Part of getting older, or simply a part of life, memories flash though my mind whenever I have the chance to daydream. Random events spark memories that leave me with sadness or happiness, sometimes both.
Cleaning my daughter’s room, and thinking of my mom, one such event made me laugh and then cry. I dusted the enormous dollhouse that sparked the memory. My daughter, now 12, rarely if ever glances at the house which has since been placed on top of a large dresser as a rather large memory. It once occupied the floor of her bedroom and she spent time moving the little dolls through their days. They usually ended up in the plastic bed with the tiny light out, signifying the end of the day.
Now, it sits like some behemoth trinket.
As I plan to scale back my lifestyle in size as soon as the house sells, I wonder what I am going to do with this house. Contained in the rooms, there are so many memories.
It starts off as a promise. After having two boys, my then mother-in-law, promised to buy a doll house if I were to have a girl. Traveling further back in time, I had once shared with her that I always wanted a doll house, but it was never in the cards for me.
Where to begin is the question? Do I start with the sadness at the beginning or the happier memories that developed?
Sadness it is…. I want to end on a happy note.
I knew my marriage was over in the last trimester of my pregnancy. He was as disconnected as a dangling plug. He was never home… and I feared the severity in the delivery room. I had decided to tie my tubes. I knew I was going to be alone soon, but for as long as he stayed, I did not want anything else to tie him down. He was clearly flooded with disinterest when the doctor confirmed the additional procedure. Showing us our new baby girl, he asked if I was sure I wanted to do this because we “made such beautiful children together”.
We didn’t look at each other. I nodded… my tears, no doubt attributed to the new life in my presence.
One week home, and my mother in law calls to invite themselves over to see the baby. Telling me that she has a present that is enormous in her car, she is on her way.
Wishing I could avoid the visit, and begging EX to act normally as if he didn’t hate me for some unknown reasons, he stormed out of the room. He wanted no accountability for his behavior.
My mother, kind of lovingly clueless as always, and fresh from a stay at my sister’s house, had no idea how bad things had gotten.
Silence filled the room as group filled the living room that should have been filled with parental love. Invisible bars on the window, I could see my EX fidgeting in his chair. I clutched my daughter, hesitant to allow others to hold her. She was my reason to laugh or cry as I saw fit. Hormones still flowing through my body, my raging emotions were excused or written of. He just looked odd.
As a group, we admired the dollhouse and my baby girl, who was so tiny, she probably could have fit within the house. My clueless mom, may she rest in peace, loudly states, “Well, isn’t sex wonderful???”
Sideways glances and raised eyebrows, no one had a clue what was going on.
Thankfully, she added another statement after just enough time to electrify the awkwardness in the room. “Isn’t it just amazing that she looks exactly like her brothers, but when you look at her, there is no doubt that she is a girl?”
A strange relief and chuckle warmed the room, for everyone but him. He had checked out, and I was filled with hate.
Look at me… Look at your baby girl… I gave you two sons… Look at the damn dollhouse.
Two weeks later, we announced the the family that it was over.
Fast forward three years… for my daughter’s birthday, I decorated the dollhouse. Papering the walls, hanging mirrors with tiny accessories, I stayed up all night and rushed her back into bed when she woke up to early and had interrupted me, still full of paint and glue. Ready to wear her princess crown for the birthday day, she was full of sleep and giggles.
My son and I giggled and she cried “Mommy, I want to see!” No picture necessary, her face on that day, is burned into my memory.
Tiny pieces of paper, dots of glue and pretty accessories remain, as the question of the future of the dollhouse remains.
A huge, tiny house house for little things… where families don’t break, and daddies don’t leave. For now, it stays…. how lovely would it be to pass it down to a granddaughter? Would donating it somewhere allow me to get rid of the ugly memory attached?
For now it stays. It is part of how we got to where we are, and for good or bad, I am not ready to let go.