Kids are known for leaving dirty laundry in their wake. Well, one mom from Port Townsend, Washington took things to the next level in response to her daughter's dirty sock which was left for days on the bathroom floor.
At first, Xep Campbell thought she would wait out her daughter Kestrel, 10, in what she called "a sort of sociological experiment," leaving the soiled sock where it was abandoned in their small bathroom.
"'The Forgotten Sock' came about when I found a single sock on the floor of the bathroom," Campbell told TODAY Parents. "That's not an uncommon occurrence and I would usually just pick it up and toss it in the laundry. For some reason in this case I thought it would be amusing to see how long it would last if I didn't pick it up."
But after a week went by and her daughter still hadn't picked up the sock, Campbell had a new idea. Mimicking the type of museum label one might find in a high end art gallery, she typed up the information for the card, listing her daughter as the artist of the "mixed media" piece on display, later sharing the picture on Facebook.
"I try not to take anything in life too seriously and we often play little jokes on one another so I made the museum label and figured she would roll her eyes, laugh a little, and then pick up the sock," she said.
Campbell's daughter was surprised when she saw it and sent her mom a text with a photo, asking if she had put the label there. What happened next was truly hilarious. Instead of getting mad or, um, actually picking up the sock, Kestrel made a pedestal for the objet d'art.
"I did not expect her to get in on the joke and it took me by surprise when she said 'I made a pedestal for it!' I realized then the game was on," said Campbell. "It sort of took on a life of its own after that."
When Campbell posted pictures of the escalating exhibit on Facebook suddenly thousands of people were paying attention. At one point, barnyard animal figurines became art spectators. On Friday, when Campbell came back from walking the dog, a new piece of art had appeared on display. The show seemed to culminate with an over-the-top nativity scene complete with Christmas lights.
"I honestly did not except this post to go viral — it was just another silly thing we did."
"I should point out this is a *very small* bathroom," Campbell posted on Facebook. "I asked when the sock might go away. She said 'how long do art exhibits usually last?'"
While Campbell never expected her post to go viral she somehow managed to turn the joke into a teachable moment for her fifth grader. "We have had a lot of talks about internet safety and how you should never post anything you wouldn't want the world to see," she said. "I asked her if it was okay with her for me to share this publicly and she said 'yes.' It was a good lesson to see how things can really take off."
Campbell said she has received some very sweet and even moving messages from people. "One that really touched me said 'I wanted to send you a personal response because I need to thank you for helping me out of the clutches of a deep depression," one message read. "I have been teetering on the brink all day but I now see some light. Nothing makes me happier than humor and creativity all rolled into one. That this is an exchange between a mother and daughter makes it all the sweeter!'"
"My daughter and I have a wonderful, communicative relationship. We are very silly together and understand the importance of being ridiculous and absurd. I honestly did not except this post to go viral — it was just another silly thing we did."
As of Sunday night, the sock was still on display. No word on whether it will remain a part of the home's permanent collection — or hit the laundry.