I am not by nature a quick tempered or confrontational person. Like, even when I've had a glass or three of red wine, the most that happens is that I'll tell you loudly and with a great deal of animation how much I love you and how gorgeous your hair looks tonight! I really don't get a thrill from telling people off, or from any kind of DRAMA.
But last night, as Jim and I pulled in the driveway from a night of Christmas shopping for the kids, our neighbor stood waiting at the edge of our lawn to inquire primly if that "was your dog running around without a leash the other day." And man, I got immediately defensive and angry. This is the woman whose dog attacked ours the first time I attempted to take both the kids and Fonzie on a walk, just a few weeks after Eli was born. I was wearing Eli in a sling, and Addy had been strapped in the stroller, screaming in terror as I tried to drag the dog off Fonzie's neck while still protecting my newborn son. I yelled for help, but it took a few minutes before our neighbor, the woman's husband, sauntered out of his house to call his dog off. He seemed barely apologetic, just saying, "Huh, guess we need to keep these two apart, huh?" At the time, I was too shaken up to say much, but I was absolutely furious. His dog had run at mine- mine was leashed- and latched onto his neck, just inches from my two year old daughter. I have rarely felt so frightened and vulnerable. And unable to coherently express myself.
But boy, I found my words last night, and I quickly turned what should have been a short reminder to keep my dog in my yard into a tongue lashing about how this lady had some nerve, lecturing me about my dog escaping our yard when hers had been just lounging around in their front yard, unattended, when he obviously wasn't able to handle being around other dogs. She got very huffy, informed me that SHE never allowed such a thing and that perhaps her husband had forgotten to chain their dog, and then stormed down the driveway, yelling that there was no need to have gotten nasty.
I went inside, shaking and with a huge case of the nervous tummy. While I felt that I had a legitimate point, it was also true that a, our dog undeniably had been running around the neighborhood that morning, having escaped my eye, and b, the incident in question happened over a year ago, and it was an incident that this woman had had no personal part in. I felt terrible that I had ended the situation is such a way- I just can't stand to have people upset with me unless it's absolutely unavoidable.
I almost went back to her house, which is about four doors down, and tried to make amends. But I decided she might still be upset and not in a making peace frame of mind. So I wrote a note, not overly apologetic, but admitting that I was in the wrong for letting my dog get out and for bringing up such an old situation, and one that didn't directly involve her. I left it in her mailbox this morning, hoping for the best.
Well, I got a call from her this evening, and this lady was just pleased as PUNCH about the note. No kidding. She went on and on about how sincere and heartfelt it was, and how miserable she had been about our exchange until she found the note in her mailbox. She said, and I quote, "I really hope things can be just friendly and... And peachy between us from now on."
So, there you go, kids. Go forth and make peace. Even when it's a bitter pill to choke down. That phone call felt good.