The stage in life you should hold onto for as long as humanly possible. While growing up does have its advantages, childhood will always be the most care-free time for 90% of people. (The other 10% will have suffered/suffer traumatizing, awful, terribly shitty childhoods and be nothing but glad to be done with the whole mess.)

Regardless, childhood should be a happy time, and usually is.. it's also a funny, and odd time, when things like someone stealing your crayon are a major ordeal.
There No Way Back To There From Here?

Warm sunshine, cowboy boots, pet dog running along, fields for adventure, people to love, friends to make. Memories now, and black and white photographs. Is that tow-headed smiling little boy really me? I see the resemblance to my own sons, I feel the memories

But there is no way back to there from here. I long to feel that pure joy again, that simply trust. That little boy had never hated so or lied so or lusted so.

It’s not the youth that is missed rather the untarnishedness, the freedom from corruption. Is there no way back to there from here? It seems to me this longing to regain this more pure state is the root of so much angst in human lives. Lucky is the one who can look back on adult life and not feel burdened by mistakes and not wish for a change.

Is there no way back to there from here?

childhood: biomedically, the period of development between infancy and puberty; legally, in the United States, the period of development until the eighteenth birthday (Public Law 98-292, The Child Protection Act of 1984).

Dictionary of Sexology Project: Main Index

Childhood
It would be good to give much thought, before
you try to find words for something so lost,
for those long childhood afternoons you knew
that vanished so completely -and why?

We're still reminded-: sometimes by a rain,
but we can no longer say what it means;
life was never again so filled with meeting,
with reunion and with passing on

as back then, when nothing happened to us
except what happens to things and creatures:
we lived their world as something human,
and became filled to the brim with figures.

And became as lonely as a shepherd
and as overburdened by vast distances,
and summoned and stirred as from far away,
and slowly, like a long new thread,
introduced into that picture-sequence
where now having to go on bewilders us.

By Rainer Maria Rilke

Sleep always seemed such a natural thing when you are a child. Curling up under the covers with the smell of clean bleached sheets, and the soft kiss from your mom, giving you that final phrase of the day “sweet dreams dumplin”. That was before, not now. That was long ago when things were simple. Remember simple? Back when you knew right from wrong just by the feeling it gave you. Before you found out about racism, war, and crimes to numerous to mention. Remember when the thoughts that ran through your mind as you drifted off to that other playground of the mind. It might have been where to explore the next day and will it be on bicycle or by foot, will I need a pack or wagon, will I need a snack, a drink. Your dreams would work it out for you, a preview of the next day events. A dream may replace the stranger you meet with a demon, and put in its place a cliff above the ocean for the creek bank you would cross. If it turned into a nightmare then you probably stayed at home and spent the day building that modelairplane that you never seemed to finish, or you would tag along behind mom helping with the home chores. But if the dream went well, out the back door you would go, backpack, bicycle, pocketknife, fishing line and hook, don’t for get old Pepper the puppy you got as a surprise birthday gift when you were three years old. He would jump up and down with every pump of your bike peddles. Your and his excitement feed each other as you sought out the adventure that was so clear in your head.

Down road you and your partner would travel. Country roads didn’t have much traffic allowing you to pick blackberries along the farm fences that lined the road. You always promised your mom that you would bring some home to her. She was good at jams and pies, but somehow they never made it home as you sampled them all away on you journey. Pepper looked at you, licking his slobbering mouth but can’t understand the flavor you were enjoying. You always offered, but he would let it drop to ground and tilt his head in confusion.

Those hot summer days at the creek were paradise. Cold water sliding down green alga covered limestone slabs, crawdads darting just ahead of your fingers as you attempt a capture. Storing that snake down your shirt for safe keeping and feeling its smooth skin against yours as it slithered around. The great races between sticks and leaves when you placed them in the water and watched them rise and fall over the water ripples. There was always plenty of shade from the tall trees that lined the creek bed to keep the hot summer sun from blistering your long playful hours. Remember that deep, dark pool of cool water. You had the rope tied above it to swing out and practice your Tarzan dives. And skinny dipping was the best swimming of all. It was also the place to catch fish, using you hands or stick pole. Moist rich soil along the banks for Pepper to dig and nuzzle through looking for some great find to return to you, his only reward a head pat, ear rub and “good boy!”. After an hour at the pool you would put you clothes back on and venture down the creek with your pants rolled up and shoes tied around your neck “Will we make to were creek joins the river today?” was always the question as the stream banks got steeper and the waters gurgle from the rapid cascading. But as always the banks turn to moss covered vertical rock the forest trees thick and dark and home felt a little to far away. “We won’t make today Pepper”.

The return trip home was never as exciting, of course this started with a trip the country store. I now know that country stores are the same all over, but as a child you thought it was the only one of its kind. First you hit the soft drink coolers, lifter the large door and pushed your hand though the frosty layer of fog that lay just above the bottles. Reaching and staying down further then you needed to cool your face on the vapors while grabbing a favorite drink. Heading over to the lunchmeat counter, picking out the largest pickle from the pickle barrel on the way. Feeling the breeze from the circulating hanging above chewing tobacco display. You have that sandwich made with a quarter in slab of red skin bologna. The man behind the counter gives you a curious stare as the snake in your shirt pokes its head above your collar and taste the air with its forked tongue, the smell of gas from the pumps outside brought in from the summer heat. “Take it outside”, the man would say. Your partner would bark your return from the front door. Pepper would follow you to the front porch rockers in the shade and share your sandwich with him and nod your head at the locals as the came in and out the squeaky screen door. The walk home was more of a time of refection. Looking back it seems almost spiritual. Looking back on the day, the week, taking a census of everything in your head.

Arriving home late to dinner again, your mother would ask you what ask you what you’ve been doing, and your typical response was “ah nuttin”. You would see your Dads eyes below his furrowed brow and just above the newspaper. Studying your muddy pants, stickle burs on your socks and laces, and that sun tanned wore out look on your face. I know now that he was saying to himself “He’s gonna sleep tonight”. That’s the sleep I miss now, the kind I now see my children slumber into. Soft lineless faces that only a dream might disturb, planning the next day’s childhood adventure.

Written By Harmonic

Did you have one? I'm not sure I did. If I did, I can't remember it. I'm sure I became an adult long before I was supposed to.

Is this a whinge? No, just a reflection.

I was having dinner with a friend the other night, and we were talking about how we would raise our future children (not his and mine, our own). We decided that it was important that the child would be allowed to have a full-length childhood, as much as possible. I don't mean no Peter Pan, no packing his lunchbox as he's off to work at 25, but to encourage the innocence and the honesty you only get from children.

I didn't have a childhood. Maybe my brothers did (I'm the youngest son of three sons), but I don't think I did. What I have is gleaned memories from faded pictures in an album. When I say "I remember that day at the beach", I really mean "I remember the story you told me of our day at the beach".

If I had to be cynical and blunt, I'd put it like this. I didn't just have an 'absent father', I had an 'absent mother' as well. I had a career father, and a career mother. I must have walked to school on my own the day I could walk. Dad was at work before we got up, and mum was still in bed (late starter). We get home after school, be home for a number of hours, and the parents would turn up, we'd have a family meal, maybe a quick family TV session, and then that was it. Homework, and bed. Dad would be in bed quite early, mum would stay up late - often TV or a book.

Oh, it wasn't all that bad - we certainly had more that our fair share of family holidays. Did we 'play' together though? Not much. There are no memories and no photo-evidence of shared sports with my parents, of rough-n-tumble games with dad.

I first noticed that I might have missed my childhood in my last year of school. I was walking with a friend of mine across some grass, and she looked down at the clover and squealed, "oh I love clover, it reminds me of my childhood!" I was hard-pressed to find a similar trigger.

Do I regret not having a childhood? Sometimes, but not really. I think it's the reason where I am today: fiercely independent, but craving attention. Bit of a dichotomy, really, but it's me. When I left home at 17, my parents gave me the ultimatum: "if you think you're old enough to leave home, you're old enough to support yourself". And I did. I have always found jobs when I needed them, found money when I needed it, had friends when I needed them. Oh, I've had weeks where I barely ate until payday, but that’s character building. We are the product of our experiences. I am the product of absent parents and the need to survive. I'm proud of who I am.

My parents still support my elder brothers, in their own way. The eldest still borrows money. On the morning of his wedding (now there's an entry or five) he hit my mum for $600 for hire cars. The middle brother works for my father. Works when he wants to, not when dad needs him. Bit of a rough treatment for dad, but hey, why should my brother do anything different, he's getting away with it. Surf good today? Then he won't be in at work. What a life, eh?

I still remember the day my relationship with my parents changed. They had come up to the city to see me, and they came to *my* house, through *my* door, sat at *my* table, and ate *my* dinner that *I* cooked. Unfortunately, since I came out to them, they have never visited again. Too frightened of what they'll see? Me not wanting them to have to face it? Probably a combination of both. But still, the relationship changed into an adult relationship. Now mum rings up and talks business, shares, acquisitions, taxes, accounting. It's good, I think we're friends. I'd like to say so. My relationship with Jens is still out of bounds. Talk about Jens isn't, talk about who he is to me, is. But as I say, we're still friends.

My parents are coming to Europe. They'll be here for a couple of weeks, staying were? You guessed it - *my* house. :) I can't wait. For the duration of the childhood I've forgotten, they were my masters. We went out to a restaurant? They'd be in control. Where to go for holidays? Their decision. What clothes I could buy? Their decision. But when they're here, the situation will reverse. Oh, I promise not to tell them what clothes they can buy, but they'll be stuck in a country where they don't speak the language. Helpless, even. Call me sick, call me twisted, but I'm going to love it. It’s a role reversal and I'm looking forward to it. For those reasons, but also for good reasons, in that I'll be able to help them, support them, and treat them to a great time in Europe, all on me. I can't expect the Aussie dollar to go to far, but since I'm earning good British pounds, I'll be in a much better financial position to pay for them. Heck, they paid for me for 17 years, it's only fair I can give some of that back.

This entry has gone all over the place. I guess I can't write much about a childhood I don't remember. I hope my children have better luck...

Childhood
by Rainer Maria Rilke

The school's long stream of time and tediousness
winds slowly on, through torpor, through dismay.
O loneliness, O time that creeps away...
Then out at last: the street rings loud and gay,
and in the big white squares the fountains play,
and in the parks the world seems measureless.-
And to pass through it all in children's dress,
with others, but quite otherwise than they:-
O wondrous time, O time that fleets away,
O loneliness!

And out into it all to gaze and gaze:
men, women, women, men in blacks and greys,
and children, brightly dressed, but differently;
and here a house, and there a dog, maybe,
and fear and trust changing in subtle ways:-
O grief uncaused, O dream, O dark amaze.
O still-unsounded sea!

And then with bat and ball and hoop to playing
in parks where the bright colours softly fade,
brushing against the grown-ups without staying
when the ball and hoop their alien walks invade;
but when the twilight comes, with little, swaying
footsteps going home with unrejected aid:-
O thoughts that fade into the darkness, staying
alone, afraid!

And hours on end on the grey pond-side kneeling
with little sailing-boat and elbows bare;
forgetting it, because one like it's stealing
below the ripples, but with sails more fair;
and, having still to spare, to share some feeling
with the small sinking face caught sight of there:-
Childhood! Winged likenesses half-guessed at, wheeling,
oh where, oh, where?'

I think this is a magical poem, by the 'Santa Claus of loneliness'(W.H. Auden). It is deeply suggestive of the introspection that marks a certain period of childhood. It is hard to remember one's days as a carefree scamp without a soundtrack of melting harpstrings and images of sunbathed, rosy cheeked, mail-order catalogue toddlers. But if you get to that place, the country that is utterly particular to you, then you might remember that you spent a phenomenal amount of time wandering around aimlessly, singing atonal, abstract tunes and inventing idyllic worlds for yourself. Often without talking to anyone else. Whether you are now a socialite or, like U.S.C.R., a 'lanky quasi-intellectual recluse', remember that you were once wholly content to live inside your own head for hours.

When academic discipline was introduced to my school life, at about seven, school did become a 'long stream of time and tediousness'. Previously composed of colouring-in, story-time and show and tell (doesn't that sound like The White Stripes' 'We're Going To Be Friends'?), it now became something uninterruptable, inevitable, inescapable. I would daydream in Maths and jump for joy when the bell went for hometime. The 'time that creeps away' describes the cruel phenomenon that, though childhood is magical, one is oblivious to this at the time. This 'time that fleets away' makes up a tragically small part of your life.

The next stanza simulates the innocent observations oif a child with the capacity to simpy 'gaze and gaze'. The '' is the child's charmingly fickle emotional state.The 'fear and trust changing in subtle ways' is the child's charmingly fickle emotional state.Hence the 'grief uncaused.''O still unsounded sea!' all that mysterious potential that does not bother a child in the slightest. Their inconsequential games of bat and ball for a telling moment infirnge on the 'alien walks,' of the adults. 'Alien', because their seriousness, decorum and reserve are baffling, perhaps even faintly amusing. However, tired and subjugated, they welcome the arm of their parents on the way home; ‘unrejected aid’.

The pond seems to me to be a beautiful metaphor for the child’s self-contained quality, its joyous introspection, ‘stealing below the ripples’. What on earth is that ‘small sinking face’? A premonition of their adult self? The sight of a companion? The final line captures in the most sublime way possible the flickering, trembling palimpsest of suggestive half-recollections that constitute the memory of our childhood. ‘Winged likenesses half-guessed at’; those ghosts of ‘lectricity, hovering, illegible in our subconscious. Elusive, half-ruined by rosy sunlight, ‘wheelinh’, constantly shifting. Can you picture those original playschool friends of yours? I can’t really. They are vague, suggestive smudges, stains and bruises on my mind. A half-caste boy, whose hair was intriguing. A girl called Caroline, who had a crush on me but whose pale face I cannot crystallize. A tiny blond boy who seemed quite like me. oh where, oh, where?

When I was 2 or 3 we lived in public housing, you know, the kinds of apartments with two rooms and freezing cold school tile floors. Yeah, and the roaches, and the funny smells, that’s the place, well we lived there. My mom was 19 and she went to college every day, she also worked nightshift as an LPN at Central Baptist, so I didn’t get to see her very often. She used to pack me off to different relatives for several days at a time, most often my Grami’s because that’s the only place where I wouldn’t cry, and on very rare occasions she would be forced into taking me to class or to work with her. But I can only recall bits and pieces of that.

Even though I was small I can remember coming up the steps to our apartment, my mother balancing me on her hip and the snow crunching underneath her feet. No matter how sleepy I was I could tell we were home when the night air disappeared and the strange smell of public housing came over me. Mom hated how it smelled, she tried without end to make the stench go away, but to me it was comforting. It meant I was sleeping in my own bed for once. And I didn’t really have a bed, I can’t remember what happened to my crib, but I know that I slept on it’s mattress on the floor, and it smelled too since it was a hand me down from some distant cousin or something. It was cold and I frequently woke up in the middle of the night shivering, having rolled off my mattress onto the marble and lost my blanket someplace between. The only other things in there were my toys, mostly bought from Goodwill, that my nightlight would make shadows off of. Sharp and monsteresque shapes that terrified and followed me into my dreams until I was twelve.

After one such night of being at home, my mom came and woke me up, minutes later beckoning to me from the other room. I could hear rustling noises and giggles, and I had on my favorite shirt, it buttoned up the front and had purple and blue stars on it. I loved it because it had buttons, I was so frightened of the few seconds of darkness that occurred when my mommy pulled a shirt on over my head. Just as I have always loved anything that provided me an escape from my fears.

I crawled off the mattress and out of the floor, playing hopscotch with the wreck of nightghasts that was my room. I could smell a real breakfast, like I got at my Grandma’s house on Sundays, back when everyone still spent the whole of Sunday there in front of the fire. I padded into the big room and fell into confusion, there was a bed in the middle of the room, a tiny twin bed with orchids and vines carved into the headboard, and brand new sheets and pillows and a bedspread. And my Grandma hugged me and said it was mine and that I didn’t have to sleep on the floor anymore, my mom was smiling, and Popaw was puttering around in our closet sized kitchen. Grandma picked me up and put me in my bed right there in the middle of the living room, and she brought me breakfast and played with me. From then on, I was always warm, and I slept in that twin bed for 7 years, until during one of our many moves during my childhood, it was broken. But I’ll always remember the first sight of those orchids, they have become the design for my first tattoo and will forever remain my first recollection of beauty.

Racking my brain.

When did I learn to ride a bike?

Who taught me this?

Did I fall, give up and swear I would never touch that two wheeled monster of pain again?

Or was it the most glorious day of my childhood?

I know:

how to do wheelies,

joust with cardboard tubes,

scream like a bat out of hell down a long winding trail,

pretend I am piloting a X-Wing fighter.

I cant remember who taught me.

I hope my son remembers.

The Past dreams too

Some times look back and all I see
Is little flashes, of little me
A few tears here, a grown up there
A younger me with little care

Some blood, some bruises then a laugh
The me of what you see a half
A fall, a scrape, a kick, a slap
A seat upon papa's large lap

A small white smile upside down
A first handstand while playing clown
A duel proclaimed, the words are clear
Standing strong, I felt no fear

A big kids game, a fall down hill
I got back up of my own will
No more tears and no more crying
Work, imagining I’m flying

A flash of light , a baby's scream
A little sister, not a dream
A little baby, half my size
Taking care of her’s my prize

Getting home and knowing then
That something’s wrong, I’m only ten
But I knew when my dad was mad
To steer clear and not be sad

A singing voice above the rest
The soaring pride of being best
A fairy tale, my life, unread
To get the toddler back to bed

One loud bang, and fire flys
Around my head into the skies
A great desire to pretend
That being a kid will never end

That big old brothers never leave
That dreams are dreamed to always believe
That responsibility will soon be ban
That I’ll never grow up like Peter Pan

Dragons, knights, pirates, pixies
Golden treasures, magic gypsies
Goblins, trolls, a witches brew
A hundred monsters, a wizard too

One small child vanquishes
With help from more imagined wishes
Granted by the fairy queen
For saving her from trolls so mean
Pretending that it never ends
But knowing I will lose my friends
My fairytales times many tens

A child's memory still alive
with dreams so busy like a hive
So you see now and how I keep
A dream keeper now go to sleep

Child"hood (?), n. [AS. cildhad; cild child + -had. See Child, and hood.]

1.

The state of being a child; the time in which persons are children; the condition or time from infancy to puberty.

I have walked before you from my childhood. 1. Sam. xii. 2.

2.

Children, taken collectively.

[R.]

The well-governed childhood of this realm. Sir. W. Scott.

3.

The commencement; the first period.

The childhood of our joy. Shak.

Second childhood, the state of being feeble and incapable from old age.

 

© Webster 1913.

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