I grew up sitting on a piano bench.
The funny thing about a piano is that, besides keeping it clean, there's not a lot of hands-on upkeep. The closest I ever got to tuning my beloved was peering over the backside of a professional as he fiddled and hummed. Pianos possess a temperament and character that a pianist is either compatible with or not. You have an intimate relationship with the instrument, but like many lovers, you cannot change who they are fundamentally.
And so I am delightfully surprised at the intimacy I get from restringing my wee mandolin for the first time. There is some white hot bond which begins to burn when you gut and reconstruct an instrument with your own two hands and ten fingers. There is nothing independent about the relationship...it's not an individual entity, but one that becomes an extension of your very limbs. And the more you mold and weave, the more you polish and clean and restring and reform, the more it becomes a part of who you are... and you change. Fundamentally.