Waking the Walker

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

Tag: Life Lessons

“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Seneca


As one year draws to a close and a new one beckons on the horizon, thinking about wiping the slate clean and starting fresh is an invigorating thing, regardless of what you experienced the previous year.

For my Son and I, 2018 was a year full of a flurry of activity and major change. My Son graduated from high school and headed off to college, leaving me an empty nester.

College

Needless to say this has been a huge adjustment for both us. BUT, now that we are 4 months into it, I can say we are both holding our own.

It was a bit shaky for me the first month or two. Coming home to an empty house, and eating dinner alone being the most difficult adjustments. With time however, it became the new norm, which makes both my Son and I truly appreciate meals together when he’s home on breaks.

So, as a new year approaches, and our new status established, my Son a college student, and me an empty nester, I can officially sign off on “surviving my Son’s zombie years, AKA his teens.”  

With that said, the time has come to bid farewell to my dear friend “Waking the Walker”

https://wakingthewalker.wordpress.com/twd-apocalyptic-parenting-tactics/

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My first blog post was January 29, 2014 and since then, this blog has not just documented the highs and lows of the past four years, but become the anchor that kept me grounded, and helped bring my Son and I closer.

In addition, it aided me in navigating some very challenging times. By writing about whatever was testing me, I was able to find a way to resolve the issue.

It will not be easy to let go of “Waking the Walker” just as it was not easy to see my Son head off to college, but it is the healthy thing to do. I know it is time for me to focus on rediscovering who I am beyond being a Mom.

In meditating on all this, a line from the song “Closing Time” by Semisonic came to mind: “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” – Seneca

Perseverence

This song came out in the late nineties, during the time when I had left my husband and was on a quest to rediscover myself post a suffocating marriage. It was also during this time I met my Son’s father, which in turn lead to me becoming a Mom.

Is it irony or coincidence that this song came to mind as I meditate on once again forging off on a new journey of rediscovery?

Or is it just the universe reminding me that the last time I stepped into this zone the most amazing and wonderful thing occurred. I met the love of my life and became a Mom.

Being a Mom was something I had all but given up on at that time, so it goes without saying that I threw myself in 200%. The center of my universe was and always will be my Son, but I do know he needs to forge his own path, without Mom right by his side. As do I.

Where this new adventure will take me is yet to be seen. Who I am now is very different from who I was back in the nineties before I became a Mom, so this quest of rediscovery will most certainly be different.

Not to say that I’m older and wiser, but I have experienced a lot these past twenty-some years since then, and it is those experiences that will shape and mold my new journey of rediscovery.

Flying Solo

If there is one thing though that I can take from my previous sojourn, it is to “let go and let God.” By allowing things to transpire in God’s time, not our time, we allow the universe to step in and work it’s magic.

So, as my Son and I bid adieu to 2018, and usher in 2019, we will look to the New Year with wide-eyed optimism. Acknowledging that although we are now both on our own adventure, we are still partners in the great adventure called life.

I do hope that some of you who have been regular “Waking the Walker” readers will continue to follow me into my next sojourn. I will post one final post in January of 2019 with the official link to my new blog “Waking the Woman” – a mother’s quest to rediscover herself after her Son leaves for college.

Until then, I wish you all a happy, healthy and prosperous New Year. 

Sunrise

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

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Loosening the Tether


My Son did it. He passed his driving test.

The last great frontier in a teen’s journey to independence. 

AND, the beginning of new anxieties for a parent.

Passed Driving Test

I’m beyond grateful he waited till he felt ready and didn’t let peer pressure get to him. There were time’s he regretted still having to rely on me for rides, but I know deep down he knew he made the right decision. I believe this made him a more conscientious and alert driver.

His excursions on his own have just been back and forth to school, although the day he got his license was the prom. Needless to say I was a bit concerned about him driving, fortunately he only had to get to the school where a shuttle was supplied to transport the students to the prom site location.

He will add back and forth to work to the mix, but we have traveled that root multiple times so I’m praying he’s got that down.

I can’t tell you how weird it felt to see him pull away from the house without me in the car. I was beyond happy for him for his accomplishment, but having a small panic attack too.

Driving Away

I have requested he text me when he arrives at his destination or leaves to head home, but that will have to become a learned habit.

To date he is inconsistent about letting me know he got to his destination, but is getting better about letting me know he’s on his way home. It’s a start, and I’ll take it.

There is no way to truly prepare for this day.

Read the rest of this entry »

What Would Carl Do?


It was these very words that sparked a new way of parenting for me fours years ago, and became the catalyst for this blog.

https://wakingthewalker.wordpress.com/2014/01/29/twd-apocalyptic-parenting-tactic/#more-2

As any parent knows, dealing with a teenager creates a whole new level of challenges. As the hormones kick in, that once sweet, little, abiding child becomes a disconnected, zoned out, somewhat disrespectful foot-dragging walker. Testing you at every turn.

One has to get creative when approaching such a creature.

Zombie Teen

Just as I was at my wits end, it entered my mind that maybe, just maybe, by using “The Walking Dead” (our new found bonding agent) as a tuning fork, I could break through the teen brain fog and make a connection that my son would understand.

My Son had already connected to the character of Carl Grimes, the teenager on the show, so that was where I turned first.

With that in mind, I thought what better a way than then to ask, “What would Carl do?” at the times my Son was slacking and not carrying his share of the load. Or just plain not making wise choices about how he uses his time, particularly with schoolwork due.

The first time I said it, my Son heard me, immediately, and gave me a strange look, like “what are you up to?” I just smiled, said think about it and walked away.

Over time these words have evolved based on what Carl was up to on “The Walking Dead.” Some seasons Carl has been a beaming example for my Son, other seasons he proved to be “What Not To Do” and I used both to my advantage.

Yes, at times my Son got annoyed, but because he was annoyed, I knew he knew what I was getting at.

Of course Carl wasn’t the only character that made for great examples. There is a huge cast on TWD, with characters behaving badly and saintly, all of which make for examples. The subject matter of the show, surviving a zombie apocalypse, sets up for a plethora of behaviors ripe for the picking.

Some may think I’m crazy for even considering such a notion as to use fictitious characters as examples of what to do or not do in life, but I can honestly say I’ve seen growth with my Son since adopting this tactic.

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>

Schooled by the Band


At any away football game, one never knows what you will experience from the home team fans. In general there are no major issues, but there are a few schools where the rivalry is pretty intense, so security tries to keep the students on their respective sides to prevent any clashes.

Over my Son’s high school years, his marching band has had to deal with some heckling as they exited the stadium, but in general it has not been that bad. That was until a game early this month, at which time our football team came out victorious after having lost in regular season to this particular team for the past 5 years.

We usually get a police escort when we exit at this school to aid in preventing any problems, but this time there were no police or even any security nearby. This obviously left the band vulnerable for abuse. Not just verbally either.

A bunch of kids were actually dodging in between the lines of band members as they tried to march. Of course they were trying to incite a fight. In addition, some of the group got in front of the band and took pictures as one of their buddies flipped the bird with the band behind him.

Their behavior was beyond rude and disrespectful.

21851969 - many hands pointing with their fingers to the center

Through all of this the band members just kept marching, not reacting, only politely requesting these intruders get out of the way. Once the band got to the instrument truck the intruders disappeared.

They weren’t gone for good though, after the instruments were packed up and the kids were all on their buses, they reappeared. This time they took to getting physical by volleying rocks at one of the buses. Fortunately the kids on this bus had the windows closed, so no one was injured, but they succeeded in putting a hairline crack in a window.

Needless to say, the band kids were not only extremely shaken up, but also fired up by all of this. They knew they did the right thing in not reacting, but seeing some of their “family” frightened by the intruders truly incensed some of them. As they said, “We are family and no one messes with my family.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Here We Go Again


They say history repeats itself until the lessons we need to learn are learned.

Personally, I believe this is true. Generally because we don’t either consciously acknowledge there is a lesson to be learned in the first place. Or, we refuse to change the behavior that triggered the problem, even when we know it will help.

I see this too often with my Son for both reasons. And, sometimes because he just won’t listen to Mom’s suggestion as to how to remedy the problem that has arisen, which could sort of fall into the “refusing to change behavior.”

This is the very reason I find myself repeating similar themes periodically. It is a vicious cycle.

internet-wasteland

We just went through this during the last marking period. My Son, with permission from his teacher, chose to use his personal copy of the book they were reading in English. Early on though, there were some red flags. Red flags signaling it might be best to also get one of the school’s versions of the book to at least keep at home as back up and reference.

The night of the first assignment related to the book, my Son forgot his copy of the book in his locker. Why? He had taken it to school earlier to get approval to use and decided to store it his locker. His locker can become the black hole, so “storing” anything in it is never a good idea.

Next came poor communication between him and his teacher. Freaked out about forgetting the book, my Son emailed the teacher. Now I did not see her response, but based on what my Son stated, he only needed to track down a bio on the writer and he would be fine.

Note, while waiting for the teacher’s response, I suggested my Son look for a free copy of the book online because the book was no longer under copyright. He declined for more ridiculous reasons then I care to include, but when he got a response from the teacher, he was content with what the teacher told him and felt it wasn’t necessary.

Add to this, had he checked the teachers website, as I also suggested, he would have discovered that he most certainly needed more than a bio. Plus, there was a link to not only a pdf of the book, but also an audio copy.

Needless to say, when he took the test the next day, he was not prepared and did poorly, which lead to the end of the world drama I wrote about last month.

Fast forward to the end of the marking period and a shaky English grade looming in the wings. Read the rest of this entry »

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