PALS AGAIN? Yes. Our Girl Scouts are my real PALS.
August 12, 2022
by Dr. Plastic Picker
Yes! I’m blogging while taking the PALS (Pediatric Advanced Life Support) Pre Course Assessment. It’s an every 2 year course that most pediatricians take, and all trainees take. Since it’s been almost 19 years since I graduated medical school – this must be the 9th time right?
I’m right now on Section 3 on question 8/29. Since it’s the pre-course assessment, I can toggle back and forth between blogging and answering questions. So far so good.
But I really wanted to take this morning while I’m on my PALS journey again for the 9th time, to use a play on words and think of the real PALS in life. This week has been one of self-reflection. I’ve been asked and asked myself, what if I was asked to lead again? And the honest answer is, there has been a silence from the other side and I now realize that it was meant to be. I think initially I was a bit hurt, but now I know it came from a place of love. I was honest and open about my burn out, and why I chose an alternate path. I’ve blogged about it at least 700 times. I realize now that when I articulated my hurt, that I was listened to. And those that were higher than me with responsibilities, understood and have left me alone. Sitting here taking PALS for the 9th time. I truly appreciate it.
I was with my daughter at her physical yesterday morning, and I chatted with her doctor and my friend. My daughter’s pediatrician is the remnant of my Assistant Boss times, the one that I’ll keep in contact with. We talked about my daughter, and in general my family’s health and I had a stark realization yesterday. The kids are healthier since I voluntarily stepped down from Assistant Boss. I’m healthier. And I think as evidence from this blog, the earth is healthier. I took time for myself yesterday and visited my brother’s family, and laughed with my nephews and my sister-in-law. We ate carbohydrates and knew that was part of a our healthy life, because we were creating food memories yesterday. And I didn’t do that before. The way I’m wired at work, is that when I commit to something I commit with my whole heart. And honestly 90 fractious pediatricians to love with my whole heart, was breaking it. I couldn’t understand why sometimes when my whole goal was just to make everyone’s life a little bit better by reducing after hours shifts and managing the part-time doctors and trying to find the perfect schedule for everyone, that sometimes folks would lash out. Or at least I felt they were lashing out at me. Those comments still hurt, and I’ve dealt with it and just put distance between myself and them. Now that I have no official position, it’s easier.
So yesterday I stopped by a clinic that had some of those people, and it was okay. I have no official title that deals with anyone’s schedules, and I’m not beholden to anyone anymore. So I came incognito with shorts and an old shirt that makes me feel pretty, and I was there with my pretty daughter. I got to talk about her leadership and brag with her to a dear friend. Yeah. My kids are turning out great, and they are fundamentally just really good kids. Some of it was the journey our family has been on these past three years. I have no regrets about the trajectory of my career and how we’ve raised them. I’m the only mother they have, and I’ve tried my best at every step of the way. And they are my barometer of what I should do. It’s always been about them anyway.
And realizing that they are healthier, and I’m healthier and the earth is healthier – I realize I’m on the right path.
And with that, my path this morning is leading me back to PALS! That’s the course I have to repeat again. Since I’m enjoying play on words in general, I’m thinking of all my real-life pals and my thoughts turn back to what I have been doing much longer than middle-management which is begin a girl scout leader.
My daughter and I are so glad we stuck with it. She earned her Silver Award and Silver Torch Award this week, and looking back they were meaningful and impactful endeavors. Her leadership journey has been intertwined with mine, and sometimes Girl Scouts would frustrate me. Sometimes middle-management would frustrate me. I thought about giving up being a Girl Scout leader sometimes, and I thought about giving up middle-management as well. But the ending is something I never imagined. I stayed as a Girl Scout leader, and found a way to lead outside of the traditional paths and I can honestly come back to my troop and tell them I stuck with it. I went a different path, and that path was right for me.
And this is what I wrote to our real life friends who have purchased so many cookies throughout the years in support of my daughter and our troop, and I know of me as well. I truly thank you for those boxes of cookies you purchased, and being part of our community.
“She earned her Silver Award for her Wetlands work with her best friend, and the National Silver Torch Award for leadership leading the Middle School Mental Health Club. Our children are being raised within a community of caring families and adults. Eight years with D.M. as Troop Leaders and invested parents has been filled with mostly fun adventures, and many moments of discovery and learning for the girls and ourselves. Proud that almost half of our troop sought to earn the Silver Award or other national award. Three scouts undertook environmental projects and all did a Journey called Breathe which included lessons on clean air, health and advocacy. It hasn’t been easy balancing work with mommy duties, and trying to help our daughters have a meaningful scouting experience. But thank you to our community mostly off-facebook, but many here as well who bought cookies (so many cookies), and helped the girls along the way. Most of the girls are continuing onto the next level. Here’s to keeping a troop together for 8 years, and I can’t believe so many have reached or will reach their Silver Award. VV told me a few nights ago, “Mommy I’m so glad you encouraged me to finish my project. Now I understand how important it is to be recognized.” And she’s brimming with wonderful ideas for her Gold Project which has to do with women’s rights, but taking the lessons she learned from diving into environmental work. We will still be selling cookies next season!!!! Much love to you from our family and many many thanks.”
And proof I finished this blog and my PALS Pre-course self assessment at the same time! I did pretty well, if I don’t say so myself!!! LOL.