Playing House

We are moving soon (more on that later) and we pulled everything out of the attic the other day. We have toys stored there that my parents saved from when I was a little kid. I have boxes upon boxes of my old dolls and an unfinished dollhouse, and then we have a massive collection of Playmobil figures. That collection was probably ten years in the making and at least twenty years old. As I pulled each vehicle out of the box and the people and their accessories, these strong memories started to rise up. I can remember being a little girl and receiving the Playmobil victorian dollhouse as a gift for Christmas. I was beyond excited and bouncing up and down while my dad tried to decode the instructions to put the thing together. I remember it being as tall as me. Now, when I assembled it, it was just a dollhouse, on the smaller side, only three room and two floors. I thought it was a mansion. Even still, I began to pull all of the furniture out of storage and assemble some people. I was thinking of selling it. After all, I thought, we aren’t having any more kids and would Charley really want to play with it? He is so into trucks and boy things that I thought I should just give away all my girl toys. And I knew Dash would probably just want to play with whatever Charley was interested in, after all, that's how little brothers work. But as I played with it, I remembered how much I loved it. I thought, maybe I should just keep it. I slept on it and had dreams of selling houses and buying houses and floods. The next morning Charley woke up and saw the house and was so excited! It was me all over again on Christmas morning. We took the house downstairs and all the people and started to play. I noted his favorite things, the spinning playground and the tiniest member of the cast, the baby, and they had been my favorite things too. I surprised myself when something came apart, I knew just how to put it make together. And we played for hours, all weekend long. It was the first time that I saw so much of myself in him, despite being a boy. When he was born, I had all these things planned for how to make him more like me. How to teach him to appreciate art and music and cities. Instead, over the past few years, he has surprised me with his own interests and likes. I have learned so much about trucks and know the garbage man’s name (Julien). Now his identity and my identity are merging and I am beginning to see some of my good traits, creativity, drive, and bad ones too, stubbornness and drama. At the end of the weekend I realized I don’t need a girl to see myself in my kids, two boys fulfills all my hopes and dreams. I put the dolls in the garage sale pile, but kept all the Playmobil.