Building relationships

girl and toddler walking at the shore

This summer I decided to do something completely different. I decided to ditch the “school-related” projects in exchange for more hands-on projects in a hope of finding a different way of connecting with my son.

It is a big “change” year for us as he will be entering high school soon and I wanted to try to get him involved in thinking about things that he could possibly see himself doing in the future while trying to build on our relationship. I also wanted him to learn some practical skills so even if he didn’t totally enjoy what we were doing, at some point in his life, I know the skills would become useful.

Since I totally loved refinishing and painting furniture, prior to my days when I had children or was even married for that matter, I decided to take one of my passions and see where it would lead us. I am very apprehensive about chemicals and things like that so I needed to be careful about the projects that we did.

We decided to take on some painting projects. At first, I really didn’t know exactly what we were going to do. Since we spend a good chunk of time at our cottage, I thought we could go to some flea markets, see what we saw that wasn’t too much money and then decide from there what we would do with the items that we purchased.

We also had a few things around our cottage that I had been wanting to get to for awhile that I know we could make some beautiful art with. I have always had a very good eye at seeing what something could become with some imagination. My son and I also love watching HGTV and we get various ideas from these kinds of shows as well.

We ended up with quite a few projects.

Our first project was to refinish and paint some old paddles that were of no use in boats anymore but with some effort could become beautiful pieces of art.

We decided to use an electric hand sander and sand these paddles down. This process was trial and error for me. Because sometimes loud noises bother our son, this was a bit challenging because the hand sander is extremely loud. As I watched him sand I could see that the noise was bothering him. He enjoyed the process but not the noise. So I decided to get him to put on his noise-canceling headphones and this worked like a charm. He got to sand but the noise no longer was an issue. Voila!

Once these paddles were sanded we each decided what we wanted to paint on our paddle. We then sat on our dock and painted. It was truly glorious as we looked out onto the lake. After the paddles were dry, we then put a clear coat of protection over them. They looked amazing!

We did many other furniture projects and all of them were different. The thing that I enjoyed was watching my son learn new skills and building the bond of our relationship in the process. It was fun not being on a schedule and being able to learn new things together. I saw a side of him that I him that made me realize just how much he is capable of if I only give him the chance.

This experience was truly eye-opening, fun and I really enjoyed it. The more freedom I give my son, the more he proves to me the talents that are within him.

I look forward to many more new experiences!

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