When you're a kid, you spend most of your time peering into the future, mostly because there's not much past to recall. When you get really old, a lot of your time is spent looking back, remembering what was because what's much too near at hand is often nothing we want to contemplate too deeply. It catches us all, eventually, and I think by then we have sorted out what memories we will keep for comfort food, and which we will ignore, deny, or forget entirely.
But somewhere in the middle I think a lot of us begin to look back at what our childhood was like, and our parents, relatives, and friends, and wonder how much of that shaped us directly, gave us a gentle shove in a particular direction, seemed to have no influence at all--or became something that we learned to work around or tunnel away from, in order to survive.
Many people spend a lot of time denying the past, pretending it doesnt matter, when in fact it's all we have of who we were. How we reacted to it, from the inside, often has a great influence over the rest of our lives. And equally interesting, as we mature, our point of view changes--we become, often, more dispassionate about things, and now and then have some pretty heavy insights into not what our parents did to or for or about us, but why.
The why is the key. And denying that childhood, that base we all stand on, is denying that we ever had one, sort of. And sometimes it says, if it didnt matter, then I don't, either. I think it's the key to everything, to us, and to how we deal with our own kids and grandkids. It matters, if only to us.