Last year, my husband and I decided to build our daughter a dollhouse for Christmas. She had been talking about wanting one for a while, and we wanted it to be extra special, so we bought a kit and worked diligently for four months to complete it. I also made the majority of the furniture, the “hardwood” floor in the kitchen, master bedroom and living room, as well as some accent and decorative pieces.
While building the dollhouse, I realized there were some good life lessons to be learned from the process, which I will share with my daughter.
Do Not Give Up
This process was oftentimes frustrating! Struggling to figure out which pieces went where, deciding on colors and researching how to make real-life items on a dollhouse scale were time-consuming. If I could not get something just right or had been working on one thing for too long, I had to remind myself to walk away. Taking a break helped refresh my mind or to think about a solution to the problem (or to read the directions yet one more time) from a different perspective. I did not just abandon ship, though. I came back to it the next hour (or day or week!) and tried again. Dear daughter, I pray that you do not give up easily in life. I pray that you persevere, but cut yourself some slack and take a break if needed. Refresh your mind and body and always try again.
Use the Right Glue
I could not believe all the different glues that are out there. I used wood glue for the wooden furniture, craft glue to hold the dollhouse together, a special paste for the wallpaper, and yet another glue for the shingles. As I used the various glues and adhesives to hold everything together, I pray that you use the right glue in your life as you continue to grow up and form relationships with others. I pray that you strengthen the bonds and hold on tight to the people who love, support and respect you. I also pray for the future relationships that may not be strong or that have the wrong glue holding them together, and that you would learn to let these go and surround yourself with the right people instead.
Things Break and Accidents Happen
A few weeks after you had your dollhouse, you came to me with a worried look on your face. “I’m so sorry Mom, but the chair broke” and you handed me one of the little chairs I had made for the dining room table. I explained to you that it was okay and that I would fix it, but not to be upset. I told you that accidents happen and that sometimes things break. I glued the chair leg back on the chair and gave it back to you the next day. I know you may not understand now, but I told you that sometimes we won’t be able to fix everything in your life, and that’s okay, but that I will still love you, no matter what. I pray that you learn from your mistakes and understand that sometimes life is not fair.
I wish there was some way I knew how many hours we spent working on this dollhouse. I do know, for a fact, that it took me 8 hours (plus about 30 more hours of drying time) to build the fireplace for the living room. There were days I made the same thing over and over. It took me five times to get the clay bathtub just right and probably eight times to make the toilet look like a toilet. I had to make the bunk-bed twice as the first attempt was made out of too frail of materials. As I painstakingly made the furniture and the accents for your dollhouse, I prayed for patience in your life. We live in such an instant world – wants and needs delivered to our homes within hours, food delivered to our homes within minutes and advertisements almost everywhere telling us that we do not have time to wait for anything.
Almost once a week, you make a comment about growing up and being a mom. I love that you desire this for your life, but please, sweet girl, love the life you have now and enjoy being who you are now. You will grow up soon enough and probably wish you had not, so enjoy this time.
Things are Not Everything in Life
Let’s be honest – this dollhouse is nicer and more fun than our own house! Crown molding, an island in the kitchen, bunk beds, a huge porch and a very fun playroom are things our real house does not have, but it was fun to dream and make it as nice as possible for you. We spent a lot of time and detail to make your dollhouse something that you will cherish and love to play with for many years. We hope that your future children will love to play with it as well and that it will stay in our family for many generations.
I also want you to know that life is not about having the biggest or the best or the nicest “stuff.” I want you to prioritize relationships and love and kindness to others above all else. I want you to know that even though you may not have had the newest toys or clothes growing up that you had (and will always have) a Mommy and a Daddy who love you unconditionally and infinitely. I hope that this makes you feel richer than any material possession ever could.
I love watching you play with your dollhouse. The little family members each have their own personalities, and I enjoy seeing you pretend. I had so much fun helping Daddy put this together for you. My ultimate hope is that I can continue to reinforce these real-life lessons with you as you grow!