So if you have children, you know very clearly that last week was Teacher Appreciation Week.  I love that teachers are celebrated, and there are some fun and creative ways to do this.  At our school, we perhaps go a little over the top, and each day kids do something.  Last Thursday, we were supposed to have each child bring in a flower that would then be made into a bouquet for the teachers.

I remembered this on Monday.  And on Tuesday.  By Wednesday, I’d forgotten and gone to be early.  Thursday morning,  I woke up with an email reminder.  Tell me I’m not the only one who’s been in this situation.

That’s ok though.  We have flowers in our yard that we can snip.  I headed outside with the wee ones and scissors.

Unfortunately the deer had eaten our tulips.  I headed over to the lilac bushes, because it’s possible that I may have needed to cut some before.  This year, the weather in Chicago has not cooperated.  There were no lilacs blooming.  It’s the week of Mother’s Day, and the lilacs still haven’t bloomed.  Uh-oh.

The lilac bushes aren't blooming

I took a deep breath and kept walking.  No roses.  But then I spotted them.  There were some really cool looking yellow flowers growing under the deck.  I smiled and headed towards them.

Yellow flowers under the deck

I walked over and snipped off a branch with several of the yellow flowers and handed one to Little Miss and another branch to Mister Man.  We walked around to the front of the house and headed inside.  And suddenly, I took a closer look at those flowers.  And more importantly, at the leaves.

Three leaves

Oh.  My.  Word.  Suddenly my sleep-addled brain noticed that there were mitten shaped leaves in groups of three.  Did I just cut poison ivy growing rampant under my deck?  My fingers began to itch in sympathy.  See, I’ve never actually had poison ivy before.  So I don’t truly, fully recognize it.  And I was convinced that I had accidentally cut off poison ivy and was going to give it to the teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week.  I had the wee ones run and wash their hands and arms with soap really well while I turned to Dr. Google to see if poison ivy flowered.

Google fills in my poison ivy search

It’s never good when Google finishes your search before you’ve typed it all in.  I sighed, certain that I’d cut poison ivy.  I began to scan the images for flowers that looked like what I’d cut then scanning the articles that accompanied them.  Every poison ivy “yellow flower” looked more like a berry to me.  And the bus was coming, so I had to make a decision.

I finally took a photo of the flowers and texted it to a friend who is good with plants, begging her to reassure me that I was not trying to infect our teachers with poison ivy.  And I waited for her to respond.  And waited.  And I kept searching, finally convincing myself that I think this is jewel wood, not poison ivy.

Photo texted to friend that may be jewel wood

The wee ones hopped on the bus, with the flowers.  And I still hadn’t gotten a text back from my friend confirming that my… shall we call it research? had been accurate.

So teachers, if you felt a little itchy last Thursday, I deeply apologize.  I’m about 95% sure that wasn’t poison ivy I sent in for your bouquet.  I promise I’m signing up for a gardening class soon.


  • Melanie @ Whimsical Creations

    LOL!! Too funny!

    • Michelle

      Ummm, yeah. “Funny” – but only after the fact 😉

  • Kerry

    Oh no! when I saw the title of this post I felt sure it would be something you did when you were a little kid yourself! But it doesn’t sound/look like poison ivy to me. You and your kids would have come up in a rash!

    • Michelle

      Oh no. Nope, this was last week. As an adult. I’ve never had poison ivy, so I think I may actually not be allergic to it given all the tramping through woods I’ve done – which means that there’s a fair shot the wee ones aren’t either. But who knows. Glad YOU don’t think it looks like poison ivy, too.

  • Practical Mama

    Uh oh! If you were able to type on google with those finger, it means you’ve dodged a bullet.

    • Michelle

      Ummm now you have me paranoid. Do you think it looks like poison ivy? Gah!

  • Pat

    Like Kerry, from the title, I thought it was something you had done when you were in elementary school. Yikes…did you ever hear back from the teachers?

    Though you’re horrified now, it’s one of those things you can look back on and laugh at…and tell the story many times.

    • Michelle

      I didn’t hear anything from the teachers. At this point, I’m relatively confident that it was NOT poison ivy. And possibly jewel wood instead. But I was so freaked out – because… yikes!

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