Sunday, January 8, 2017

If it weren't for Teddy..

So in the last three weeks, I drove close to 4,000 miles. I will be okay with not driving anywhere but work and home for quite some time. One thing that happened in today's drive is something that hasn't happened in quite some time: inspiration to write a blog. Maybe its because I've had to write so many papers for school, but I only wrote two blogs in 2016. I've written plenty on facebook, so its not like anyone reading this doesn't know what's going on in my life. This blog is a little different. So first some background for those of you that are just tuning in. I officially became known as Teddy in the early part of June in 2001. The day that I got that name/identity I was a shy sixteen year old who had a few close friends at school, but I wasn't really sure who I was. I would pretty much agree to do or say a lot of things just to keep things calm and I very rarely had any ideas of my own or initiated any sort of projects. I was a typical worker bee, give me a list of things to do or say and I would complete my task and stay out of the way. Over the next 15 summers, this new identity would allow me some freedoms to figure out who I wanted to be and discover some of my talents as a leader bee. As a counselor/leader, I could come up with ideas that were fantastic one day and terrible the next, but as long as they were delivered with enthusiasm, no one really cared how good they were. Obviously working at camp over fifteen years, I would see several "generations" of girl scouts grow in their own way. I spent this weekend with several of these ladies, campers who would become coworkers and eventually friends. At one point, one of them said, "Everything I know about table manners I learned from you.." I haven't officially been Teddy in close to 18 months, but I can be in a room with people who know me as Teddy and it is nearly impossible for me not to feel like this "alternate" identity that I got to assume for so many years. At the end of each summer, we would celebrate with a staff party and everyone would make a point to call everyone by their "real name." However, for some reason, that never happened for me. One of my best friends I met at camp and her whole family knows me as Teddy; now, that is also true of everyone I met this weekend, haha. But that comment about table manners had me thinking about all the things that I had learned from Teddy. So whether you met me as Teddy, Elizabeth, Lizzy or Miss Pace, here are a few things that wouldn't be true if it weren't for Teddy.

  • I don't think my sense of humor would be the same if it weren't for Teddy. Teddy never had to think about what she was saying and it turned out that she was pretty funny, even when she wasn't trying, or maybe ESPECIALLY when she wasn't trying. 
  • I know with 100% certainty that I would not be as schedule oriented if it weren't for Teddy. In the early years, Teddy could schedule a week of activities for about 40 girls divided into about 4 or 5 groups and coordinate 2-3 staff and supervision with an ease that I didn't know possible. Later, Teddy could schedule a week of activities for 90+ girls divided into 10-12 groups and coordinate 20+ staff, not always with ease, but always with Teddy's sense of humor.
  • I would not be as courageous if it weren't for Teddy. This one took awhile, those of you who knew Teddy in the early years, probably remember a girl who froze in a canoe when a girl needed help or took her life jacket off in the middle of a lake. Later, Teddy, while still not a fantastic swimmer, would be canoe instructor, archery instructor, and many other things. This courage that Teddy earned helped get me where I am today. If you could ask the 18 year old in the canoe if she thought she would move to a place where she knew no one, she probably would have laughed and maybe cried a little bit at the thought. I also conquered my fear of getting on those horses too, which by the way, was more of a fear of falling off the horse than the horse itself. 
  • I would not have the fabulous network of friends that I have now if it weren't for Teddy. The best part of camp friends is that no matter the time or the distance apart we could all be put in a room together and share endless stories from those summers together like they happened yesterday. I can be sitting across the dinner table with my friend Betsy and her mom and suddenly we are Oscar and Teddy again, with a table full of girls around us, hoping not to get caught throwing ice at each other. I can be sitting at a table with a bunch of my friends at Lindsay's wedding and suddenly we are sitting around at Pre-camp laughing about the new staff, the ones who are still wearing make up, or the old staff that didn't make it, like the kitchen aides that packed their cars up during a thunderstorm and we never heard from them again. 

So, to Socks, Neon, Poptart, Oscar, Malibu, Delta, Disco, Simba, Zippy, Fig, Cupcake, Speed-o, Tiger Lily, Rambo, Sniper, Tweety, Rocky, Sunny, Sarge, Fritz, Rue, Ron, Blu, Bunnie, Turtle, Swoosh, and the many, many others, thanks for helping Teddy figure out who she was, so that I could figure out who I am today. (By the way, don't be hurt if I didn't list your name. Fifteen summers plus about 30 staff each summer is about 450 STAFF members that I worked with, plus the 1000s of campers. My brain just couldn't possibly remember them all. )