Braving the Garden Again

poison ivyBack in 2007 when my family was about to go on our 4th of July vacation, I innocently said to my poor husband, “Honey, can you just pull up that gigantic weed before we go?” 3 days later, while the rest of us were frolicking in our bathing suits and tank tops, he was miserably covered in a wicked poison ivy rash, the likes of which I’ve not seen except on reruns of The X-Files.

Never have I been so sorry to ask for help in the garden.

I’ve had no big reactions to poison ivy, but, boy, he’s crazy allergic to the stuff. And it wasn’t until the time back in college when he unwrapped his wrist and I gasped in rash-averse horror, that I understood the depth of his poison ivy anguish. It itches. It’s ugly. It oozes! Oh my!!

He was a trooper that summer week, even wearing long sleeves on the beach to shield the world from the bubbling turmoil that was his personal appearance. But, as upbeat as he tried to be, the spirit-crushing scratching, combined with the steroid-induced mania, was enough to make him swear off the garden for good.

A testimony to my husband’s love for me (or to his evaluation that our yard was completely out of control) was that this past weekend, despite numerous suspicious ivy sightings, he got back in the garden again. Armed with the poison ivy picture print-out that’s taped to our refrigerator door, he stayed alert and stayed away.

Well, mostly.

I’m happy to report that thanks to hyper-vigilance on his part (and a nice big helping of Tecnu poison ivy wash), he’s only got about a dozen bumps and, for him, that’s nothing.

I’m also happy to report that in braving the poison ivy, my husband has lived out a lesson that we’ve been trying to teach the children of late: that no matter what happens, whether we get poison ivy or the swine flu or the carpenter bee eats a hole in our house or even if the house burns down, we’ll still be OK. And, as I like to say, that is most certainly not nothing.

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