Regarding the various comments from my prior post, you all have me thinking, thinking, and thinking.
Well, I am going to be honest regarding the financial help without being too honest. It was over 100K that we provided to the purchase of this new house. It is a holding space so that they qualified for the mortgage. The plan is that they will give it back to us when they sell the house they are currently leaving. They have that much equity in it. (Maybe this is why we are so invested in the immediate and best price sale of the house.)
Yes, Mage, we could afford to hire painters and fence installers, but kids cannot. We would probably not see that money returned to us if we did this. Therefore, we are too frugal and do it ourselves. Or we negotiate with their neighbors next door and we have the kids provide the fence materials and find the neighbor and his landscape crew are more than happy to install the fence AND tear out their rusted,ugly chain link fenced. (Mr. Neighbor seems thrilled to be able to hide all his lawn mowers, work trucks and other stuff behind an 8-foot fence!)
Earlier this year my husband and I washed and painted a small condo that my son owns (with 5K we gave him and which he never paid back) and which he now rents and clears a few hundred each month for income. My son and his wife did help us with this project on that weekend.
Regarding the word "No." followed by "Just cannot work out time to help you at this time. We would love to, but just cannot." who knows why we cannot say this?
I have gone over the reasons:
DIL's parents are extremely hard workers and if they lived closer would put us to shame as they are also talented in this type of work, unlike we, who barely get a fine coat of paint across a wall. Fear that they would show us up, if not now, then someday?
Perhaps after a number of years of distance we have our son back in our lives and we are afraid to lose him again, if we do not help and help and help?
Perhaps we are those Puritan work ethic types that feel guilty if we do not display love through hard work?
Perhaps we are so insecure that we are afraid they will only love us if we make such sacrifices?
Perhaps we like the sense of accomplishment as it proves we are not dead yet and we know that soon we will not be able to offer this help and be too old and it give us bragging rights?
Perhaps we subconsciously want to use it to manipulate our children thoroughout their lives as many parents do???
...Oh Gee, I just noticed I have white paint under my fingernails, the few that have not been totally chipped away by all this work. Excuse me....will you?