Revisiting Childhood Places with Our Kids: More Than Just a Ride Down Memory Lane

Revisiting Childhood Places with Our Kids: More Than Just a Ride Down Memory Lane


Diary of Easter Vacation in my Hometown, April 2024

Easter vacation was a whirlwind of emotions, memories, and family bonding. As we embarked on this journey back to my home country with my husband and kids, I couldn't help but feel a sense of excitement mixed with a hint of nostalgia. Being away from our busy lives in Lausanne and immersing ourselves in the familiar surroundings of my childhood town was like hitting the pause button on reality.

It's been nearly four years since we left, but we make it a point to visit often, keeping our connection to family and our roots alive for our children. There's something magical about revisiting the places where our fondest memories were made. It's as if each street corner holds a piece of our past, waiting to be rediscovered. And with every step, the sights, smells, and sounds of my childhood came rushing back.

At that moment, I couldn’t help but remember my readings of Christine Ulivucci, a transgenerational psychoanalyst and author. Her words resonated deeply with me as we explored these familiar spaces: "Smells, colors, lights, sounds... the relationship with the place, very physical, engages all the senses." Indeed, the intensity of emotion isn't measured by the distance traveled; even the smallest details sparked powerful sensations, stirring up memories buried deep within us.

Returning to these familiar places was like stepping into a time machine, transporting me back to a time where our biggest worry was choosing our next game or who would snag the last slice of pizza. It was a journey that not only allowed me to relive cherished moments but also reconnect with the people who shaped my early years, wether it be my parents, siblings, and childhood friends.

For Ulivucci, revisiting these childhood places offers profound benefits, especially when shared with family: "Seeing where parents grew up, with all that it says about the atmosphere, the way of life, and the mode of education, places children in the heart of a story." This transmission of family memory serves as a sturdy anchor for children, providing them with a sense of continuity and belonging.

Moreover, seeing these places through the eyes of our own children offers a fresh perspective on our past, allowing us to reflect on our growth and the lessons learned along the way. It's a reminder of the enduring importance of family bonds, even as we navigate the ever-changing landscape of life.

But amidst the joy of reconnecting with our roots, I couldn't help but notice a twinge of a bittersweet feeling. In fact, reality often falls short of expectations, as neighborhoods change over time and childhood homes are no longer as they once were. And I understand that for some, revisiting these places may be tinged with pain, particularly if associated with traumatic events.

For my children, this journey was a mix of excitement and exhaustion. While they reveled in the adventure of exploring new places, being surrounded by loved ones, meeting new people everyday and hearing stories from my childhood, there were moments when they longed for the comfort of their own beds back in Lausanne. It was a gentle reminder of the importance of feeling "home" and of their perception and sense of place. 

As we returned from our Easter vacation, I couldn't help but feel grateful for the memories we created and the bonds we strengthened as a family. It was not just a vacation, but a journey of self-discovery and family bonding that we'll treasure for years to come.

And if you have visited, are visiting, or planning to visit your childhood places, I can only tell you to not refrain from seizing the opportunity to reconnect with your inner child – to laugh, play, and dream without inhibition.

Here's to cherishing the memories of days gone by while creating new ones for the future. And may we never forget the magic that resides in the places that shaped us.

Until next time,


Illustrations et Photographie: Myriam K.

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