picture of me and Stephen

Who I am and Why I’m here

picture of me and Stephen
Me and Stephen

Hi! I’m Liana…

I’m a special needs mom – meaning: mother, teacher, maid, housekeeper, crisis manager, counselor, therapist, advocate, writer, nurse, aid, personal shopper, special diet cook and nutritionist… among other things… Being a mother is the single most important job I will ever do. I second guess myself. I think that what I do is never enough. I don’t spend enough time with my oldest son. I don’t give my adopted (step) daughters enough attention. (They’re mine too and I love them.) I worry. I get down on myself, but I somehow manage to find the strength to pick myself up – brush myself off – and carry on another day.

I’m hoping you will find information, inspiration and humor here. At this point I write primarily to advocate for children with Autism and Special Needs, but I do hope whoever you are and wherever you are you will find something worthwhile here. A big part of advocacy is pleading for support from others and I’d like you to know all are welcome here!  If you can relate to feeling overwhelmed and exhausted; if you can relate to needing some encouragement and inspiration from time to time – then you are in the right place here!

Hopefully I’ll manage to keep you interested and engaged with all the quirks of daily life. Please feel free to comment here, and let me know a bit about you. It would be nice to know who I’m talking to after all. What brought you to my blog today? Was there something you liked that interested you? If you leave a comment, reblog my posts, or just like what I’ve said – I’ll sure be curious to know more about you. I can’t promise a quick response – life has a tendency to get chaotic – but I will take the time to get to know you better at some point.

This morning we’re snowed in and my wonderful hubby is out shoveling and snow blowing. With nowhere to go and no rush today you’d think I’d be at the top of my game. Instead I forgot my hubby didn’t change the first diaper of the day – our usual routine – so I got a nice leaky surprise. I sure am glad you can’t smell it. It’s not a baby diaper anymore. So forgive me if I’m a little distracted at times, and please know I don’t intend to offend you in any way.

Life is a learning experience for us all in one way or another. Some days will be better than others. I hope we can share some laughter and some tears, as we all face our own unique challenges in life. As I write this I’m reminded of an experience I had where I felt embarrassed, overwhelmed, and sad – but yet my experience was helpful to someone in some way – and her thoughts gave me hope and helped me to get outside of my situation and see things from a different perspective. I’m hoping this story will help you think outside the box and see the characters from various perspectives.

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m an open-minded person. I have no prejudices about religion – I try to find the good in every situation, and I sincerely enjoy the Good that I find – wherever I may find it.

It was a time in my life where I was in desperate need of faith. I had broken my leg, falling down the stairs while carrying my 3-year-old son – who was not yet walking on his own. I didn’t catch myself as I was falling – I was more worried about my son getting hurt. I shattered my leg and ended up with a rod in it. I was recovering from the break and the surgery, and I had just started to manage to get out of my apartment again after 8 long weeks. So I decided to go out to a religious convention in search of some inspiration. I figured it would be a good outing with some people who were more likely to understand to my plight, and maybe I’d hear something that would lighten my mood.

I hobbled around on one crutch and pushed the stroller with my one free hand. On my way in a man stopped, opened the door and helped me along my way. I figured we were off to a good start. So I hung around a bit, introduced myself to some women and made some new friends. As the day went on, I carried on with my usual responsibilities. I changed diapers – my son was now too big for a changing table – so I put him on a changing pad on the floor and managed to set him down and lift him back up while keeping my balance on one foot. My son ate his baby food from jars and drank his pediasure from a babby bottle. At 3 years old, I suppose it would seem strange to an outsider, but for us it was the norm.

I heard a man talk about his battle with cancer, and how much we take good health for granted until we no longer have it. He was an engaging speaker, and his words touched my heart. After breaking my leg, I could no longer take mobility for granted – nor could I take for granted the ability to care for myself and my son with special needs. I was able to look at my situation and see the blessing in it – the fact was I could take care of myself and my son despite countless obstacles. I became more sympathetic to my son’s lack of mobility and more aware of how to help him gain confidence, and what it felt like to truly depend upon someone else to help you move about.

So dinner time came and my son was in his stroller eating his baby food jars, up to this point things had gone smoothly. We were both enjoying the company of strangers and a break from the mundane everyday life cooped up in our apartment. Just as he finished his last bite – he projectile vomited. His clothes were covered, his stroller was soaked and my hands were literally catching the vomit. No one seemed to notice, so I got up and went to the restroom to wash up and still no one noticed. I was just standing there waiting for my turn at the sink, thinking to myself everyone is so self involved they don’t even notice and let me in to the sink ahead of them. Looking back I realize it would have been even more embarrassing if everyone had noticed.

So I washed up and quickly headed out to the car to look for a change of clothes for my son and something to clean up the mess with. I felt like crying. In fact I did cry a little – I choked back the tears – and wiped away the few that had escaped – and attempted to regain my composure. I did not want to go home. I wanted to stay. I was determined to stay. I felt I was where I needed to be and that I couldn’t let the countless obstacles stop me! So I frantically searched the car – in vain – I could not find one change of clothes. It was summer so I took the dirty clothes, wrapped them in a plastic bag, left them in the car, and put a fresh diaper on him. A 3-year-old boy out in public with nothing but a diaper on wasn’t too inappropriate – Was it?

I found a rag towel and laid it in the stroller and hoped no one would smell what was hidden underneath the towel. I headed back inside as I silently berated myself for being such a terrible mother – going out in public so unprepared. I, of all people, should know enough to bring a change of clothes for my son. After all, this was far from the first time he had gagged and vomited while eating. I didn’t want to leave without at least saying good-bye to the new friends I had made. I couldn’t simply disappear (though at the moment I felt invisible.) So I went back in and apologized – explaining how foolish I felt.

My new friend was a young unmarried woman who did not yet have any children of her own. I did not expect her or anyone else to understand – I expected them to shoo me away and send me home. None of them were parents of special needs children or autistic children, or even family members of disabled/uniquely able children. (I hadn’t met other parents and family members in a similar situation yet.) But the women were so polite – they did not make a big deal of it one way or the other. They left it completely up to me to decide if I felt comfortable staying or if I would rather leave early. I was grateful that they did not decide for me. This was after all, not that unusual for us. So I stayed a bit longer and enjoyed the rest of the evening.

Later I read an article my new friend had written about that evening. It contained no embarrassing details – much to my surprise she described me as an inspirational special needs mom (in my mind I was a complete failure.) She said how meeting me had given her a new appreciation for her mother, and all mothers – and all they go through out of love for their children. And so it goes… my disaster is someone else’s inspiration.

That said,
Dads – we could never forget all you do for us too! 
Families and Friends out there –
We couldn’t do it without your support and encouragement!
Thank-you and we love you!

Steve and Stephen
Steve and Stephen

Creative Commons License
Love, Support, Educate, Advocate, Accept… by Liana Seneca is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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43 thoughts on “Who I am and Why I’m here”

    1. Thanks Flo,
      I couldn’t agree with you more. Seeing things from their perspective (or remembering our own childhood perspective is truly a joy!
      Wishing you the joy of the simple things in life!
      Happy Valentines Day!

      Like

    1. Thank-you! Once upon a time, before I had a son with autism and special needs, I never could have imagined how rewarding and fun it would be to raise a child like him! There are so many challenges in our daily life, but it teaches me enjoy the simple things in life! I can’t say enough about finding the joy in simple things! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

      1. Children teach us a lot of things if we only stop to listen and observe. You are truly blessed to have this precious child, his smile is contagious. -:)

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Zainab,
      It was great to meet you too! It’s great to step outside my own little world… Sometimes it feels so lonely and confined. I love hearing your stories, and thinking about how much I can relate to your thoughts and feelings… You’re in Dubai and I’m in the US but there really isn’t that much distance between us 🙂 It doesn’t matter where in the world you are – when the kids are quiet – you wonder what trouble they’re getting into – lol

      Like

  1. Liana, you have a beautiful son! I have an autistic child (Asperger’s Syndrome) and even though he’s 20 now, it has been a challenging ride, especially with all the teachers. Good luck to you! 🙂

    Like

    1. Thanks Rachel! We’re fortunate to have dedicated teachers despite the lack of needed paraprofessionals and support staff at times. The curriculum and IEP goals are a constant concern. I’ve considered (and I continue to consider) homeschooling because of the amount of advocating needed to get a “free and appropriate” public school education. It’s unfortunate that we need to advocate for the same quality of education that typically developing children get without any extra effort or expense on the parents’ behalf!

      Like

    1. Thank-you so much Lisa! Stephen just woke up, so it’s breakfast, pill and potty for him… He’s looking at me half in a daze right now. I sure am glad he’s a night owl and he sleeps in on the weekends 🙂
      I can’t wait to follow up on this and answer your questions!
      Thanks Again!
      Love, Liana and Stephen

      Like

    1. Thank-you so much Zainab!
      I appreciate the recognition 🙂
      I will follow up on this as soon as I can. Stephen’s pulling my hand and demanding I sing to him. I’ve got the timer set for the next potty break. Time up. I have to go for now. I’ll be back soon, I promise!
      Thanks Again!
      Love, Liana and Stephen

      Like

    1. Thanks so much Upasna!
      I’ll be responding to this award ASAP. It is both an honor and a privledge to be recognized by my fellow bloggers! It gives me the oppertunity to interact with my fellow bloggers and to encourage one another along the way!
      Thanks Again!
      Love, Liana and little Stephen

      Like

  2. Hi Liana, I admire your courage and care in wanting to bring help to children and families with special needs. They hold a soft spot in my heart. Thanks for following my blog and congrats on your blog as a gift to others. blessings, Brad

    Like

    1. Thanks Brad,
      We’re heading into feeding therapy (early wow!) I’m looking forward to connecting with you on our blogs! 🙂
      Can’t wait for some me time! I’ll be checking back soon. Have a blessed day (every day is a blessing!)
      Love, Liana and Stephen

      Like

  3. Hi Liana. It’s wonderful to meet you! I’m the single mother of a wonderful 19 year old “normal” young gentleman, an 18 year old, severely Autistic and fantastically humorous young man, and a 13 year old Deaf son (Alex, who you’ve met through my blog post) who has Noonan Syndrome (with numerous heart conditions, and is g-tube fed), and who is sitting beside me thoroughly enjoying “The Price is Right” on Youtube. You’d think he just won a car!
    To say life is a challenge is an understatement. But like you, I believe humour is the best medicine (well, apart from Risperdal and beta-blockers haha).
    I’m looking forward to reading about your family – your challenges and your joys, of which I hope there are many.
    Cheers!

    Like

    1. Hi Linda,
      Welcome to my blog! I’m so glad our paths have crossed. I love your blog! I can relate to so much, especially How to Be a Bad Parent in Public 🙂 lol We tend to frequent a local diner so that we don’t have to explain our son’s feeding difficulties and restricted diet to strangers – over and over – with mixed reactions… Our son is also deaf-blind and autistic. We get the comment – not that deaf and not that blind (mostly at school.) I have to ask myself what exactly is not that deaf or not that blind? Would the peanut gallery feel that way if it was their own hearing or their own vision that was lacking?

      Like

  4. Hi there, I just found your blog. My son Cooper has no words at age 3. No diagnosis yet…What I do know is that I NEED to find other moms that are going through the same situation because it’s too scary to do alone. I just read your About page and I am thinking I found a good spot. Looking forward to reading your posts. Thanks!

    Like

    1. Hi,
      I’m so glad you found us! Networking is something I’ve found very helpful with my son. You’re off to a good start by reaching out already 🙂 There’s a feeling of relief in knowing you’re not alone and you don’t always need to explain yourself. I remember my first family weekend with kids like my son and parents like us. I was sitting in the back, listening to a speaker. I had arrived late and my son was making his typical non-verbal screechy squealing sounds. I immediately hushed him and the man next to me said, “You don’t need to worry about that here. We all understand.” It brought tears to my eyes. I hope you will find a feeling of belonging here, comfort, relief, and acceptance! I’ll be posting more about non-verbal communication and language learning in the near future…

      Like

  5. Oh, Liana, thank you for visiting and following my blog. It led me to your blog. I must say that your story above brought tears to my eyes. I was never blessed with children so it’s hard to truly understand what you face each day. God bless you. You are an inspiration. I look forward to following your posts. Linda

    Like

    1. Thanks so much for the thoughtful comments! Believe it or not, there was I time when I wondered if I’d ever be blessed with children. I was twice diagnosed with conditions that lead to infertility – before giving birth to two beautiful boys! My grandma told me stories about praying to get pregnant, and my hubby’s grandma told me stories about getting pregnant every time she had sex – lol – I can’t even imagine! You never can tell what life will bring. Your compassion is so heart-warming 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!
      Love,
      Liana and Stephen

      Like

  6. Glad to know you Liana,
    I think you are giving your best to family , and the only reason behind your worry is that you are very much concern about your relations, that’s why whatever you do, you feel its not enough.
    May ALLAH bless you and your loved ones. ameen

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As-salamu ‘alaykum Afsheen 🙂
      Glad to meet you! I had to copy and paste a phrase I have not heard in awhile in response to your compliment. I know very little Arabic and I barely remember the alphabet, but I do remember some of the beautiful lessons of Islam.
      ‫[اللَّهُمَّ لاَ تُؤَاخِذْنِي بِمَا يَقُولُونَ، وَ اغْفِرْ لِي مَا لاَ
      يَعْلَمُونَ [وَ اجْعَلْنِي خَيْرًا مِمَّا يَظُنُّونَ
      Allah , do not call me to account for what they say and forgive me for what they have no knowledge of [and make me better than they imagine]
      This is one of my favorites, and I mean it from the bottom of my heart. It reminds me to be humble and mindful of my character.
      I was jumping back and forth from Seikaiha’s blog to the other Leibster nominations when I stumbled upon your comment. What timing! Alhamdu lillaah! Thank-you for stopping by and introducing yourself!

      May your blessings be returned to you and multiplied for you and your loved ones ❤
      Love, Liana and Stephen

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Walakumaslam Liana and Stephen.

        I am very impressed by the contents of your message. You have a sound knowledge of Islam as it shows.

        For me, the basic principal of Islam is Love, peace and Humanity. This is all Islam about, and it is the basic rule of better society and relationships

        I am very glad that I found you Liana, and yes along with Stephen as you end’s your message by writing both names. Pleasure is all mine.

        May Allah bless you and your loved ones. ameen

        Like

      2. Yes, Stephen is my son. I write for him, he’s my inspiration. He doesn’t talk but he communicates in his own special ways. If we met face to face he’d touch your hand as a hello, try to pull you around to show you things and to ask for help, and he’d try to move your fingers to show you how he uses sign language 🙂 He’s a unique character. He likes to hum and listen to music – especially pop music with the word love. I answer for him and explain what he’s communicating to others. I look forward to the day he learns to communicate in a more conventional way that everyone can understand (God willing.)

        Like

      3. Hey Liana.

        I can understand this very well, as one of our child is same like your son in terms of non conventional communication. ( He is my sister in law’s son) .

        He has his own language, like we call rice he said AYA GOO, we say water he says POPO. He is very Brilliant and sharp, but can’t speak and mentally he is 3 years old.

        I hope and pray for all such children , they will heal soon and may get healthy life, ameen
        May your son remain safe and healthy , ameen I wish i could meet him and feel his communication.

        May Allah bless our loved ones. ameen

        Like

    1. Thanks Afsheen! I’m on vacation and mostly out of cell range with no internet and wi-fi at the moment. I hope to get a chance to catch up on writing next week when I get back home 🙂 It’s an honor to be nominated for an award from another blogger! Thank-you so much!

      Like

    1. Thank-you so much for the award nomination. We’ve been so busy these last few months, I’m actually looking forward to quieter times 🙂 I have some special diet cooking to catch up on today. My hubby is now officially diagnosed with Celiac (Inflamitory Bowel) Disease. We had suspected it for both my hubby & my son. So off I go, I hope to get a chance to catch up with my writing soon!

      Like

      1. Oh! I don’t have Celiacs (though I have an aunt who does) but have to eat Gluten-Free. Couple quick suggestions: Pamela’s Gluten-Free Bread mix makes a REALLY GOOD sandwich bread (if you have a bread machine). Bob’s Red Mill GF Pizza crust makes a stellar crust, and also can be used to make good cinnamon rolls.
        Good luck!

        Like

      2. Yes, I like Pamela’s bread mix. Our favorite bread machine bread is Bob’s Red Mill “Favorite White Bread Recipe” for the soft crust. Little Stephen has been gluten free since he was 2 due to failure to thrive and bowel symptoms. He didn’t eat anything when we started except pediasure and baby food puree. The GI doctor was sure he’d need a feeding tube, but it turned out to be food sensitivities without allergic reaction (except in the bowels and neurologically.) He does have the celiac gene but they couldn’t confirm the diagnosis without making him sick. It was easy to get him to stick to the diet pretty faithfully. Dad is another story 😉 Dad’s symptoms are getting worse and the GI doctor confirmed his diagnosis as Celiac Disease. I never thought I’d see the day, but little Stephen is LESS picky than dad!

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Easier to adjust to new foods when you’re little — and great that you’ve already been doing the GF thing so it’s an easier transition!
        I know the one thing that finally made me feel like I could manage to be off of wheat (and I cheat sometimes still… my symptoms are more energy-based) was the discovery that Cheetos are GF. Small things.. 🙂

        Like

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