Leave it to me to fall in love with a weed! It all started when we moved into our new home in Tucson a couple of years ago. When we would take walks, I would smell this fragrant scent and be stopped dead in my tracks. It seemed to be a mix of the desert and something strangely floral. Whatever it was, I was completely attracted to it. (I am certain that I looked like the Labrador Retrievers do when they catch a whiff of someone grilling steaks in the neighborhood). To say I was addicted to the aroma would not be much a stretch. Figures.
The problem was, this gorgeous smelling plant was elusive. I would make Dave come with me into the yards of our neighbors to try to track down this aromatic flower. "It must be beautiful; it certainly smells beautiful", I would tell Dave as I made him my partner-in-crime, tracking down this intangible flower. The problem was we could never find which flower was giving off this amazing scent.
Two days ago, we were on the golf course. Notice I didn't say "we were golfing" as it is quite a leap to call my game "golfing". It would be more aptly named "Hit the ball well one time, then poorly the next 8 times. Get frustrated. Call the club names." What? The name is too long for a simple game? I can actually pare it down to a couple of words but this is a family show. Stick with me. Where were we? Oh yes, we were on the golf course. We were driving the cart from one hole to the next, when all of a sudden, I grabbed Dave's arm and yelled, "Stop!!" Naturally, he should know that it was because I smelled that indefinable smell. Well, it seems he didn't. It actually seems he thought I meant he was about to run over a rattlesnake. Somehow, he didn't appreciate my botanical curiosity because he may have used the same words I might or might not call my golf game. We are a match made in Heaven.
We located the scent on this...bush. I couldn't quite call it a flower, but, oh well, maybe it just hadn't bloomed yet. As I was jumping up and down with glee, Dave asked Google, "How do I subdue my crazy wife?" then plucked a small shoot off this plant, hoping we wouldn't get in trouble for disturbing some state flower or important botany beauty. I could hardly play the rest of our round of golf for all the sniffing of the plant I did (Dave may have just rolled his eyes).
We immediately came home and emailed our dear landscaper, Tim, who is always a font of knowledge about plants and flowers. "You have to find this and plant it all over our yard!" I told Tim.
His response took the proverbial wind out of my sails more quickly than a new puppy can tinkle on your new carpet. "Oh, that's an Ambrosia ambrosioides." Sounds good so far, right? Ambrosia is quite lovely, after all. But apparently, this is plant language for Ragweed. Yep, you heard it here. Ragweed. Some form of ragweed is what has been tickling my fancy these last two and a half years! And, might I add, by the time we had received our answer from Tim, it was also tickling my nose and throat. Apparently, I might be a little allergic to ragweed.
Tim went on to say we probably wouldn't be able to put it in our yard, as our HOA likely forbids weeds being planted in landscaped yards. Good grief.
What does all this mess have to do with relationships and communication, you ask?
It seems to me that we often blunder into bad relationships like this. Whether it is a personal relationship or a co-worker situation, we have likely all gotten into friendships or relationships with "weeds". What are the signs we are hanging out with not-so-great folks?
1. They might be attractive in some initial way (their looks, their words, their "scent", etc), but, on closer inspection, they are simply weeds masking themselves as pretty things. We all have encountered them----shallow, pretty people who wind up making us feel quite empty inside. They should come with warning signs, right?
2. They might start out nice (boy, does this smell great?), but they end up being quite toxic for us. I am still feeling the allergy effects from said ragweed. Who hasn't been in a co-worker/relationship with someone who made you feel like poop after being around them for even a few minutes? I would rather get dental work than spend time with these folks, by choice, but I used to seem to be a magnet for them.
3. They might be strangely attractive to us, but our friends seem to know right away that they are bad for us. In the case of evil ragweed, our landscaper warned that our neighbors wouldn't allow it in our yards. Wouldn't that be great if toxic people came with an HOA warning? "Ummm...sorry, you will be unable to bring this person into your heart or into your life because the HOA does not approve." .
Alas, we all have to deal with our own past weeds and make decisions for ourselves. In relationships and school communities, this means building relationships with people who build us up rather than tear us down. It means taking time to realize that, as fulfilling as teaching is, we cannot likely do it without support from each other. It might even mean taking a stand against the toxic weeds and saying, "I am going to continue to do good for the right reasons. I need to remove the toxicity from my life."
I just watched the trailer for "Miss You Already", the new Drew Barrymore movie about lifelong friendship and fierce loyalty to those lifelong friends. I texted my two best friends from college and told them we simply must plan a weekend together soon. They are not weeds to me. Nor are any of my other dearest of dear friends who lift me up when I am low (and don't let me stay down very long). Speaking of feeling low...achoo!! Sorry, I have to go take my allergy medicine!