I don’t know about you, but I really miss my childhood. I think about it a lot. I think about it when I’m slowly walking behind a kid in a stroller or on the back of some passing bike. I think about it when I’m on my way to work and pass some kids running in the park or screaming down the street. I think about it when I’m weighed down with responsibility and loneliness and pass some kids holding their parents' hands on the way to get some ice cream.
Lucky bastards. Sucking on their lollipops as they’re pushed throughout the city. Crying when they don’t get their way, watching "Sesame Street" and "Toy Story" as mom cooks dinner, maybe going to the park after some well deserved ice cream. Their biggest fight is having to take a bath and their biggest worry is stepping in the lava when trying to get to the couch.
Man, those were the days.
The days of unrestrained carelessness, zero responsibility and the idea that life will always be full of SpongeBob macaroni and cheese and mom’s homemade lunches -- these were the best days of your life.
They were the days that will always be reminisced on with a certain nostalgia and hopefulness. They are the days that will forever be immortalized as the beauty of youth and friendship. Because let’s not forget the people you spent those days with, they were probably the best people you’ve met in life thus far.
The kids you tore it up with, the neighbor you jumped fences with, the ones with whom you shared your boxes of cracker jacks. Remember them? Remember those friends? The kids you had those sleepovers with and shared apple slices and sucked down Capri Suns next to? The ones with whom you wore onesie pajamas with no shame and maybe threw a tantrum or two in front of. The ones you went to Disney On Ice with and probably played tag with at least 40,000 times in that park.
Of course you remember them, they’re the best people you ever knew in the best time of your life.
As we get older, the world gets a little darker and suddenly it’s not all Lunchables and toys from McDonald's. There are no more ball pits and ice cream cakes. Slowly you learn it's about betrayal and heartache, mean girls and horny boys. Friends become enemies and drama becomes a consistent threat in your aging life. There are social circles and backstabbing and you will most likely change friends a few times -- leaving some, gaining some and forgetting many.
However, as you think back to the friends you lost and gained, the ones who scorned you and made your life hell throughout those adolescent years, or the ones who you met along the way, you always reminisce about those friends from your early childhood with a type of pure bliss that’s now uncommon in your hectic life.
You may have lost touch by now, maybe you haven’t spoken in a few years, except for the obligatory “Happy Birthday!” Facebook posts, or maybe you’re still best friends and kept the friendship solid and consistent through those turbulent years of middle school and high school.
Whether you’re still talking or not, you will always look back on your childhood friends with a fondness and pure love that's incomparable to the relationships you hold now, because they were with you during the most beautiful time of your life and you’ll never forget that.
Mr. Potato Head was the only man you ever fought over.
You tagged them on the back before you tagged them in photos.
Coca-Cola was the only bottle you chugged together.
The only red velvet ropes you cared about were red vines.
The only time you fought over a girl was when deciding who would be Kim, the Pink Ranger.
You played My Little Pony before you sang along to “Ride My Pony.”
You got candy highs before any other type of high.
Chocolate milk was the only brown liquid you chugged from glasses.
You wore overalls together before hipsters took them over.
Monopoly money was the only time your friends borrowed money from you.
Your pop-up books were the only books you ever poked.
You called them on string cans before cell phones were even invented.
Pin the tail on the donkey was the only tail you ever chased.
Fruit Roll-Ups were the only things you ever rolled together.
The only times you fought over clothes was with Barbie.
You held each other's hands before the sorority girls.
You skipped rocks together before you learned to skip school.
You pretended to be drunk before you pretended to be sober.
You wore matching Pocahontas Halloween costumes before it was slutty.
You used trees for hide-and-seek before you learned to burn them.
You dug holes together before you learned how to dig yourself into one.
Candy cigarettes were the only things you puffed together.
Photo credit: The Goonies