As a kid we would make a trip every other year to Chicago to visit my Polish grandmother.
The thing that I loved the most, aside from the buttery sauerkraut pierogis and big bear hugs, was Colleen Moore’s fairy castle at the Museum of Science and Industry.
Every single trip I had to circle that thing over and over again. Sometimes I would just stop and stare, taking in all of the intricate details:
Marble bathrooms with running water. The weeping willow that actually cried and the rock-a-bye-baby crib. Tiny books of fairy tales. Gilded beds.
I had this dream that I was really adopted. These other people could not possibly be my family. Someday I would find out that I was really a rich princess and then I would buy this very same dollhouse.
One day I realized that I really wasn’t a princess. My real parents weren’t coming for me.
So I decided to make my own dollhouse.
I used cardboard boxes from the local wholesale club, adding on rooms with each trip. I used the plastic from package “windows” to make the glass of windows. Tubing from broken squirt guns made plumbing. Curtains and linens were cut from fabric scraps. I used old tinfoil for mirrors. I constructed furniture from left over cardboard.
Before long I had a mansion that rivaled the fairy tale castle, complete with a pool on the roof.
My daughter wants a dollhouse.
I can afford to get her a fabulous one, with tiny furniture and a working doorbell. I want so desperately to give her everything her heart desires…
…and yet I also want her to learn to how to make her own dreams come true.
So no dollhouse. For now.