Image: Pixabay

April was birthday season at our house. All four of us celebrate over 11 days. It’s a lot of candles.

And not always the right presents.

Years ago I bought a dollhouse for my daughter. There were so many things that I loved about it. It was wooden! The roof has solar panels, and a windmill for the cloudy, blustery days. There are recycling bins! And a rain barrel to water the urban garden. Did I mention a multi-generational multi-ethnic family including pets? Really, there was so much to love.

What wasn’t to love? It wasn’t pink. It wasn’t plastic. It wasn’t filled with dolls of impossibly proportioned size.

It wasn’t played with.

It was a gift mistakenly given. It was given for a host of great reasons, but not for the right one. It didn’t make my daughter’s heart sing. And so it sat. Untouched. We moved it to different rooms in the house, thinking strategic placement was the issue. Nope. We engaged in the play with her, thinking modeling would make the difference. Nada.

She just isn’t a dollhouse kind of girl. And that’s just fine.

Yet all these years later, we still have the dollhouse. It has made one final relocation to the garage, where it quietly sits in a corner and each time we clean my husband raises a silent eyebrow in question. And each time my reply is not yet. I’m not yet ready to hand-it-down or donate it.

Because I’m still learning how to play.quotes-729173_1280The dollhouse taught me that the best decisions are based on what makes my heart sing instead of what I think I should be doing. How to be confident in our choices because they are the right ones for us. They don’t have to be right for anyone else. And I don’t need to be bristly defensive or overly proud of what we choose, either. I learned that from the dollhouse, too. I was telling (OK, let’s be honest, bragging to) a friend about all of the dollhouse’s eco-attributes when he cut me off.

“We got that exact dollhouse for our daughter, too. On Craigslist.”

Full “we take even better care of the earth by not buying a new one” smackdown.

The dollhouse might not have been a great present for Eleanor, but it was an important one for me. So I think I’ll keep it a few more years. Who knows what else I’ll learn?

Until then, won’t you tell me about the dollhouse lessons in your life? Or better yet, come over so we can play.