22 Comments

“Home” coming

Allow me to show you an image:

Doesn’t look like much, does it? Trust me, even had the camera resolution been better, it isn’t much. Just a few slabs of wood, some paint, faux fur and a braided red ribbon for trim.

Why would I show you such a thing? To tell you a story, of course.

Ten years ago, a princess packed her belongings into her car and drove them to her new castle. She left behind two stacks for her family to pick up: one stack to keep and one stack to take to a community garage sale.

Weeks later, while unpacking her boxes, the princess realized something was missing. Something very important to her. A dollhouse. It was nothing special to look at. Just a few slabs of wood, some paint, faux fur and a braided red ribbon for trim. After some investigation, she learned the dollhouse had gone to the garage sale by accident. And been sold. Not for much. It wasn’t worth much.

Why, then, was this princess heart-broken at the loss?

Twenty-four years before that day, the princess had piled all the wood she could find into a red wagon and wheeled it out to her father the king. She had to wait for him to finish welding a joint and lift his mask to notice her. Her request was simple.

“Daddy, would you build me a dollhouse?”

Her father looked at her pale face with its enormous glasses and her carefully stacked pile of plywood. He set down his welding torch and took an hour to turn that wood into a toy. Her mother the queen helped her decorate with faux fur and a braided red ribbon for trim. The princess was happy with her dollhouse for many years. When her father the king died while the princess herself was still young, the dollhouse became even more precious to her.

When the heart-broken princess told this story to the garage sale organizer, she prompted a memory. It was possible the buyer of the dollhouse was known. The princess was given a name and a number.

She called and heard her dollhouse had indeed been purchased by another king and queen as a gift for two other young princesses. In honor of her father the king, the princess decided the new owners could keep the dollhouse, but begged to have it back when those princesses were grown and ready to have princesses of their own.

Years passed, and the princess thought of her dollhouse often. She wondered if the promise made so many years ago would hold or if her dollhouse was already broken and abandoned.

Three weeks ago, the princess thought of the dollhouse one more time.

“Father in heaven,” she prayed, “it’s yours, not mine. It is only a few slabs of wood, some paint, faux fur and a braided red ribbon trim. Whether I have it or not, I know my father loved me and I know You love me, too.”

Two weeks ago, the princess’s phone rang. It was the other queen. The royal family was moving, the princesses were grown and the dollhouse was waiting for her.

The pictures above show my dollhouse, made with love by my earthly father and returned with love by my heavenly Father. It is shabbier. The braided red ribbon is torn and the faux fur has faded a bit. The other princesses decorated it with stickers and crayons, but that only shows they loved it, too.

One day, the dollhouse will crumble to dust. Until that day, it will stay with me as a memorial – to my father and to my King, who cares deeply about the broken heart of a princess who misses her daddy.

About Robynn Tolbert

Born in Kansas and born again at age six, Robynn has published two novels and started her third. Robynn, aka Ranunculus Turtle, lives in Kansas with a clowder of cats, a patient dog and a garden.

22 comments on ““Home” coming

  1. That is the coolest story. I had a doll house built by my dad, too. It was beautiful, with real windows, a door that actually opened, a staircase and hidden trap door. I–stupidly–sold it when I was a teen. Years later, we tried to get it back, but the family who’d bought it had already sold it or given it away. No way mine would ever make it home like yours did!

    But–when my daughter was born, I told my dad I wanted her to have a doll house like mine. A few years ago, he built her one. The details area a little different, but it’s just as beautiful :).

    Thanks for sharing this! Not just because it’s an amazing story, but it is vastly cool to me to think we have something like this in common :).

  2. Beautiful story….in many many ways!! Thanks for sharing!!! 🙂

  3. My dearest Turtle(Princess),

    IT IS TOO EARLY TO CRY! What a wonderful little story!

  4. When I stop crying I will print it so her step daddy can read it. Well told Rob…I still remember smiling when my little girl complied her wood, placed it in the wagon and sat waiting for Dad to notice. What is sweet memory…

    We all lost loved memories in that move and that garage sale, you were so blessed to have God watching over you and your loved items.

    Well told my wonderful daughter. You are so loved …

  5. I think that’s the sweetest story I’ve ever heard.

  6. My daddy made a doll house for me when I was little. My parents had been afraid that, as the middle child, I would feel left out, so they wanted to build something special just for me.
    It’s one of the most precious thing they gave to me.

  7. On many occasions, I have made you cry. I knew it would come back on me. Well played, Princess Turtle. Well played.

  8. … Robynn. “Moving” doesn’t do this justice. It’s time for a man’s perspective. I mean only WE can be Daddy’s. Should we choose to be. This king of yours…

    I’ll just say what an honor it must have been for him to make that. An honor for you both. And we both know that when he looks down from heaven he is smiling.

    How great the homecoming will be…

    I have a daughter, just one, and I love this post.

    Thank you for sharing this piece and your memorial with us all.

    Be blessed.

  9. Beautiful story, Robynn. Well, the house my dad and I were building together – it never got finished. Its frame lies abandoned under my childhood home, its painted floor sections rotting. But there are plenty of other things that we did get done, and here in my room I have a child’s table he made me when I was four, of stout framing and with all the sharp corners cut off and carefully sanded. I repainted it and now use it as a coffee table; it’s a prized possession. Thanks for this reminder of the time and love that went into it all those years ago.

  10. Awww. What a sweet story. I understand your longing for that earthly father, being one who lost my own as a young teen. There’s nothing in this world that can fill the unquantifiable role of a father. Halleluja there is someone not of this world who is willing to fill our every need, even if he must take our earthly protectors home untimely.

    Thanks for sharing this little piece of your heart and soul with us.

  11. As you well know, ogres have reputations to maintain and can’t been seen to get all moist-eyed in public. Well here’s one ogre you managed to get choked up. Beautiful story Robynn.

  12. I cried just as I did when I got to see this wonderful piece live and in person! You have been truly bless my friend.

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