Daddy’s paintbrush

We moved this summer to accommodate the bucket load of children I recently had.
The house was built in the 80’s, which means lots of honey oak cabinets and brass doorknobs.  The only thing good that came from the 80’s was my little sister and the song “Endless Love.”

I wasn’t able to do many projects this summer because I was in a zombie, sleep deprived state taking care of twin babies. Now that everyone is sleeping through the night and we have one foot out of survival mode, I’ve started tackling my never ending to do list.

This week I painted the play room. It’s “supposed” to be a formal dining room. But there’s four of you turkeys children, so there ain’t nothing formal or fancy about our house. Besides, even if we did have a fancy schmancy dining room, there would be nowhere for our guests to sit because our family uses all the chairs.

The play room has a chair rail. The former owners painted the bottom a crimson red, and the top was this weirdo yellow/beige color, which I felt looked like baby poo.

When I started to prime the walls, it was instant joy. Painting is something I enjoy almost as much as vacuuming because the results are instant. I started humming and made up a little song about saying goodbye to the 1980’s.
But when I sat down to trim by the baseboards my heart took a quick turn towards sadness. I wished so badly my daddy was there painting with me.

Your dad took all of you upstairs to play so I could actually get some painting done without 4,128 interruptions. I painted for almost three hours in silence. No music. No phone calls. Just me and my memories.

My daddy, your Pawpaw, was a painter for many years. He taught me how to paint when I was a young girl.  I remember helping him paint several rooms in our church growing up.  He showed me how to cut in and what kind of rollers to use on various surfaces. Daddy was always patient with me during our “lessons”, even when I rolled the paint too thick and left drips.

JoJo came over the next night and helped me paint the trim because it was so.much.stinkin.trim. Crown molding, chair rail, baseboards. It was about to drive me batty.She brought over a few of my daddy’s paint supplies.  Funny how little things can trigger your heart. When I dipped his old brush in the paint I closed my eyes and tried to remember his voice, his smile, his laugh. I imagined what it would be like if he were still here. He would roll and I would cut in. Our conversation would be natural, not forced or awkward. It would be funny and meaningful all at the same time.


Looking back, the lessons my daddy taught me about painting can apply to many aspects of life:

Buy the expensive brush.

Don’t rush through the job.

Paint that is still drying isn’t pretty, but it’s part of the process.

You can’t keep rolling over wet paint.  It makes it sticky and cronky and, just no.

Cleaning up isn’t fun, but it’s necessary.

As the four of you get older I will teach you how to paint. More importantly, I will teach you the lessons my father taught me as a young girl. Lessons about working, waiting, loving.

I can’t promise I will be as patient as he was.
But I’ll let you use his brush.


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