The 26 Year Old Birthday Present…
I vividly remember my fifth birthday. I was in the Kruger National Park with my Mom, Dad and my Grandparents. I remember being woken up early for a sunrise game-drive with my parents. We stopped along the way for coffee and rusks. My mom and Dad laughed at me while I played in the sand and chased glossy starlings around the picnic site. We eventually made our way back to our chalet, and as I walked in, there it was – the most beautiful doll’s house I’d ever seen. Everyone was so excited, and I remember just feeling ridiculously happy.
I played with that doll’s house for years. I had families of Barbies come and go. I used to draw little artworks for the walls. I spent hours between those walls. I worked out many of my own childhood issues with my dolls and that house. It is honestly one of my most special memories of being a little girl!
And now I am a Mama and have a daughter of my own. She is not a baby anymore. She is about to turn five. FIVE. I think I am in shock and awe all at the same time. On 1 September 2016, my baby will officially be a big girl, a young lady. She will start big school soon. She will have uniforms and extra murals. She’ll make a group of inseparable girlfriends, and she will have crushes. She’ll be in sports teams or perform in the school play. She’ll start discovering what kind of things she enjoys most in this life, and she’ll begin realising what type of woman she wants to be. It’s all happening so fast, my little mama heart can’t even bare it.
So to celebrate this special milestone, I will do something I planned to do when I was just 5 years old – I will pass my doll’s house onto my own daughter. And I am definitely feeling all the ridiculous lump-in-throat, eyes-welling-with-tears, heart-filled-to-the-brim feelings that go with that.
Over the last few weeks, with the help of a very special friend, the doll house has been transformed! It has gone from a simple pine house with wooden furniture, to a renovated masterpiece! We Pinterested for months, we brain-stormed ideas and we visited the craft shop at least a million times. We painted, sewed, cut and stuck everything ourselves. We spent hours and hours in this little house, and we have literally poured blood, sweat and tears into it. It has been the most emotional and exciting project I have ever worked on. And I am literally counting the seconds until I get to wake my baby girl on Thursday morning and watch her un-wrap her brand new (super old) doll house. There will be tears, I can guarantee.
So here’s to five years my baby girl. May this doll’s house bring you as much happiness as it did for me. May your imagination run wild, may you discover whole new worlds and stories inside of it. May you one day take a moment to reflect on where this house came from, and the special history behind it. I am so incredibly proud of the young girl you are. You inspire me daily with your strength, sensitivity and wisdom. You are love personified, and no person leaves your presence without your impact being truly felt. Bella, you are a force, a woman others will aspire to become. I am honoured to be your Mama and to raise your independent spirit. You are my heart Bella-boo, and I love you!
Happy birthday my baby!
Here are a few before and after photos…
The four rooms close up…
A pink ‘Bella’ bedroom, complete with photos of her and I, and fairies on the walls. A boho lounge (of my dreams), with a dream-catcher, vintage hat stand, and the cutest little odds and ends we could find. A modern black and yellow second bedroom. A bright and colourful dining room, with a feature frame wall that includes photos, quotes and an artwork I drew as a child in my original doll house.