Sunday, December 27, 2015

The dollhouse

My friend's dollhouse looks a lot like this one.

This Christmas a friend's little daughter got a dollhouse. It's actually a pretty cool DIY invention, made from a bookcase with holes cut into the shelves for stairs, running from one story to another. So maybe a five-story dollhouse is not realistic, but she absolutely adores it.

I also had a dollhouse as a child, the style of which was not quite realistic for little me, but which I also absolutely adored. It was a one-story, ranch style 1960's house with a big kitchen, fireplace, and large bedrooms. It was totally beyond my 5-year old realm of comprehension because I grew up in a city-style, compact apartment building in the heart of Los Angeles.

The dollhouse of my dreams...and eventual home of my reality.

The dollhouse had beautiful wood credenzas and sideboards and hutches (furniture designed to evoke permanence -- not very moveable, as most apartment furniture must be). There was a large sofa floated in the middle of the living room facing the fireplace, plus a breakfast nook table in addition to the formal dining room. Since we lived in a such a small, shared space we had none of these things, but it spoke of a home I badly wanted. 

Even at a young age sometimes you are conscious of the things you don't have and feel like you were supposed to get, as part of some pre-birth deal with The Creator. But often the contract with said Creator is, in fact correct. You will get the thing(s) you feel like you should have received...but you may have to work to get it for it yourself, much later in life than you'd ever imagined.

I'm not knocking my childhood, indeed I have many happy memories from that neighborhood, which was mostly comprised of houses with stable, long-term families residing in them, unlike our apartments, which had a constantly rotating group of tenants. 

It's interesting to note that my parents could actually well have afforded a house in that same neighborhood, but chose not to live in one, because they thought it was just too much work -- a roof that would eventually need replacing, the carpet and paint they'd have to pay for themselves, a back garden and front yard to mow and tend to, etc. And of course they somehow managed to bring home from the hospital that one kid who felt these things were essential for a happy life. MoĆ­.

My dream come true, in its early form.

That's because if there's ever a kid who belonged in a house rather than an apartment, and indeed in the country rather than the city, it was me. I've known it from the time I was born, which is probably why I glommed onto that ranch dollhouse the way I did. Isn't it funny how sometimes we have to spend the first 30 years of our lives finding our way home? 

Perhaps the dollhouse was a premonition of the future, or maybe just a deep longing brought to life in miniature, but I spent many, many hours creating garden space outside the little doll/ranch house, moving furniture around inside, and dreaming I was actually living within its brick and wood-siding walls.

And so, seeing the little Christmas dollhouse my friend got her daughter made me realize many times you're born knowing where you belong, and you might find it first visualized in a gift, or an afternoon or vacation spent someplace memorable, or even just a picture in a magazine that calls to you and says, "someday."

Check out the rooster on the chimney! 

Who knows, maybe there's a high-rise, multi-story house in my friend's daughter's future. Only time will tell what she gravitates towards and what she sees in her early life that speaks to her. But when those things do speak, both children and parents need to listen and let the little ones walk the path towards their destiny, whether it's a profession, a hobby...or just a nice house with a garden and a sofa by the fireplace.


  1. So I read half this post on the 27th, I was having a brunch and excused myself in annoyance for a little bit in the form of taking Barbie out. And I thought "this is totally her house now!".
    I love this. Your writing is so evocative. And you found your way there!
    I loved dollhouses too. I still do! My favorite toy was a plywood stable my dad built for me. My mom made a paddock in the middle with moss! I think I realized how weird I was as a child when I embarked on making a shingle roof with Popsicle stick pieces.

    1. But you know, maybe "childhood you" just knew what you might like to have someday and worked on creating a model of it first! I'd like to think that your stable and paddock is still up there in the future, waiting for you and your future animals.