Waking the Walker

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

Tag: maturity

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 »

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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.

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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 »

Surviving the IN-BETWEEN Time


As of late I am feeling more and more as if I’m living in a state of limbo. A limbo caused by what I refer to as my Son’s “IN-BETWEEN” stage, the time between preparing for college and actually going to college. It’s kind of an amplified level of the tweens and in all honesty worse than the tweens.

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My Son wants to be independent, but at the same time, in some instances, continues to hang on to Mommies’ apron strings. He keeps me at arms length. Doesn’t want Mom involved, but needs to know she’s close by, just in case.

He’s OK with me being his alarm clock in the morning, but can’t handle when I get on him to speed things up so he doesn’t miss the bus.

He’s OK with me reminding him he needs gym clothes on gym days, but can’t stand when I remind him about college prep stuff that is due.

He’s willing to share the loft space with me, which is my office, to do his homework, but doesn’t want to hear my suggestions on how to work more efficiently.

Plus, he can get ornery when I’m at my computer for an extended period of time while he’s doing his homework. He thinks I’m spying on him, not actually working. Trust me I’m not, but it doesn’t help that he acts very suspicious more often than not.

Note, it was his decision to move his laptop from his room to the loft in an effort to combat his Internet wandering while doing homework. He felt if he were out in the open he’d be less tempted to roam.  SO, he wants me to be able to see what he’s doing, but he doesn’t want me to say anything when I catch him wandering.

Can I bang my head against a wall now?

22527628_m Read the rest of this entry »

Dealing with Sudden and Unexpected Change


OK, so I may not have awaken from a coma to discover that the dead are roaming the earth in search of fresh meat, but when you go to the ER thinking your stomach and back pain is due to a side effect from a medication and find out it’s a renal infarction which is very rare, and, you need to be admitted to the hospital to have more tests run to find out what caused this, your world is most definitely turned upside down, just as Rick Grime’s (Andrew Lincoln) was when he awoke in “The Walking Dead.”

Episode-1-Rick-Door-760

After waiting for 3 hours to be seen, and then a battery tests, I was told at 1:30 AM what my diagnosis was and that I was being admitted. I began to panic. My son was home sound asleep, having gone to bed thinking his Mom would be home at some point during the night. My first thought was, what if my son doesn’t wake up on time and misses the bus?

Plus, he will freak out when he realizes Mom is not home.

This was all deja vu from 2009 when I landed in the hospital for a week with pneumonia with sepsis. My Son was in elementary school and this was most definitely a scary time for him. Thank goodness one of my sisters could come and stay with him so as not to disrupt his routine.

As a teen he could stay by himself, but on the first morning I needed to get someone to stop at the house to be sure he’s up and doesn’t miss the bus. Plus tell him what’s going on. Read the rest of this entry »

GUILT – Motivator or Inhibitor


One morning this lovely month of October the challenge to get my Son up and moving in the morning was amplified when he missed the bus. If you are a regular reader, you know this is a long-standing problem, and one in which I have exhausted every possible idea as to how to change it. I have told my Son he has to find a method that works because when he’s in college I won’t be there to constantly push him to move. Basically he has to be part of the solution not the problem. It’s obvious this has not quite sunk in yet.

On this particular morning though, I was coming off a bad day the previous day and was not feeling well, so I was not a happy camper to begin with when my Son reappeared at the front door after I had warned him his lack of speed could result in missing the bus. This meant I had to hurriedly finish getting myself together and leave 10 – 15 minutes earlier than normal so I could get him to school on time.

Note, I could have taken him late, but he is up for National Honor Society and too many late/tardies will go against him.

Needless to say I had a few choice words, which my Son did not appreciate, even knowing this was the direct result of his lack of action. Trust me, I know yelling is not the answer, but how long is it going to take for my Son to realize his actions or lack there of, effect other people? He’s close to being 17 and even though he can see this in other people, he doesn’t seem to see it himself. At times he has also tried to throw the blame onto others, including me. This infuriates me, but part of maturity is taking responsibility for your actions, which he does more often than he used to, but in this case, he did not and tried to throw it back on me.

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How you might ask? I went to push his hair out his eyes as he was leaving and he paused to look at it in the mirror, wanting to be sure I didn’t mess it up. So, because I made him pause, it was my fault. This took just a matter of seconds. The extra 10 – 15 minutes he lost dragging his butt out of bed certainly had more bearing on his late exit than those seconds. Once those words came out of his mouth he quickly regretted them. My tirade escalated with this and I pointed out that this was all on him.

I was not at all surprised when his next words were “why do you always make me feel guilty?” In this case he most definitely should feel guilty, but by saying this he was indirectly attempting to throw guilt back at me. Again, very much the wrong thing to do in this case.

Guilt is a funny thing. Sometimes it pushes us to go over and above to make up for whatever indiscretion brought that emotion on. While other times, it makes us feel less than whom we are, thus holding us back from fully developing. Or, it pushes us into making excuses for not following through. “I’m not good enough, why bother?” I’ll never add up to anything, so why bother?” A defense mechanism to ease the pain that comes with the guilt.

GUILT is defined as “a bad feeling caused by knowing or thinking that you have done something bad or wrong.”

When we know we’ve done something wrong, whether it be through our words or actions, it can haunt us until we make things right. We need to own up to our actions and accept the consequences. It’s not easy, but it’s the “grown-up” thing to do.

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The thinking part on the other hand can really wreck havoc with our lives. We can play head games with ourselves, over analyzing our words and actions. Believing we did something wrong that directly caused pain for another, when in actuality the other person may not have been phased. Or, we read into something that was said or done and believe the other person was directly blaming us for whatever occurred. When again, the other person has moved on and not given it second thought.

I know for myself I have done this on more than one occasion, particularly since becoming a parent. I have at times beat myself up if I felt I was too hard on my Son or got angry and yelled when staying calm would have been the better tactic. I have most certainly worried that some of my actions may be why my Son may not be achieving all I believe he can.

Classic Parent Guilt I suppose, but you can’t help yourself. You want your kids to be all they can be, so when your kid tells you “you always make me feel guilty” even when you know he’s just trying to throw the blame, you can’t help but step back and wonder if your child might be right. Read the rest of this entry »

CHANGE


“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”
Viktor E. Frankl

I had good intentions of dedicating this month to an attitude of gratitude. My son and I were going to play a daily round of what I dubbed “Bob’s Blessing Assessing,” styled after Bob Stookey (Lawrence Gilliard Jr.) from “The Walking Dead.” Him and Sasha Williams (Sonequa Martin-Green) would play the “good out of the bad” game in an effort to lighten the gloom of the zombie apocalypse they were struggling to survive in. She would state something that in their situation was definitely a negative and he would reply with a way to turn it into a positive. For example; she would say “danger around every corner” his response, “never a dull moment.” or “hot sun beating down on you,” he’d reply, “gorgeous tan” and one of the best, “no privacy,” his reply, “captive audience” followed by him giving Sasha a kiss. Which brought a smile to everyones face. So, this little game did help to lighten the load in not just their lives, but those around them.

Bob and Sasha

Bob and Sasha

My thoughts were if they could find a blessing in anything while trying to survive in a zombie apocalypse, my son and I could surely be able to find sunshine in anything that brought us gloom in a non-apocalyptic world. The problem was, we found it hard to find the gloom. In reality, even if we complained about something or were upset about something that occurred during the day, we never considered it enough of a negative that we would have to dig deep for the positive. We knew it was something that would pass and not worth giving that much energy. As I look back at our efforts, I’m quite pleased because we learned that despite our grumbling at times, we both know we are truly blessed and nothing can take that away from us. Not even the daily parent/teen struggles.

red flagThis exercise also made me realize that my son might actually be understanding that some things happen for a reason and that some of the negative things in our lives are there to teach us lessons. That maybe, just maybe, they are a sign that we might need to change how we do things or think about things. My theory was quickly ripped to shreds at the first sign of trouble with school work. As many of you regular readers know, my son can challenge me when it comes to his time management and organization of school work. My June post was all about this, which prompted me to bring in a private tutor to help with his study skills, which needed to be fine-tuned in order to survive his high school years. In general, my son gets good grades, but has the occasional not-so-great ones, which I’m OK with because I know we all have off days. It’s the not-so-great final grades that raise the red flag, especially when things seemed to be moving along at a steadily improving pace. My son was implementing some of the time management/organizational and study skills that the tutor had introduced, plus between the three of us we created a daily check list for my son to use to help ensure he doesn’t overlook any assignments, an issue that has bitten him in the back end more than once already.

As the end of the first marking period of his freshman year in high school approached, all signs were pointing to a positive outcome across the board. His academic grades were all A’s and high B’s as well as in band and engineering. That was until the final project for engineering was handed in and my son found out he had completely misunderstood a major detail to the assignment. The teacher was generous and gave him the opportunity to rework the section that was wrong, but he would only get half credit. My son did this, but, it only pulled the final grade up to a “C” because he already had a really late assignment at the beginning of the year. I did not get upset with my son, because, number one, it was not a core academic class. Number two, a “C” is a passing grade and shouldn’t keep him from making honor roll. And, number three, it was not only the gloom, but the light. Had my son actually pulled out the rubric for the assignment as he was working on it, he would have realized what he thought was OK to do was very much wrong and this would have prevented this not-so-great grade from happening. This major detail opened the door for a lesson to be learned, thus the light. When the teacher lays out the assignment in detail, use that as your guide and you won’t have major issues, don’t rely on your memory. It turns out that this is the very thing that caused problems with my son’s final science project in eighth grade, which was the catalyst to bring in a tutor.
Positive vs. Negative
So, here we are again, two steps forward and one step back. Despite my son’s advancements with his study skills and taking ownership of his actions when his decisions are far from the best, the “C” in engineering and 2 other not-so-great grades in a test and homework, threw him into a funk. He became “Mr. Negative,” stating he’ll never change, so why bother. He missed the point that these things will continue to happen until the lesson we need to learn is learned. Instead of these incidents being a catalyst to change, they became an excuse to just give up. Read the rest of this entry »

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