A Dream House in a Dollhouse
A lifelong childhood dream can come true.
Posted Nov 09, 2020
I've wanted a dollhouse from the time I was a little girl—one of those two-story, open-in-the-front decorated houses to kneel in front of, imagining a special world within. As much as my mother generously gifted me with items on my "wish lists" throughout my childhood, I never had an official dollhouse with miniature furniture in each of the rooms and little inhabitants, all with their tiny matching clothing.
I could never justify purchasing a dollhouse as a young mother with three growing boys, boys who preferred cars, trucks, and Nintendo games. “Yuck,” they said in unison. “Why would we want a dollhouse? Buy it for yourself, Mom, and then you can play with it.” (This is what they said regarding dolls, so I have taken poetic license to transfer this statement to my dollhouse dreams.)
My husband Paul reminded me that it was an expense we didn’t need and, of course, his argument was quite valid. We had three sets of braces, camps, clothing, the kids’ own desires for toys and games, books, their evolving furniture needs, Bar Mitzvahs, graduations, college tuitions, and weddings. The dollhouse was so far down on my list of priorities that it virtually disappeared into the recesses of my mind for many years.
When my granddaughter Rose was born almost four years ago, she joined me as the only other girl in the Jaffe family, and the "dollhouse bell" went off in my heart once again. Rose was my ticket to legitimacy… I would finally get my dollhouse, for which I waited 64 ½ years.
“Why are you buying a dollhouse?” Paul asked as if he didn’t already know the answer. “For Rose, but really for me.” There, I said it. The honesty came out with conviction and joy as I began my online search for the perfect two-story Victorian dollhouse, the appropriate period furnishings, and the family who would live there.
Rose and I play with the Victorian dollhouse strategically placed in our guest bedroom, once the bedroom of her Uncle Brian, my youngest son, who is now 35. This bedroom has become the bedroom for the grandkids as well. I always encourage Rose’s older brother Ezzie to play with us as we crouch in front of the wooden structure. He is especially interested in the tiny remote control for the non-Victorian TV as well as the white-painted grandfather clock. He lasts about five minutes and then moves on to something else. Still, for a short time, he has fun.
I am hopeful his cousin Cole, soon to be 1, will also find the house of interest, but it seems clear to me that Rose (and I) are the true lovers of the miniature house. Ezzie is most interested when he comes over and asks, “Did you get anything new for the dollhouse?” “Yes!” I respond with excitement, and I add: “I got lights for the nursery and bought a birdcage for the hallway.” He runs into the bedroom to see the tiny additions, so in his own way, he appreciates this miniature world.
It's possible that the reader might think that I am vapid, devoid of depth, focusing on my dollhouse when there is a pandemic, when our country and the world have witnessed extremism in religion and race, when climate change has become perilous and democracy cannot be taken for granted. How ridiculous is a dollhouse as the latest subject about which to write? However, this small joy is yet another window into my soul and part of my life’s journey, one in which I choose to share with my readers and a secret passion which I have suppressed all these years.
There, you have it. I love my dollhouse and most of all how it makes me feel—like a little girl again, taking me away to the sweet spot of childhood when I felt so free and unencumbered. Sometimes, it is the simple pleasures of our childhoods that provide the necessary antidotes to the challenges of our adult lives.