Waking the Walker

A mother's quest to survive her son's "zombie" years – aka his teens.

Tag: faith

Waking the Woman


To all my regular “Waking the Walker” readers I have officially taken the leap from Single Parenting blogging to Self-Discovery blogging.

In January of 2019 I launched “Waking the Woman – a Mother’s quest to rediscover herself after her Son leaves for college”

https://wakingthewoman.com/

Goddess Masthead

This new blog is very much in it’s infancy (pun intended), but if you enjoyed reading my adventures while parenting my Son, I would hope you’d find my journey to rediscover the woman that got lost during those parenting years just as interesting and entertaining. And maybe even inspirational.

To date this sojourn has already hit roadblocks, but unearthing the woman that got lost while focusing on raising my Son is going to take a lot more work than I ever thought.

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As I noted in this months post “Out of Sorts” I have just had the epiphany that I am stuck in the limbo between two worlds: that of Full-Time Mom and Empty Nester. Thus making the road to rediscovery even more challenging.

In many ways I am now the “Walker” meandering the earth being swayed by whatever way the horde may go.

© Mariann E. Danko and Waking the Walker, 2019. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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An Attitude of Gratitude


After the insanity of the past couple months at work, which lead me to feeling as though I had lost my way, I had one day early this month where I was actually caught up, at least for a few hours.

Something I haven’t experienced in months.

I knew this moment would not last long; so I took advantage of it and allowed myself time to breathe. During that time I meditated on the fact that despite the frenetic days we can all experience at my office, everyone generally stays in an upbeat mood.

Meditation

Are there moments of bitching and complaining? Sure, we are human after all. We have our limits.

Overall though, there is an attitude of gratitude. My co-workers are grateful to have a job, and have the opportunity to do overtime to help make ends meet. Not every company would be so generous.

It made me realize that although in general I too am upbeat, over the course of the past couple months, I have had some days that I resented having to do overtime.

Not because I mind doing it. Honestly I don’t mind an extra hour every day, or a day here and there when I might need more than that to get almost caught up.

What I resent is that I now need to do it in order to make ends meet. I don’t have an option.

You see, my Son had received Social Security benefits because his father passed when he was three. This additional monthly income allowed me to make ends meet and not have to do overtime all the time in order to do so.

BUT, when my Son graduated from high school that money was cut off. Personally I feel that makes no sense. Wouldn’t that money come in handy when sending your child to college? Of course it would.

Obviously Social Security doesn’t think that way, but I won’t get into that now.

Leading up to the date this money was to be cut off I was having anxiety attacks about how to replace this money. Did I need to take on a part time job? Or, would there be enough work at work to warrant consistent overtime?

Perseverence

My answer came as things began to get busier than normal in late Spring, and explode through the Summer and Fall. Just at the time I needed it.

Will things stay this way? I don’t know for sure, but for now I am able to fill the financial void that caused me great anxiety, which is a good thing.

And, over the course of the past couple months I have adjusted to a longer workday. It has become my new norm.

In addition, should I need to supplement with a part-time job if the OT ends up not being consistent, I will be mentally and emotionally prepared.

So, although I may not be thrilled that working more than 40 hours a week is my new way of life, I am grateful that the opportunity is there.

I am also grateful that I didn’t have to do this while my Son was still at home. There are many families out there that can’t say the same.

While pondering all this, I have realized though that you can’t just say you are grateful, you have to live life with a grateful heart. It has to be at your core, all the time.

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I have also discovered this is most definitely easier said than done. All it takes is one overly stressful day to push any form of gratitude back into resentment.

It is with all of this in mind, that I am working on not just consistently having an attitude of gratitude, but living every day with a grateful heart. And this applies to all aspects of my life, not just my work situation.

My hope is that in so doing, I will be putting positive energy out into the universe, which in turn will bring positive energy back to me. Thus creating a circle of positivity, which can only open doors to a better way of living.

I do realize this may seem like a Pollyanna concept, but what better time of year to come to this realization and decide to make a conscious effort to change my way of thinking.

The holidays are upon us and a New Year is beckoning.

A new year in which I have vowed to introduce my new blog “Waking the Woman – a Mother’s quest to rediscover herself after her Son leaves for college.”

AND, part of my rediscovery will most definitely involve working on living with a grateful heart.

Everlasting Love

As we head into one of the busiest times of the year, I’m quite sure my efforts will be tested on multiple levels, so check back next month for an update on my progress.

 

 

© Mariann E. Danko and Waking the Walker, 2018. All rights reserved.

 

At a Crossroads Without a Compass


In 1995, at the age of 34, I walked out of a dead-end marriage. I was beyond stressed, not just about my marriage, but work too.

Anyone who has ever worked in advertising or marketing can relate to the ridiculous levels of stress one can experience in this world. In the beginning it was exciting, but one can only take all that BS for so long, and I had been at for 15 years.

I felt trapped at work and home. I felt like there was no way out.

Dead End Sign Maze No Way Out Danger Warning 3d Illustration

It was a co-worker who encouraged me to just set a date, and leave my husband. At first I thought the idea was nuts.

How do you just do that?

The worse things got though, the more it made sense. 

I knew I could only tackle one life-sucking situation at a time. Leaving my husband was a lot easier than figuring out what to do about my job, especially because the stress of the two made me brain-dead.

Read the rest of this entry »

My Walker is Waking


As I work my way through the last year of writing this blog, I find deciding on the theme for the month becoming more challenging than when I started the blog four years ago. 

This is actually a good thing because it means my “walker” may actually be “waking” to the real world around him. The teenage brain fog is lifting, allowing my Son to get out of his head and be in-tune to his environment.

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I’m thrilled because this is key to finding success in college, which will be the next leg of his developmental journey.

Not saying we don’t still have challenges and there is some regression here and there, he is a teenager after all.

The good thing is there have been definite signs of growth over the course of the four years I’ve been writing this blog. My Son is discovering whom he is and has gotten comfortable in his own skin.

He is also starting to look to the future with excitement and gets that his actions now have a bearing on how that future plays out.

In addition, he gets that he will no longer have Mom as a buffer and has to get better at being “independent” in all areas, not just some. Just the fact that he acknowledges there are areas he needs to work on is a huge step.

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This all sets up for his success in the future which is all I hope and pray for.

Parenting is a challenging job and all too often over the years I have second guessed myself, so seeing positive results at this point in our journey is very gratifying.

I have no doubt that college will put before us a whole new set of challenges, but for now I will bask in the sunshine of my walker’s awakening.

So, during this the month of “Thanksgiving” when we all pause to count our blessings and ponder all we are grateful for, I most certainly can say I am joyous my “walker” is showing signs of “waking.”

I am also eternally grateful for all who have stood by, and continue to stand by, my side. Offering not only support, but also guidance. As a single parent I have never had a partner as a sounding board or buffer, it has been just me, facing some difficult decisions, so having access to outside council has been my saving grace.

Without it, I’m not sure we would be where we are in this journey. 

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As they say, it takes a village to raise a child, and I have most definitely accessed mine and am beholden to all.

With my Son continuing to work on his driving skills in preparation for taking his driver’s test in hopes of getting his license, I am beyond thankful that he is “waking” and feel blessed that he did not rush into this extremely serious and responsible step prematurely.

Just like every other parent though, I can’t help but worry, praying that he does not relapse into “walker” mode while he is driving. 

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This however is a “theme” for another month. I want to hang onto the euphoria of my “walker waking” for as long as I can.

 

© Mariann E. Danko and Waking the Walker, 2017. All rights reserved.

Meditation – Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_lenm’>lenm / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Never Give In and Never Give Up


As my Son once again became Mr. Pessimist about the future of his English grade this marking period due to a bad quiz grade, I once again wondered how the Son of an optimistic Mother could become so negative. How quickly he turns to “the world is coming to an end” and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. He is willing to pack it in at the first sign of trouble.

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Not sure what kind of help he’d be in a real apocalypse.

If this was the only area I saw the defeatist attitude, I could equate it to the fact that in general, schoolwork has come fairly easy to him over the years. So when he gets a not so great grade, whether it be because he didn’t study enough, misunderstood direction or just plain hit a wall, he gets angry with himself because he prides himself on getting good grades.

Academic success is a priority to him, so one would think that this would be the best motivator ever, instead of taking on a defeatist attitude.

The truth is, he reacts this way to just about everything. Something wonky is going on with his computer, his reaction, it’s broken, it can’t be fixed; I need a new computer. When I feel he may be gaming too much and it’s interfering with not just schoolwork, but home chores, he instantly goes to, “Fine, just get rid of everything. I’ll just sit and stare at the walls.” Or, if something is lost, obviously in the house, he freaks and says it’s gone for good.

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There is no mid-way, he goes from life is fine, to it’s an apocalypse in a matter of seconds. I have to first calm him down; then, back him off of the cliff, in order for him to see the situation is not as grave as he sees it. Once I get him here, he usually resolves the issue, sometimes rather quickly, and the apocalypse is averted. Read the rest of this entry »

PERSEVERANCE


When the student becomes the teacher, it is time to pause and take note as to how far one has come. On a recent Sunday night, this is precisely what happened in my household.

Chris Hardwick - Talking Dead _ Season 5 - Photo Credit: Jordin Althaus/AMC

Chris Hardwick – Talking Dead _ Season 5 – Photo Credit: Jordin Althaus/AMC

On the evening in question, the “Talking Dead” revealed the winner of their Ultimate Walking Dead Fan Competition. The coveted price for this contest was a seat on the couch next to the TWD guests of the week. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Talking Dead, this is a TWD after-show, where host Chris Hardwick and guests discuss that week’s episode of “The Walking Dead.” The guests generally include 2 actors and/or producers from the show and a non-show related celebrity that is a TWD follower.

I’m sure by now you can guess that I entered this contest, why else would the announcement of the winner have any impact on me. The main requirement for the contest was that you had to have a passion for The Walking Dead, know the show inside and out, and have an energetic personality.

To enter the contest you had to submit a 30 second video stating why you are the ultimate fan. Using this blog as my grounds to be the ultimate TWD fan, I created a video, ending with a poster size image of the t-shirt that was created to promote the blog.

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I sent the video off with hope in my heart that maybe just maybe this could be the break I needed to help get more traffic to my blog, which in turn would help when pitching the blog to agents and publishers. The next day, much to my surprise, I received a request to complete release forms allowing the producers the right to air the video on national TV and post on their website, where viewers could vote for their favorite.

The e-mail stated “Based on your video, we might be interested in potentially featuring you on our show.” Plus “If you’re interested, please send us your phone number, address, and any of your social media handles (i.e. Twitter, Instagram, Facebook…)” Why they needed social media handles I wasn’t sure, but I felt that it was a positive sign, and regardless as to what happened with the competition, meant the producers may actually check out my blog and writer’ Facebook page.

Rainbow in clouds

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Monsters Under the Bed


Monsters Under the BedAs a child I’m sure you had things that frightened you, I know I did. During the day all would be fine, but once night fell, my imagination would run wild with images of monsters under my bed, in my closet or at the window outside. Every noise I heard during the night was sure to be something scary with fangs and claws coming to get me. God forbid I had to go into the basement by myself. And not just at night, it could have been any given time of the day. That was the dungeon of all things creepy, lurking in every dark corner.

For me, vampires were my number one nemesis. Guessing I watched way to many Bella Lugosi movies in my formative years. Even in the summer, I would sleep with sheets pulled up around my neck. Hell, I still do. Some habits die hard. Even though I knew vampires weren’t real, the imagery in books, films and even TV, remember “Dark Shadows,” laid out an extremely believable world. Enough so that I bought the concept of these undead creatures roaming the earth by the dark of the night in search of their next victim. As an adult, I know better, although I can honestly say that I have known people who are vampire-like, sucking the life out of me, draining me physically, emotionally and mentally. They scare me more than the fictional ones for sure.
Zombie Teen
As you know, if you’re a regular reader, as a child, my son had a major fear of zombies eating his brain during the night, so he slept with a knit cap on. He has fortunately out grown that, and actually visualizes how he would battle them. Another valuable lesson learned from “The Walking Dead.” He keeps quite an arsenal of Nerf weapons in his room, just in case. (Funny thing though, what he doesn’t get is that his love of electronics is the “real” zombie slowly eating away at his brain. And the new monster under my bed keeping me awake at night and during the day.)

My son, however, is still not fond of a dark house. He turns on lights en route to every room and very often leaves the trail of lights on even with threats to use his allowance to pay the electric bill. The irony here is that he can watch and read things other than “The Walking Dead” that are definitely in the horror genre. Not the slice ‘em dice ‘em ones, but the supernatural, creatures from another world ones, like “American Horror Story” and “Supernatural.” I’m not a huge fan of “American Horror Story,” not because it’s not a good show, but because I found it hard to follow and a bit too out there for me. If that’s believable. “Supernatural” on the other hand sucked me in just like “The Walking Dead” and has become our new addiction.
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