Pass It On

Recently, I spent a Saturday afternoon at my daughter’s house, helping her paint one of her bedrooms.  I’m one of those rare people who actually likes to paint, so I didn’t mind spending a beautiful weekend afternoon up on a ladder, doing the edging.  Even better, my mother stopped by and offered to pitch in as well by painting some of the trim.  So there we were, three generations of family working together to give a room in my daughter’s house a much-needed sprucing up.  For me, it felt like one of those family bonding moments when the older members of the family get to pass along some of their knowledge and experience to the younger members.  (Which is an increasingly rare thing in theses days of ever-changing technology where the young are usually the ones who teach the old.)

Milentz houseI remember when my husband and I bought our first house and how hard we struggled to turn a very run down “fixer-upper” into a livable home.  We couldn’t have done it without the help of friends and family who loaned us tools (and showed us how to use them), and helped clean up years worth of dirt and grime.  We had a good friend who showed my husband how to build walls, while others helped him assemble our own kitchen cabinets.  I remember clearly how my mother helped me in our overgrown yard, pointing out that the “weeds” I was about to pull were actually just flowers that needed some pruning.  My aunt gave us money to buy kitchen curtains, and my brother-in-law even offered to install a wood-burning stove for us to help with heating costs.  All that support made the process seem so much less overwhelming.

And now that my own son and daughter have bought houses of their own, both of which were fixer-uppers (we never buy anything else in our family), it’s our turn to help.  I paint, do yard work and clean, my husband brings over his tools and shows them how to use them while he’s working on a project, and in the process, we help teach our kids what they need to know to fix up and properly maintain their houses.  Frankly, it feels good to pass along some of the skills, support and knowledge that was given to us.

It’s not that our kids (and their husband and fiancé) couldn’t do it themselves, they most certainly could.  They’re young, hard-working and smart, and what they don’t already know, they’ll figure out.  But I know our help means that they are learning much more quickly, and I believe that they appreciate the support of their family with this important milestone in their lives.  These are the acts that solidify our family bonds, that remind us that we don’t actually have to face every challenge on our own, and that demonstrate the importance of working together to help the people we love.

Sometimes fixing up houses is about so much more than just creating a nice place to live.  Sometimes its also about building memories, strengthening family connections and passing on the best of who we are to the next generation.  It’s amazing what you can accomplish with a paintbrush and a power drill.

26 thoughts on “Pass It On

  1. You’re so right, Ann. They can do these things themselves but it’s all about passing on these bonding experiences gift of helping out to our children. Those moments that you didn’t expect, like when your Mom stopped by unexpectedly and you had three generations sharing something your daughter will remember forever. Terrific post.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, George! It is about the bonding experiences, and it just felt so special when we were all helping my daughter paint. I know she will always remember that, and my mom loved it, too. I think that anything that keeps us connected has to be a good!


  2. You are so right about it being more than just fixing up a house. Wespend every othe weekend helping our middle daughter and son in law remodel. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. It has definitely helped us to feel like part of their new life together, and built memories. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! Our children grow up, which is a good thing, but it’s so nice to stay connected and to feel that we are “paying forward” all the support that we were given when we were their age. I wouldn’t trade the time I spend at their houses for anything, either!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved reading about fixing up your first home. Neither set of our parents were talented in that department, and the two of us aren’t either. (We can help clean, however.) Our poor sons will just have to learn themselves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Different friends and family members had different sets of skills to offer and different ways of helping, but the result was that we felt supported in our efforts to fix up our first home. (And boy, did it need work!) I know you support your boys in other ways, that’s what counts. Thanks Dena!


  4. Of course they could do it themselves, but as you said the bonding is the best part of it all. Even more so those moments along with giggles, laughter, teaching, etc. goes into each and every nook and cranny overhauled. Moments that will smile through that house always, and add that personal touch like nothing else ever could. 🙂

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  5. This is a lovely way to look at and value what otherwise can be seen as tedious chores. I’m so grateful my parents have shared their many skills- gardening, painting, sewing- over the years. I hope you enjoy many more such days with your family!

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  6. Beautiful story and something not all families have Ann. Considering so many families are divorced (like mine), it isn’t always as sweet as your story. Families are torn apart by distance also…so sharing these lovely moments can’t be feasible for us all. I live vicariously through you. 🙂 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • We are very lucky to have our children and my mother living close by right now, and we do appreciate it very much. Of course not everyone is in the same situation as I am, but the important thing is simply to provide support to our family, in whatever form works for us, and to pass on the best of what we know and who we are to the next generation. At least that’s what I believe.


  7. I think working together with your daughter and mother like that may be one of those things where the activity itself is even more important than the ostensible reason for it, important though making a livable home is. It reminds me a little of the times I cycle with my son to some local destination. Actually getting there is nice, but If I’m honest, it’s not really the point. It’s just fun to be together.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Exactly! It’s the time spent together that matters so much more than actually fixing up a room. I’m hoping that’s what my daughter remembers, and I know my mom and I enjoyed it. Just like cycling with your son!

      Liked by 1 person

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