Rediscovering Youth

I visited my parents a few weekends ago and had the brilliant idea to show Nina my childhood dollhouse. My grandfather built me a simple four-room house to keep himself busy after my grandmother died. In it was a lovely hodgepodge of handmade furniture, random Sylvanian Families, and 1980’s decor. Only now do I full grasp and appreciate this beautiful gift that I spent so many years playing with (and let’s be honest, defacing).  But this is no Mattel. This old house and its inhabitants have surprisingly stood the test of time. So I’m sorry, mom, for thinking in a singsong voice ‘hoarding tendencies‘ for keeping this after 30 years. I’m an idjit!

I loved rediscovering my youth as I watched Nina play. The child within is such a small part of us now, but I hope it’s still in there for you somewhere deep down as it is for me. These moments pull us from our racing minds and our aging bodies back into the world of soft skin and animal soap operas we created for ourselves so many years ago. We willingly, joyfully, and excusably get to rediscover this youth through our children and revel in its peace.

My mother (aka “Grandma Birdie”) wanted to repaint the dollhouse for Nina, but I love its history and vintage charm, its kith and kin scrawled on the kitchen floor, the bold declaration of ownership, windows “glued out” to ensure a good-night’s sleep, and apartment numbers hastily scribbled on the walls to resolve a rabbit-beaver fight over who gets to use the communal kitchen. Wildlife drama and childhood imagination at its best.


It makes me want to build a simple dollhouse and start her own collection of dolls. Perhaps then some day I’ll take a photo of Nina playing with her daughter in that dollhouse I hoarded for 30 years and rediscover my youth all over again.




  1. Lisa says:

    Love this! I held onto my dollhouse until just a couple of years ago. I just didn’t have room for it! If I have a girl I’m definitely building another one.

  2. Barbara Katz says:

    Birdie is certainly a ‘hoarder’ and I am glad you see why…she saved history for you and Kale. And I am so glad she did! Nina looks in heaven with the new find.

  3. Lorraine Hatkowski says:

    Love this! My mom recently dropped off the beautiful dollhouse she made for me when I was a child. I’m going to restore it and give it to S for her third birthday this summer. Can’t wait to put my architectural model building skills to good use to replace the stairs, doors, and windows that have been damaged and missing for so long! I’m keeping the decor though, the 80s wallpaper is a hoot.

    • Kensley says:

      Your daughter will love it, Lorraine! And ’80s decor ROCKS! Get that architect designing going. How fun! Thanks for reading!

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