Well, I have some good news and some bad news. Which do you want first? Let's start with the good. The good news is that an opportunity did present itself last night to talk to my neighbors AND my kids (and my friend's little boy) got to sleep without being scared or woken up by fireworks. The bad news is that it happened after two mortars (I learned that's what they are called and are similar to a stick of dynamite - they are strickly created to make a huge BOOM sound rather than to have bright lights) went off, and I completely and totally lost my temper. It was horrible.
My friend Sara was putting her nearly 2 year old son, Nash, to bed when I heard the second mortar go off, and I grabbed Liam and Noah - who mind you, was only wearing a shirt because he had just gone to the bathroom. I almost dragged him out of the house without wearing pants or underwear, which should have told me that I crossed the crazy line, but it didn't stop me. I threw some shorts on him, and we were out the door. I couldn't leave them behind because Ryan wasn't home, and I couldn't have Sara dealing with 3 kids under 3 years old on her own. So, out the door we went.
As I walked closer to their house, I noticed that there were at least 4-5 people hanging out in their driveway. Awesome. A scene...just what I was hoping to create (note sarcasm). I started out screaming and pleading with my friend to stop because I couldn't take it anymore. Then, her husband came out front and told me that if he'd talk to me but only if I'd calmed down. YIKES, I had really crossed the temper line. I looked down to see their 6 year old daughter looking scared with tears in her eyes, and my heart broke. I apologized to her for yelling at her mommy and daddy and told her that I felt embarrassed to act that way in front of her. I explained that I was really upset because my kids were scared and crying from their fireworks but that I shouldn't have lost my temper. No matter how angry I felt, I definitely didn't want to upset their daughter. Like I said, they have great kids!
I told the husband that maybe we should go talk in my yard to get away from all the people watching. One guy started yelling some really hurtful things about Ryan and me, which was total icing on the cake, and saying that I was really responsible for bringing my kids with me outside. Trust me, I didn't want to bring them, but it wasn't really an option to have my 3 year old babysit my 8 week old baby. Regardless, we walked away from everyone and started talking more calmly. The guy shared that he has really tried to be respectful of our feelings by not sending them off on the 4th of July. I told him that I'd rather he have one day like that where he goes crazy with fireworks and mortars than a couple here and more there and another batch there. I can get my kids through one night of that. He also shared that they were trying to set them off earlier in the night so that it didn't wake up the kids. His intentions were good, but 8:00-8:30 is the time when we are putting Noah to bed, so it turns into a huge event. Last, he was setting them off down the street from us so that they didn't go right over our roof. Again, super considerate that he was trying to find a compromise. Unfortunately, they still shook my windows and terrified my kids.
Then, as we were talking, another guy about my age walked up and said, "Hey, do you guys know who is setting off fireworks? They keep waking up my 10 month old daughter." At that moment, I felt like God was saying, "Amy, I know you're by yourself with your two kids, but I'm right here. You are not alone." The guy was super nice and explained that he, too, didn't mind some fireworks, but the mortars were shaking his windows and scaring his kid. My neighbor explained that he wasn't trying to hurt my kids or disrespect us. He had been trying to find a way to compromise. I shared that Ryan talked to a realtor, who happens to be the mother of one of his best friends (she helped us purchase our house) that day to find out what we needed to do to sell our home. We just couldn't live like this anymore. I told them that we really care about their family, and it really hurt us that we've been dealing with the issue for three years. He said that they would hold off on the fireworks until the last day in July when they have family coming into town. That night they would be setting them off. He said he would leave us a note with the date and times. I really appreciate that effort because we can plan ahead. It's still not ideal to have them going off, but I'll take it over what we've had in the past. I apologized to my friend several times for yelling at her like that, especially in front of her daughter, which of course made me cry. She kept reassuring me not to worry about it and that it was ok. All I wanted was for them to stop hurting my kids, even though that was obviously not their intention. Bleh...what an ordeal!
I really went back and forth about writing today. I just wanted to follow up to put closure to the situation. Hopefully that will be the last time we have to deal with the issue. The last thing I want is conflict with our neighbors. Like I said, they are really nice people. We just have a major conflict of interest when it comes to their fireworks. Hopefully we can move forward without dealing with this issue ever again. Fingers crossed...