The concept of payback goes something like this. Someone does something distasteful to you, and you do something equally (or more so) distasteful to them. To pay them back. Not a concept that I'd like to teach my children, but in real life, it happens. As my afternoon was humming along today, relatively uneventful, something happened that I could only explain as a twisted sort of payback. Misplaced payback. Or something else that I cannot explain.
I have to backtrack and tell you that when I was in my early 20's, but before I was a mom, I took my 12 year old niece to the store with me. While there, we visited the make-up aisle. There was some bright red lipstick smeared on the floor, and if I remember correctly, I told my niece to be careful and not step in it. After that, we went back to my parents' new house (with almost white carpet).
You can see where this is going. Mmmhmmm. When we got back to that brand-new house with brand-new carpet, my niece and I walked in, chatted a minute or so, and then she went off to a room in the back of the house to practice her flute. Have you ever played a band instrument? If you have, you know that tapping your foot (over and over again throughout the musical pieces that you play) helps you keep time. My niece, being diligent about her practice, tap, tap, tapped away for thirty minutes or so, cleaned her instrument and came back out to the kitchen. As she came out, she saw the red splotches that she had left across the carpet like Hansel's bread crumbs through the forest.
This would horrify most 12 year olds whose first thoughts might be about getting into trouble. My niece was no exception. Yet, her nervousness was escalated by the fact that the house was new, the carpet was new, and her grandfather ("Scrub" was his nickname at an earlier time) was about to see the horrific mess. She came to me in the kitchen and whispered in my ear (because "Scrub" and the entire clan were standing in the kitchen), "Help! I've got lipstick all over the carpet!!!"
There was certainly no inconspicuous way to clean it up. I mean, everybody was standing right there! But I grabbed the cleaner and helped her clean it up. It looked really good, and my sister planned to call the carpet cleaner first thing in the morning. My sweet dad, however, was a little "stressed out", as they say and decided to call it a night. But it all worked out. No long-lasting hostility. I think.
Yet, something funny happened over the weekend. We celebrated my daughter's birthday a little early with my mom, sister and brother-in-law. They came bearing gifts from themselves and gifts from my niece (now an early 20-something). Birthday Girl got wonderful, thoughtful gifts...a radio, pink baseball glove, balls and a bat, a stuffed animal and some make-up. Not to repeat myself, but, mmmhmmmmm. Some make-up. Birthday Girl has been pretty careful with it herself, but what can you do about little brothers?
Do you see my thought process here? Is this some kind of twisted payback or what?