“Don’t Let Embarrassment Overtake You” Lessons I Learned Raising a Child with Special Needs

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“Calm Down Nate.” I softly spoke, as Nate moved erratically.  One hand flailed in the air, and the other to hit his head, while raspberry/spitting sounds emitted from his mouth.

“Please stop!” I begged as we sat in a pew in our church, that was filled with about two thousand people.I didn’t want to disturb the flow of the service and the people sitting around us, removing their attention off of what was happening and onto my son.  Everyone, including me was patiently awaiting the pastor’s arrival on the pulpit for his Sunday morning sermon. Yet, now with Nate making noise, that was becoming increasingly loud, I wasn’t so sure if people would understand not hearing the Word.

I continued softly begging Nate to stop, but he wouldn’t as the feeling of tension welled up inside of me. My sweat glands seemed to shut down, as my pores released perspiration down my forehead and underarms. That was the sign, that I knew so well, EMBARRASSMENT. It was that self-conscious feeling that would always returned when Nate disturbed the quietness and stillness of church or any place we were, when he was in his “ Nate form”.

As people looked at me, with an expression of “Are you going to remove him?”, the feeling of embarrassment intensified even more. So, I quickly gathered our belongings and swiftly moved Nate out of the double doors to the fellowship hall. There the feeling inside of me only continued as I tried to put on Nate’s coat, as his noise continued, attracting more onlookers.

It wasn’t until we reached the security and confinement of my car, where Nate sat in the backseat and me in the drivers seat, speeding away from the large church building, that the embarrassment no longer choked me, but released its powerful grip.

Over the years, as similar scenes have played out, with Nate making noise in stores, in restaurants, and a host of other places; embarrassment attached itself to me, in a suffocating hold.

For a long time, it seemed as if that feeling ruled me, whenever things became rough with Nate. And it wasn’t until a friend quietly spoke to me saying these words, that I began my journey of not allowing it to bother me. She said……

“Charlene, you have to learn to live life and not care about what others think about you and your son.”

Her words were just what I needed. And they have stayed with me, as I worked on not allowing Nate’s behavior to create those feelings within me. I eventually came to realize that there was absolutely no reason to feel embarrassed.

And there are still many times when Nate has his moments in public, but I have learned to care for him, without the self-conscience feelings. There is no tension and no release of perspiration. There is only a calmness that has replaced every feeling of embarrassment.


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