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.
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!
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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