We have a strict rule in our house…Sunday nights, from 9-10pm, both kids must be in bed. There is no talking. No cell-phones and absolutely no weekend sex. Ain’t nobody got time for that when they could be watching Rick Grimes and Daryl Dixon take on a herd of walkers! The post-apocalyptic world of zombies versus survivors is beyond addictive. Sighted or blind, Walking Dead fans live for each teeth clenching, seat grabbing moment. As an uber-fan, I often compare my experience as a blind mom with many of the same scenarios in the series. Don’t see the correlation, read on.
1) I hoard groceries and medical supplies like it’s the apocalypse. – Going on supply runs is not an option for me. Non-perishable food items line my basement. Cases of baby food, formula, diapers and wipes fill my upstairs hall closet. My bathroom pantry is always stocked with first aid supplies and flu season remedies. I’ve learned I’ve got to be prepared for anything – sickness, bad weather or a husband who gets stuck working overtime. Just like on the Walking Dead, odds are nobody’s coming to my house with a supply truck.
2) Transportation Sucks. – Darryl has his motorcycle. Hershel had his pickup. Dale had the RV. The survivors on the Walking Dead are constantly scouring for car parts and gas, making traveling the back roads of Atlanta pretty sucky. I can relate. Being blind, I don’t drive. I am forced to rely on my husband, neighbors and public transportation to get around. With two kids in tow, traveling without the help of another adult is practically impossible. If I can’t walk there, it’s easier to stay home.
3) You stick with your group. – Members of Rick’s group are not very hospitable to outsiders. Their loyalty lies with those they’ve built a trusting relationship with. Any newbie with a desire to enter the Grimes’ tight knit circle has to prove their loyalty and their worth. As a blind mother, I am most comfortable around immediate family. To be my friend, you have to appreciate me for the woman I am. You need to accept my disability and the way I parent my children without judgment or interference.
4) Every unknown location is filled with hidden dangers. – Rick carries a Colt. Michonne carries her katana. My only defense is a collapsible white cane. In the real world, the likelihood of a zombie emerging from behind somebody’s closet door is minimal. However, there is always a possibility that I could be hurt navigating new territory. Clothing racks in stores, flights of stairs, or an open cabinet door are everyday obstacles I need to be cognizant of. They are just as dangerous to me as a hungry walker.
5) You question people’s motives. – In the world of the Walking Dead, everyone’s got an angle. A survivor who offers you shelter may secretly be plotting to put a screwdriver through the back of your head because they need your ammunition. Same goes for blind parenting. I’m not saying I’m completely ungrateful to the person who goes out of their way to warn me about a pot hole I’m about to fall into. But when people offer to change my kid’s diaper in a public restroom because they think, I (their mother), can’t do it, you’re walking a fine line between saintly and plain ol’ creepy.
6) People gasp when they see me with my children. – Remember when Rick’s daughter, Judith, was born and everyone was like “Oh, my God, is that a baby?” Same scenario for blind mothers. People see me with a toddler and infant and all of a sudden I’m the main attraction. I didn’t think blind people had sex. I didn’t think blind people could get pregnant. I didn’t think blind people could be parents. That’s the problem, people don’t think.
7) I ensure my own safety. – If there is a herd of walkers coming towards your camp and everyone is pre-occupied with sticking knives into their temples, chances are you’re on your own. No gun? No knife? You’d better pick up a rock and start swinging. That being said, when I am out with my kids attempting to cross the street, please don’t grab me and pull me the direction you think I should be going. If you’re driving in a car and see me paused at an intersection, don’t scream out the window, “Go, it’s clear.” Mobility instructors train the blind and visually impaired to cross an intersection by listening. If you’re yelling at me; I can’t listen. Trust me, I’ve got this blind thing down. I’m in charge of my family’s safety.
8) Somebody’s going to get their ass kicked if they mess with me. – If you’re a fan of the show, then you’re aware of the psychological transformations of all of the main characters, particularly Rick. Since losing my sight in 2012, I’ve encountered many perfect strangers who’ve shown me nothing but kindness and empathy. I’ve also met people who have tried to cheat my out of the right change when I was shopping or have attempted to treat my family like second-class citizens because I’m disabled. Make no mistake; I’m an intelligent, educated, confident and protective mother. If you try to hurt my family you’re going to get schooled and quick. I’m my own advocate. I know my rights and I won’t be mistreated.
If you’re looking for me on a Sunday night, chances are I will be unplugged and curled up with my husband enjoying every blood-curdling scream in our favorite show. I have no doubt I could survive the world of the Walking Dead. It actually seems easy in comparison to navigating the land of the living as a blind mother of two.