Anne Smith Feature

I Used to Call Her Cookie

My first memory of Helen was a sweet one. It was a typical day. I had gone to school. When I arrived back at the house, I saw the car seat and baby toys out. I knew my Mom must have got another kid at some point during the day. The fact that it was a baby car seat was exciting. I really loved the babies. I wasn't prepared for how much I would love this one. A lot of my memories of young Helen started around the age of two. My mom would let me take her on adventures. I had years of babysitting experience and older sister experience. Taking her places and buying her things, dressing her and curling her pigtails with my fingers....I became extremely aware that, despite my crazy teenage angst, I was going to be a mother one day. Because of the challenges Helen faced daily due to the expose of drugs and alcohol in utero, I knew I would work with children with special needs one day. 

Out of all the FAS effects Helen experienced and still experiences today, the shaking was and is always been the hardest for me. I don't really know why. Maybe because it is an instant reminder of what was done so many years ago. There was never a rhyme or reason to her shaking. It could be stress induced, too much excitement, hard day, maybe she was getting tired. As she got older, I became acutely aware of it....and so did those around us. Helen would carry on, most times blissfully ignoring the shaking. I would stare at the faces of those watching and realize my sisterly protective emotions were set on high. Sometimes I would wrap my arms around her, rub her arm, tuck her hair behind her ear. Sometimes that would help calm her shaking. Other times she would just shake, no matter what.

As frustrated as Helen could make me, and still does at times, the shaking always, always, always stops me in my tracks. She is instantly that little baby I met after school that first day. 

BIO: I am a mother of 3 amazing boys. I have lived on the West Coast, East Coast and several places in between. I love the fresh fruit and veggies at local farmer's markets and finding hidden waterfalls high in the mountains. Nothing relaxes me more than baking and cooking while drink a glass (or two) of wine and I am always truly home when I am sitting on a beach near the ocean.  I found my calling working with children with special needs. I spend everyday feeling blessed for this life of mine.