It was almost exactly five years ago that I introduced The Barbie House to my Facebook friends. And over the years, that House has brought joy and laughter–and a healthy dose of naughty shenanigans–into our lives. My daughter was six years old when The Barbie House made its debut, and that alone blows me away; she will be turning 12 in a couple of months. Louisa was the creator of all of that joy and laughter, and unbeknownst to her, some pretty risqué naughtiness. 😉 It was always exciting to walk into her room, and when she wasn’t looking, sneak a peek into the lives within The Barbie House.
My first Barbie House post, September 1, 2010:
I remember I had gone over to open Louisa’s blinds that day, when I glanced into the House and saw this. Ken on the floor. Barbie on the couch. Ken without ‘blanket’, Barbie with blanket. And Ken’s head dangerously close to the fire. My caption: “That’s my girl.” The comments from my friends began to roll in; reading them, I was rolling with laughter. And with that post, The Barbie House was born.
Weekly I would check on the House to see what Louisa (and sometimes her playmates) had come up with next. Of course Louisa never intended any of this to be funny; she was just engaged in imaginative child play. I cherished it… and loved documenting it. And, well, OOPS, I just couldn’t help but shed light on some of the scenes with captions that might appear to make the scenes a little bit naughty. (I mean, Miley Cyrus visited The Barbie House, after all. But of course she was still Hannah back then. Oh, how we long for the good ol’ days.) I made only one promise about posts from The Barbie House: that I would in no way alter them or stage them. They had to be 100% authentic child’s play. And I made good on that promise (though it was tempting at times because I like child play).
At first I would go days without walking into Louisa’s room and discovering new material. Then over time, days turned into weeks. Then weeks turned into months. But I knew there was a problem when there had been a four-month hiatus without any new Barbie scenes: Louisa was out-growing her childhood. Until one beautiful day when our sweet little visitor Laura was in town for Derby. She and Louisa played Barbies. And thank my lucky stars… finally there was life in The House again (and her parents’ comments had me in stitches)!
But Laura soon went back home, and that ended up being my last news from the House. Of course, over the years I knew the day would come when The Barbie House would come to an end. When it would no longer be ‘allowed’ in my pre-teen’s bedroom– when having a dollhouse in your bedroom was embarrassing and uncool. But when we moved a year ago, I intentionally put it back up in Louisa’s room. Just HOPING. But to no avail…
The Barbie House has gone dark.
“Can’t you just keep it in your bedroom as a bookcase?” I begged her. No, Mama.
“How about shelving for some of your trinkets?” No, Mama.
“But I reaaaaallllly think it would be a great bookcase?…” Mommmmmm! NO.
So I sighed and obliged and moved it out into the hallway for a week. But every time I rounded the landing of the stairs, there it stood as a reminder of what I was leaving behind. So I moved it. (Mark was thrilled to help me get it out of the hallway.)
But while I was looking for storage space for The Barbie House (for future generations of little Doyles, of course), I came upon other reminders of the passing of time and what gets left behind. Things that once were held so precious to our children (and to us), but now are boxed or hidden away out of sight and out of mind.
So the space where The Barbie House once resided is now filled with a proper bookcase (hmph), discarded clothing on the floor such as her field hockey shin guards and middle-school spirit wear and sports headbands and ‘big-girl’ purses. It’s how it should be, I know. Plus, there’s a saying by a childhood genius replaying in my head–one with which I’m sure we are all familiar:
“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” ~ Dr. Seuss
Okaaaaaay. Thank you, Dr. Seuss. I will certainly try. I will not cry because my daughter’s childhood is rounding a corner, but I will smile because it happened. And because The Barbie House was a part of it.
So even though The Barbie House has gone dark, our memories have not. Just because those fleeting moments of stumbling upon imaginative child play have passed, the joy of those experiences still lingers. And just because those stuffed animals are now packed away in a cardboard box, it doesn’t negate the love they once received and gave.
…And, yes, even though this lump in my throat and these tears in my eyes don’t feel like a smile, they are evidence that little moments matter… and they add up to big memories whose light continues to shine.
So, FINE. “Lights out, Barbie.” But you’d better behave yourself. 😉