Waking the Walker

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

Tag: Family

Permission to Pause

I had every good intention of making this month’s post all about my Son and my TWD Summer Road Trip, which took place from June 15th – June 22nd, but when I woke up this morning, I realized I was biting off more than I could chew (no pun intended.)


I have been hurriedly writing the recap during my lunch breaks this week, but I am only half way through our trip and would never be able to complete it before midnight tonight.

If I had the energy in the evening I might have, but by the time I get home after a long day at work, it’s all can do to get dinner, clean up and conjure up my lunch for the next day.

When I started this blog three years ago, my goal was to post monthly, which I have done religiously. The idea of not posting any month is not one I take lightly, but I “paused” this morning and meditated on all that transpired this month and decided it was OK to give myself “permission to pause.”

13614181 - glassy aqua blue play pause icon

I’ve given myself permission to take a break after a busy end of school year, which ran right into our road trip, which tallied up over 2,000 miles of driving, then back to work without a day to regroup. Add to it, one hell of a busy week at work.

In simple words “I’m spent!”

Tired Woman

I want the upcoming 4-day weekend to be time for me. Will I do chores around the house? Sure, but at a leisurely pace, allowing myself time to breath, and not chastising myself for any tasks I don’t accomplish.

This is something I’m not very good at, and am working on learning how to lighten up on myself. Something I need to do, not just for me, but for my Son too.

I can be very driven and list oriented, setting goals and pushing till I achieve everything on my list. This isn’t a bad trait, but it can be limiting and can keep me from allowing myself to play.

This is one of the biggest contrasts between my Son and I, and because he has not found a job for the Summer, is making me twitch a bit. I don’t want to see him waste his Summer away, and after his first week on his own, I’m concerned he will.


My Son is not very self-motivated, which concerns me on many levels, but pushing and nagging is not the answer. Nor is resenting the fact that he’s at home, doing as minimal as possible, while I’m at work, spinning in circles, then coming home with more work to do.

Last night the hammer came down, with Mom giving him an ultimatum. Either start being more productive during the day (He has things he needs to accomplish.) or I take his laptop to work with me.

I believe he needed to hear this, but after I pondered my own situation this morning, I realized he too deserves the opportunity to “pause.”

He worked his butt off this past school year, and although we went on vacation already, neither one of us has had the opportunity to just be happy the insanity of his Junior Year is behind us.

The key thing for me though, is to make sure he doesn’t stay stuck on pause, which is where that ultimatum comes into play.

In addition, July and August will be busy unto themselves, even without a job. This is the Summer the serious college stuff gets put in motion, which will most definitely challenge both of us.

Add to it band rehearsals, band camp, Senior pics and doctors appointments and I’m thinking were going to need a “pause” before we head into Senior Year and my Son’s final marching band season, which as a booster member can be even busier for me.

So, with that said, I wish you all a very Happy 4th of July and promise next month’s post will bring you the great adventures of our TWD Summer Road Trip, the 2017 Edition.

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

Pause – Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_hemantraval’>hemantraval / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

Tired Woman – Copyright: <a href=’https://www.123rf.com/profile_memoangeles’>memoangeles / 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.

11008299 - the four horsemen of the apocalypse in the sky.

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.

22066918 - sad man, head on knees, vector illustration

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 »

Staying Sane in a World Gone Mad

I’m quite sure I’m not the only one that has experienced the feeling that some days just one more stressful situation could be the tipping point that puts us over the edge. It is most certainly a test of our metal and those with a sensitive constitution may crack at the first sign of trouble. To be honest it may not even take that much for some, especially those suffering with mental health issues.

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So, if the normal day-to-day is all it takes to crack the mentally unstable, what happens in an apocalypse?  Would their illness actually help them because now the world is as mad as they are? Or, would they be the first to fall?

What about those who are strong, and grounded in reality? Would they be the survivors and leaders? Or, could this be the very thing that pushes them to join the ranks of the unstable?

Please understand I don’t stay awake thinking about these things, but when it seems some days the world we live in is on the brink of going over the edge it’s hard to not wonder.

Plus, as a fan of “The Walking Dead” the subject of “how would you react should a zombie apocalypse strike?” has come up in conversation, and although I would hope that I would stand strong, using my wits and common sense, especially to protect my son, I could just as easily crumble under the weight of the challenge.

You really don’t know until you are faced with a challenge how you will react.

With that said, not having any re-life examples of a zombie apocalypse to call upon, thank goodness, one can turn to the characters in “The Walking Dead.” Comparing those of “sound mind,” with those on “the fringes of reality,” to see how they react when confronted with the fall of the World as we know it.

The obvious character to zero in on is Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln), not only is this his story, but he was not awake to see the World fall. In a coma at the start of the apocalypse, he awakens to find the dead roaming the streets and none of his loved ones anywhere to be found.

As a Sheriff, his observation skills are a huge asset. He sees things others wouldn’t and is convinced his wife Lori (Sarah Wayne Callies) and son Carl (Chandler Riggs), are alive, it’s just a matter of where.

His quest to find his family leads him deep into the rabbit hole that is the world of “The Walking Dead.”

Episode-1-Rick-Door-760 Read the rest of this entry »

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.
Read the rest of this entry »

Zombie Robot Mode

As March ended and April started, I found myself sinking into “Zombie Robot Mode.” Going through the motions with little emotion. Running on autopilot. It’s that “stuck in rut” mode with no clue how to brake the cycle. I’ve been in this place before and it usually ended up with me making a major change like a new job, or even picking up and moving to a new state. That was before becoming a Mom. Roboat Woman

I will be at my present job for 14 years this December. The closest I ever came to staying at a job longer than 2 – 3 years was a 7 year run at an ad agency, which ended with me leaving my husband and then moving to the beach. When I needed a change, I would go for it. (In the world of advertising that was actually the only way to really find advancement, so it helped.) Unfortunately, that doesn’t work so well when you’re raising a child. We have moved, quite a few times, till settling into the beautiful home we are in now, thanks to my sister, but each one of those moves was based on what would be best for my son. As was my decision to settle into my present job. When raising a child the key factor is always security. Emotional, spiritual, physical and financial.

As a creative person at times I have felt myself stagnating. Resurrecting my writing 6 years ago has been my saving grace. I may not be writing full-time, which is my ultimate goal, but I am still writing, which sustains me when the day-to-day ends up sucking the life out of me. So, why are things getting to me more now than any time before? Could it be facing another birthday, knowing I’m not getting any younger and my dreams are just as far away now as they were 20 years ago? Maybe, but, I try hard to be a glass half-full kind of girl, and can usually pull myself up and out of a dark mood. Something more was at play, but what?
Read the rest of this entry »


Hershel and Beth Greene

Hershel and Beth Greene

In a month normally filled with joyous gatherings of family and friends the subject of loss seems so unfitting, but I found myself profoundly effected by the loss of Beth Greene (Emily Kinney) on “The Walking Dead” mid-season finale and to be honest, I couldn’t quite figure out why. Other characters have been killed off, including ones my son and I were quite fond of and ones that really helped to move the story line along. In particular, Hershel Greene (Scott Wilson), Beth’s father. My best guess as to why her death got to me was that she, like her father, was becoming a beacon of hope in an otherwise bleak end of times world. Plus, she was just coming into her own, having grown from a shy, frighten teen, so distraught with the realities of this horrible apocalyptic world that she came close to taking her own life. Any life cut short is sad, but one with so much prospect is truly a tragedy. I realize these are fictitious characters, but, it made me wonder if there were any lessons in the grieving process that could be garnered by the loss of our favorite fictitious characters.

Before I could ponder this any further, my family was forced to deal with the sudden illness of my 94 year old mother, which landed her in the hospital and now in a skilled nursing facility for the remainder of her days. We knew for awhile that this day may come, but when you’re slapped in the face with it and no other options, it can be earth shaking. She has health issues that we thought would be what would take her from us, but some how she kept motoring along. We worked hard to keep her at home, but the reality of the situation hung large over our heads. For years we were watching who she was slowly drifting away due to the ravages of dementia, which was breaking our hearts. When pneumonia hit, along with the discovery of congestive heart failure, we knew we could no longer care for her on our own.
Read the rest of this entry »

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