My "father" came over yesterday evening. We hadn't seen him in weeks and he'd missed us, he said.
Then my kids ate a Kinder Surprise egg I'd bought them and the toy inside was a paintbrush with a tiny amount of watercolors.
My older daughter loves this toy.
But, apparently, so does her "grandpa". So he just takes her notebook and her paintbrush and her watercolors and starts painting with them!
"Don't take that from her!" I tell him.
"That's all right, Mom. I let Grandpa N paint with them." My beautiful, kind 5-year-old says.
"There's very little color there", I insist. "Give it back to her before you spend it all."
"It's OK, I let him." My daughter is persistent.
He doesn't react at all. He's acting like an engrossed toddler.
"Grandpa, let me paint now", she says when he's finally done.
"You can't", he says. "There's no paint left."
She's visibly sad, but says "Never mind."
My heart breaks. But I don't know what to do.
Could I have prevented it? Should I have?
I told her later she never has to give grandpa N anything that belongs to her if she doesn't want to. She repeated that she wanted to.
I'm buying her a real set of watercolors today. Can't shake the overwhelming feeling of sadness about this relatively small incident all day. Like something very important is irretrievably lost and nothing can ever replace it.
Like something died.