I am submitting this story for consideration for Cami's new book. I hope that you all like it.
During the summer when I was ten years old, my parents and I traveled to Virginia to visit Walter and Vera Munden who were long-time friends of the family. Walter & Vera lived in a large, old farmhouse with two stories, many rooms, and two staircases -- one on each side of the house leading to the upper level. When we returned home from our trip, my father told me that he had been planning on building a dollhouse for me and asked me what kind of dollhouse I wanted. I promptly told him with excitement and a gleam in my eyes that I wanted a dollhouse that looked like Walter and Vera’s house. His eyes grew wide and very sternly said, “Oh, no! I’ll build you a nice dollhouse”. And he did.
My dollhouse was a work of love by my father. He worked on it in the garage many nights and weekends and oftentimes, I would excitedly watch him as he built it. It had two stories, three dormers, three bedrooms, a bathroom, a kitchen, living room, dining room and a staircase. Dad was very proud of how the small staircase turned out since he used an eight inch table saw to build it. The dollhouse even had plastic windows. It was beautiful! It was sturdy and solid. And I was as pleased as a little girl could be!
I had years of enjoyment with it and it had come with me as I moved from home to home. Each time I looked at my dollhouse I smiled, because I knew my father built it for me with his bare hands, talent and a lot of love!
Needless to say, I am no longer as youthful as I once was, and for many years my dollhouse had remained untouched. I don’t have a daughter to pass it down to and I thought that it was a shame that my dollhouse was just sitting on a shelf in my garage without being enjoyed by a young girl. I gave it a lot of thought and prayer and I asked my father if he would mind if I gave away my dollhouse to a little girl that would enjoy it. He thought that it was a great idea that another little girl could play with it.
Shortly after the conversation with my dad, I offered the dollhouse on FreeCycle.org. While I was writing the post to offer the dollhouse, I prayed to God that He would lead me to the right person to gift the dollhouse. I received over forty responses over the course of a week’s time. Many requests seemed quite ordinary to me, but I narrowed it down to three responses as each seemed especially deserving. I read and re-read the responses of the three and asking for God’s guidance of whom to gift the dollhouse.
One response however, really stood out to me. It was from a woman named Barbara that was an adoptive mom of a six-year old girl named Emily that has fetal alcohol syndrome. After talking on the phone for more than 45 minutes, I came to find out that Barbara and her husband, Bill, have eight biological older children, four adoptive younger children and that Bill is a Pastor of a Lutheran church in Milwaukee. Barbara explained to me that Emily loves playing with little, miniature things. She loves playing with her dolls and toys for hours and afterwards emerges a happier, calmer child. She also mentioned that Emily tries to make friends but isn’t too successful. I had the same experience growing up--trying to make friends. Making friends didn’t come quite so easily for me as it did for others. After speaking to Barbara and hearing more details about Emily, I decided to gift the dollhouse to Emily. I knew that God was telling me that the dollhouse now belongs to Emily and was no longer mine.
A few days later, when Pastor Bill picked up the dollhouse, I showed it to him along with all the furniture, wallpaper, small hand crocheted rug made by my sister, and other supplies that I had for it right down to the miniature roll of toilet paper. He thought that it was just great that I was giving away a piece of my childhood, and he knew that his daughter Emily would immensely enjoy it.
As he was putting the dollhouse in the car, I told him that one woman replied to my offer but didn’t want the dollhouse. She just wanted to comment that she felt that it was great that I was giving my dollhouse away for another little girl to enjoy. I told her that I had gotten so many responses and that I was so emotionally tied to it that I felt like I was giving away a puppy and I had to choose the best home. He replied with a hearty chuckle.
I asked for a picture of Emily with the dollhouse so I could save it and show it to my father. When I received the picture, I saw the huge smile on Emily’s face with her new dollhouse and all the miniatures behind her.
Barbara told me that she was going to save all of our emails for Emily’s memory box. She also wanted a story about it with a picture of my father and me for the memory box. I think that the history of the dollhouse is a nice ending for me and a great beginning for Emily.
The gap in the garage shelf where the dollhouse once was once stored is a little sad, but it is nothing compared to the happiness that I have received as I feel like I have given it away to the right person knowing that Emily will enjoy it for years to come.
And a big thank you to my Dad—thank you for building the dollhouse for me and thank you for having such a generous heart that you didn’t mind that I gave your work of love to a deserving little girl.