Would you have felt the same way as I did in this situation (details)?
Long, long time ago I had a friend who had two girls the same ages as my two oldest daughters. The girls were 7 and 10 at the time. My friend and her kids were visiting. I had two, quite large matching Mexican pots. They were at either front corner of my brick patio. I’d plant hanging flowers in them in the spring. They were beautiful.
This particular day they pots were empty. My friend and I spied her 7 year old attempting to pick up the pot, which came about up to her stomach and it was way too heavy for her. My heart kind of stopped and my friend and I both, at the same time, told the child to put the pot down. Her mother told her not to touch it again.
A minute later the child picked it up again…dropped it…and it broke.
My friend yelled at her daughter and said, “I told you not to touch that pot! Now look what you’ve done! That’s what you get for disobeying me!!”
I thought “Wait…that’s what I get for her disobeying her mom. That was no kind of punishment for the kid!”
It was so depressing! I didn’t say much, really…there was nothing that could be done so no point in fussing. What’s done…is done.
Well, about two weeks later my friend shows up and thrusts THE UGLIEST small, green and brown pot in my hand. It was truly hideous and it was small!
She stated, “There! Does that makes up for the pot Mary* broke?”
I mumbled, “Well, sure. But it was…was…a,,,, matching set…you…. didn’t need to replace it, but thank you.”
My friend said, “Good!” and was satisfied that her “debt” was discharged although I had never, ever mentioned any kind of compensation…because there really couldn’t be. The pot couldn’t have been physically replaced…I picked it up at a garage sale somewhere. I think those people got them in Mexico. There was no monetary value that could be placed on it, and even if there had been, I wouldn’t have wanted money. What good would that have done? I would have much, much preferred that she had not even tried to replace the pot, rather than give me something that was no where near compensatory.
Honestly, I didn’t make a big deal out of it, but she could tell I was very dismayed when it happened, which is, I assume, why she got me the other pot. If I was angry about anything it was the fact that the child did it AFTER being told to leave it alone, and the child received nothing but a scolding out of it.
Can you help me pin point why I felt…more insulted than soothed by the gesture? It was like pouring salt into a wound, really!