When we're kids, all we want to do is grow up. Then, once we actually become adults, all we want to do is relive our childhoods. The reality is that adulthood isn't all it's cracked up to be—we have jobs to work, money to make, bills to pay, families to take care of, and other important responsibilities to manage. It's a complete 180 from the carefree lives we used to live when we were younger. Thankfully, we'll always have those memories from our past to remind us just how beautiful our lives are and how far we've come in our own personal journeys. Nostalgic people from all around the world took to the internet to share their best childhood memories. Read on for some truly heartwarming tales:
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#1 A Critical Moment
I watched my stepdad call out the principal of my school in fourth grade on his nonsense right in front of me. My principal kept making claims that my mom wasn't properly taking care of me based on observations about my hygiene, etc. This was an incredibly critical moment in my childhood because it was the first time I had a father figure in my life who cared enough about me to stand up for me.
#2 Endless Summers
There was one day in the summer of 2003 when all the neighborhood kids just hung around outside. We flew kites, played sports, got ice cream from a truck, etc. We spent the whole day outside doing fun stuff. I remember going to bed thinking that it was a perfect day. I still think about it sometimes. I'll always miss the general feeling of summer growing up. It felt like it would never end. Just days on end of waking up, having breakfast, then playing video games, heading over to a friend's house to swim, riding bikes, playing baseball in the street, barbeques, road trips, etc.
#3 The Joy Of Blown Tires
Road trips were always the best. My favorite was a trip down to Florida. We had three tires blow out during the drive, but it ended up being such a great night because of the frequent stops. My three siblings and I caught fireflies on the side of the road and just joked around. Who would’ve thought three blown tires would result in one of my favorite childhood memories?
#4 A Parent's Love
Growing up, I didn't realize how poor we were. My parents were amazing at providing for us. We loved watching baseball games and I wanted to go to a game so bad. We never could afford it. To make up for it, while we were at school, my mom made up tickets to that night's game and money for us to "spend." When we got home, she had set up chairs in front of the TV and numbered them.
She gave us the tickets and money, then told us to go clean up before the game. Come game time, we lined up at the doorway—my dad took our tickets and told us how to get to our seats. After the game started, my parents went to the kitchen and had a tray of hot dogs, candy and soda. "Hot dogs! Get your hot dogs!" We got out the money my mom made and bought whatever snacks we wanted.
Best baseball game I've ever been to.
#5 A Stick Of Chalk
I remember being a farm kid, sitting behind my older sister on a horse, ambling around our yard in the dark, and looking up at the stars while my sister sang with the softest most beautiful voice I've ever heard. I fell asleep leaning on her back as she sang. Epilogue: The next day at school, I tried to eat a stick of chalk to make my voice softer like my sister's. It was a terrible failure.
#6 A Girl Named Amanda
Eighth-grader Amanda, my first hard crush, told 5th-grader me that I was cute on the school bus... I don’t know if I’ve ever been quite that happy again later on in my life. Don’t tell my wife and kids I said that. That was a really sweet thing for her to do. Eighth-grade girls aren't exactly known for their inclusiveness and tenderness.
#7 A Warm Memory
I was maybe five or six years old. I woke up in the middle of the night to use the restroom. It was that perfect time where everything was quiet and dark and it just felt so still. When I walked through the living room, my grandfather was sitting in his chair at the table eating buttered saltines. He invited me to sit with him and have a snack, which felt amazing to me since individual time with him was extremely rare.
The room was lit only by the warm glow of the nightlight from the kitchen. I don't remember if we talked except for when he told me I'd better be back off to bed, but I remember how it felt. I remember his presence; how big his silhouette looked, sitting across from me, how calm and soothing it was just to be there. It's that kind of memory that just wraps itself around you and envelopes you in warmth. It's one of those moments where everything falls away and nothing else exists. Just dark, quiet, and some buttered crackers. He passed away from cancer not long after that, and that's one of the only memories I have of him.
#8 A Creative Mind
My stepfather designed theater sets and installed a jungle design in my room after the play was over. He used many set props like the huge Wizard of Oz mask he made. He built me a dollhouse out of cardboard with real electricity and everything. He gave me such an appreciation for fine arts and I even thank him for making me work on his sets growing up.
#9 How Bittersweet Growing Up Is
I miss not having to think about tomorrow. Just waking up, hooking up with friends, spending all day playing stupid games, laughing, fighting, discovering. Nowadays, if I have half a day to myself, I think about how I can use it to do something work-related so that I can take it easier on the working days.
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#10 Best Road Trip Ever
My family vacation to Colorado to ski. They piled all the grandkids in the back of the van, removed the bench seats and replaced them with air mattresses. They hooked up a TV and VHS player and we all watched the original Scream movie while eating road trip snacks and annoying the life out of our grandparents. We took pictures during the whole ride on disposable cameras. I think my older cousins mooned a few unsuspecting strangers. 18 hours there and 18 hours back and the ride was just as good as the actual vacation.
#11 A Musical Movie Moment
When I first figured out how to play drums. It was such a stereotypical "movie moment," but I used to always play on an electric kit (not very well). As soon as I sat behind an actual kit, something clicked in my brain and my hands could move like they hadn't before. If that moment hadn't happened, I don't think I'd be where I am today.
#12 Let's Go Exploring!
My parents' house had a huge prairie field beyond its backyard. There was a lot of wildlife, giant ponds, and tiny forests scattered throughout a giant plain. As an introverted child, I remember going on so many adventures here until the sun came down. One particular moment that sticks with me was sitting on my fence, overlooking the fields watching the sunset with my dog after a long day of playing.
It's not a particularly eventful moment but I remember thinking that moment was perfect. As a kid that grew up reading Calvin and Hobbes, I feel so fortunate I got to grow up in the area I did. It was like I was living the life of my favorite comic. Let's go exploring!
#13 Lego Bonding
Kind of sad, but before my brother passed away, he and I spent a whole day playing with Lego and building cool things. It really impacted me positively. I was about nine years old at the time.
#14 Brotherly Love
I lost my brother when I was eight years old and one of my clearest specific memories from those early years is laying on his bed with his arm around me, looking through an I Spy book together. We were finding stuff together and he was teaching me what certain words meant that the book was asking for. I don’t remember him as well as I’d like, but I know he loved me.
#15 The Story Of Snoopy
When I was 10 years old, my parents made help out back to clear out the dandelions that had taken over our backyard. It was going to take a while because of how crazy it was, but I was taking even longer to help because I was so distracted by the cute puppy our next-door neighbor had.
I found out that his parents were going to take him back to the shelter because their son wasn't taking good care of him as he promised. They offered to sell him to me for $20 and I had that saved up, so I went back and forth begging my parents if we could get him. They finally caved and he became ours.
I named him Snoopy and have never been as happy as I was that day. I was an only child so I looked so much forward to having a dog to play with and go on adventures with. It's definitely my favorite memory because he meant to much to me in the almost 17 years he was a part of my life.
#16 Hooting Like Owls
There are many, but just last night my husband said something that unlocked this one: My dad was (and still is) an avid birder. He would teach me little things about birds and how to identify them by sight and call. We had a little ritual every night after dinner where we would walk outside in the darkness, all the way to the barn and back, hooting like owls to try and get the owls to hoot back at us. Sometimes, it worked. Most of the time, it didn’t. But every time, I got to spend moments with my dad.
#17 A Fairytale Feeling
I was in seventh grade. My childhood crush kissed me for the first and last time. We went out and spent the entire day roaming around our neighborhood and held hands at sunset. We recently met again after 19 years. We've grown up different now, but that memory is still the happiest one I have. There's something so pure and innocent about childhood love. When you have no care in the world except for that person beside you... When you feel those butterflies in your stomach as you're about to have your first kiss... It's a fairytale feeling.
#18 A Lesson In Humility
Probably when I was still in that phase where I was oblivious to my family's problems. We used to be on food stamps and my parents would get us these TV dinners from a neighbor. I actually loved them and thought they were the best. My mom never made us feel like we were missing out and it helped me also become grateful for everything in life.
#19 It's Going To Be A Good Day
I used to wake up some days to my dad playing "Wish You Were Here" on the guitar downstairs and making breakfast. If this ever happened, I knew it was going to be a good day. It's been a long time since I've heard him play that song though. I would do anything to wake up to it one more time.
#20 The Little Moments
I think one of my favorite memories is sitting in the kitchen at my dad's place. It was a weekend morning and even though there were six kids in that house, he was playing card games and chess with me. We played for ages and he taught me some new games too. He wasn't always the best dad, but I really cherish the times where he made me feel important like that.
#21 A Cute Pastime
My dad was in the army so he was always busy. He wasn’t able to play the guitar very often. Every time he did, he’d play "Little Red Riding Hood" for me so I could sit on his lap and sing the "awooo." He also played the werewolf in a play in London and watching him perform makes up a lot of my favorite memories of my dad. Every time he plays for me, he makes me feel so special.
#22 Missing The Good Ol' Days
Just being a child. Everything seemed like magic. Every adult was so kind. My parents were still young and healthy. I’d see members of my family so often. Each day seemed to last forever. Everything was free and it was enough. I need a hug.
#23 The Joy Of Star Wars
I remember when Star Wars Episode 3 came out on DVD. I remember me and my brother waiting all day by the door for it to be posted and when it finally came, we were jumping around the room. We couldn't wait for our dad to come home from work to set up the portable DVD player so my brothers and I could lie on the floor around this tiny screen watching it. Best memory ever.
#24 Background Noise
Just one day waking up to the sound of a busy household was my best day. It wasn't any particularly different day, but that one morning has been stuck in my memory for as long as I could remember while growing up. My father was cooking, my mother was talking to her sisters, and all of my siblings were playing games with each other.
#25 Hanging Out With Mom And Dad
Helping my dad fix things around the house. I always loved tools and fixing things, and it was so satisfying when we got a job done. My mom would also read us The Hobbit, one chapter each night, and we were always so excited for the next chapter. I re-read it, but it's not the same when you read it in a day compared to having it span weeks. It made it seem like a much longer adventure.
#26 The Goat Farm
We went to a goat farm and I bought some corn. The goats were so gentle and friendly. Even though they were excited, they didn't bite and only licked my hand. It tickled me and it felt very sticky, but they were so cute. It is a good memory for me because it's one of the only ones that feel so misplaced — I don't remember when and where this occurred, but it for sure was a surprise that my parents took me there.
#27 A Dad's Sacrifice
My dad accompanied me on a kindergarten field trip to a local apple orchard. This was an incredibly special moment for me because, at the time, my family had just immigrated to Canada and both of my parents just landed new jobs. My dad worked a night shift, so whenever he was home during the day, we didn't really get to spend much time together since he'd be catching up on sleep before his next shift.
It didn't feel like it back then, but thinking about it now, I realize just how much it meant to me that he'd take time out of his day to come with me. All the other kids had their moms or dads with them, and I felt good that I had mine with me too. He still went to work that night—he was probably so exhausted, but I knew he wouldn't trade that moment with me for anything in the world.
#28 Before The Downward Spiral
Falling asleep in my dad's arms while he was dancing with my mom in the living room. They separated a few months later and my childhood turned into an endless stream of neglect and psychological abuse. I still treasure that memory—it was one of the few times I felt completely secure during my childhood.
#29 Man's Best Friend
My parents didn't let me have a dog. Then, one day coming home from school, I found a puppy on the side of the road all alone and scared. I took him home and my parents let me keep him. I never felt so happy taking care of him. That day was magical and the eight years we spent together afterward made my childhood special. I've always had dogs since, but none as special as little Snoopy was.
#30 Hideaway In The Adirondacks
My grandparents had a place on a pond in the outskirts of the Adirondacks. We'd hit that place up countless times in the summer, and a few times in the winter. Swimming, exploring, fishing, hiking, mini-golf and ice cream nearby. Great dinners. An old fashioned bowling machine in the parlor. Never a bad memory of that place.
#31 Water Fights In The Rain
Having water fights in my neighbors’ backyard when it was pouring so hard we didn’t even need to go swimming. We dumped water that collected in puddles on the driveway all over each other and used water guns to have water fights. I don’t have a reason why I chose this memory, it was just a lot of fun. I miss those days—we didn't have a care in the world back then.
#32 Rock On, Dude
My first rock concert. I was probably 14 and it changed the course of my life. It was Goldfinger, a band I could kind of take or leave today (I neither love them nor actively dislike them), but I loved them at the time. It was at a pretty small place where it was acceptable to stage dive, so you could literally just go on stage with the band anytime you wanted. From then on, I’ve been pursuing music. I’ve never been covered in so many chills as that night.
#33 An Era Without Smartphones
I grew up in the countryside of North Carolina. Our neighborhood was close to a small lake and some abandoned cabins, so my friends and I would ride our bikes or walk over there and do our homework after school, play games, talk about girls or sports, and go skinny dipping all day in the summer. It’s the smallest things if I think about it now, but I just miss being an innocent, shameless kid. Things were much simpler back then, especially we had to find ways to have fun since smartphones didn’t exist.
#34 High In The Sky
Flying on an airplane with my dad when I was barely old enough to remember. I was at an age before anything was embarrassing and I only had fun. During the landing, my dad and I “helped the plane land” by putting our arms straight up in the air like an airplane and making airplane noises. Everyone was so impressed by my landing skills that the air hostess came and presented me with an official pin from the airline.
#35 The Wail Of The Loons
At the lake, at dusk, just before going to sleep in the tent. The loons start to make their haunting wail call on a summer evening. A long drawn outcry answered by a tremolo on the other side of the lake. Everything else is completely silent aside from the gentle lap of water on the shore.
#36 Lessons From A Master Seamstress
My grandmother was a master seamstress. She taught all of her granddaughters to sew. This included machine sewing and hand-embroidery. I was an awkward, nerdy kid who always felt like I was in the way. One day, my grandmother set me aside and taught me how to do silk (or ribbon) embroidery. I was the only one she taught this particular method to. I still remember how special it made me feel; the rare one-on-one time with grandma, as well as being important enough to be taught a "special" skill.
#37 Love For The Outdoors
I grew up in a city, but my parents had a small property with a cabin on a river. Visiting there was my favorite thing to do. Perhaps that is where my "outdoorsy" inclination came from. I've only lived in one medium-sized city since then—everywhere else has been in a small town or in the country.
#38 Just In Case
I was probably only three or four years old. I was just laying between my parents on their bed. They didn’t know I was still awake, and I listened as they talked about how much they loved me. I’m a mother now, and even though my daughter is small I try to do the same thing just in case she can hear me. Those little moments stick with you forever.
#39 Conquering The Sicilian Pizzas
Walking to a pizza store and eating two giant Sicilian pizzas with four other friends in middle school. The owner laughed, saying that we wouldn't even finish one of them, but we stubbornly ate both of them to prove him wrong. We were so full we practically had to roll back home, but the restaurant was cheering us on the way out and anytime we ordered Sicilian pizzas over the phone, they'd ask if it was us again. It was really the first time we'd gone out anywhere without parents, spent our own money, and we conquered Sicilian pizzas to boot!
#40 Snow Daze
I grew up in California where we had never seen snow. One day, my father took my siblings and me to the mountains where it had recently snowed. We were having so much fun we didn't want to leave. He then shoveled snow into the back of the pick-up truck and took us back home. Some of it had melted but the rest that was there. He piled it up in our front yard so that we could play. Some neighbors would come over with a cup so they could get some of our snow. Eventually, all of it melted, but that memory still stayed.
#41 A Moment Of Tranquility
I was around four years old. I remember just laying down on my parents' bed. The sun was shining through the window and it was one of the most comfortable feelings at that time. I was so relaxed just laying on the blanket on top of the pillows with the sun on me.
#42 Before The Storm
When I was younger, some nights my dad would pick me up out of bed and put me in between him and my mom. I was a light sleeper so this would wake me up, but I didn't mind. I would feel both their arms around me and I remember thinking, "It's going to be like this forever." I was wrong. They got divorced when I was seven and those moments were the only times I remember them as partners. It's been a few years, but I still hold tight to those moments.
#43 Too Young To Know
I'll always remember the last time my parents were together celebrating my birthday together with me. My dad passed away from cancer before my eighth birthday. I was too young to know what was cancer back then. My birthdays have never been the same since then.
#44 WoW Buddy
My middle school best friend and I loved hanging out in the same room and playing World of Warcraft. We didn't have a car, obviously, so we would have to walk two miles to meet. He would be pushing his computer on his skateboard. We would eventually make it to my house. So much fun.
#45 A Life Spared
My dad saved my life. We were swimming in the Muskegon river and I swam out too far and the current grabbed me. My dad swam out and grabbed me.