Indiana loves to play with babies. She always has. She’ll disappear from your side and you’ll hear her a few minutes later upstairs playing ‘family’ with dolls of all sizes, all hair colors, and looks, lost in a world of make-believe that she so loves. When it’s dinner time and I call her down, she’ll call back “awe… but I’m playing.” A few minutes later, it will be her and I and Eliza Mae or one of her other dolls all having supper together.
But for the last few months, Indiana has been lining up her Barbies in her room, exactly 12 of them (the same number of kids in her school) into three rows, bending them at the waist and sitting them on the carpet in pairs so she can be the teacher and play ‘schoolhouse’ with them. Just like Ms. Rebecca does with her and the other children at the one-room schoolhouse here at the farm that she goes to.
As Christmas time rolled around this year, Indy asked me if I thought Santa could bring her a Schoolhouse to play ‘school’ with her babies in her room. Little did she know, as part of my ‘year off the web,’ I’d already been thinking about making her gift this year instead of buying her one.
Now I’m not the best woodworker, so I was pretty sure making a schoolhouse was more than I could do, but I came up with something I could make that would make it so she could feel like she was playing school, even if she didn’t have the building. Six homemade little wooden oak desks.
And so instead of Target or Amazon this year, Indy's Christmas gift came from Home Depot. Well, at least the raw parts did. The actual gift came from her Papa, but good ol’ Santy Claus got the credit.
This Christmas eve after Indy was asleep, while other parents were up doing their late-night wrapping, I was doing some last-minute sanding and printing itty-bitty names ‘Piper, Poppy, Hudson, etc., and taping them onto the front of the wood slabs. With hopes that the desks Santa brought her for her Barbies to sit in would be as realistic as the real ones that she and her friends set in.
On Christmas morning, she had a number of gifts from lots of folks under the tree that she loved, but I think the one she was most excited about was the schoolhouse desks…
Even though the gift was for her, honestly it felt like a gift to me too, to be able to make her something this year instead of buying presents for her. It was so special. I think I’m going to rethink Christmas next year and see if I can make homemade gifts for a few more people.
PS - The first thing she did when she saw the new desks was change where I had all the kids sitting. She said “Papa, Piper goes here… and Paisley sits over there’…