Then came the stress years.

The stress of girls, school and sports, all competing with the perceived peer pressure of dating, parties, partying, music, fashion, smoking, drugs and alcohol.

Made all the more poignant since my youngest is named "Peer," the Danish version of Peter (he's already heard a lifetime of 'pressure' jokes).

Yet a portion of the innocence still remains, and for this I am eternally grateful.

He will graduate in a few months, and although he has been accepted into colleges from Colorado and along the west coast, has yet to decide where the first phase of actual adulthood will take place.

It won't matter to me, as long as he's happy and continuing to learn the independence he will need for future success and stability.

So it's time for both of us to move on from youthful antics and childhood dreams to the realities of adulthood, complete with employment, mortgages, car payments, vacations and, of course, girls.

There is still an appreciable level of innocence that is maintained even after the loss of childhood, but life's experiences tend to chip away, ever so slowly, as my cynical carcass proves each week on this page.

I do believe the young man is now ready for the whole package, but I'm not so sure about his father.

Besides, there's always grandkids.

Richard Carnes, of Edwards, writes weekly. He can be reached at poor@vail.net.