Pete Wilgoren lets his five year old daughter help him paint the house.
The windows outside the girls’ room are worn and chipped and I’ve been thinking about doing touch ups for weeks. Today was the day. So I finally went to the garage and got the beige paint and a paint brush. I took my place by the back windows, prepared to do a little fix-it work. Then my five year old showed up outside.
“Can I help you paint, daddy? I want to paint.”
How could I refuse. So we stirred the paint together with a big, plastic, serving spoon I stole from the kitchen.
And we got the paint brush ready. I showed her how to remove the loose paint. I showed her how to carefully dip the brush so you don’t get paint everywhere. I showed her how to carefully brush back and forth. My father was a perfectionist. He always showed me those perfect painting strokes. Every touch up needed to be perfect. Everything had to be sanded down to the finest detail. There was no room for error.
He did all the painting. It needed to be perfect. He clearly never met my daughter who doesn’t take no for an answer. She took control of the brush. She immediately started to get paint everywhere.
I carefully did my window. She haphazardly did hers. She painted left, and up, and down, and around. She got a loose paint chip and used her finger to drag the paint chip right through the fresh paint strokes. We’d repaint. She got paint on the deck. We’d wipe it off. She got paint on my clothes. We’d wipe it off. She found other spots where the paint was loose. She found other spots in areas I couldn’t even see. We painted those, too.
We finished the touch ups and in the end both windows looked perfect. I threw out the big, plastic, serving spoon so the wife would never find out I stole it from the kitchen. I sealed up that paint can and tossed it back in the garage.
I asked my daughter if she knew why it was important to make the house look pretty. She told me it was because people might not want to visit our house otherwise. I told her the house needed to be pretty because she and her sister deserved to live in a pretty house. It is our house. It is our home.
Read more in the Real Fatherhood series.
Image credit: stevendepolo/Flickr