Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Happy birthday to my adventurous, big-city daughter February 10, 2012

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Amber in 1986, sometime during her first year of life. The photo is not dated. A friend told me she looked just like the baby on the Gerber baby food jars.

TWENTY-SIX YEARS AGO today, I joined the sisterhood of mothers at the birth of my daughter.

Now, dear readers, if you’ve read my post from yesterday, you will recall that my son celebrated his 18th birthday just yesterday.

What are the chances of giving birth to two children one day shy of eight years apart? I have no idea. (My other daughter was born in November.)

But back to the daughter who today turns 26, which is now more than half way to 50. I had to toss that mathematical notation in there because, well, through the years I’ve received my share of handcrafted cards from her emphasizing my age.

There, I’ve gotten that out.

On to Amber… How does a mother describe a daughter, explain the depth of love she has for her, reveal the essence of a bond that really cannot be confined to words?

I can’t.

But I’ll share a few observations about the daughter I’ve nurtured and loved and cherish as only a mother can cherish.

She’s a strong, independent woman living and working in the big city. And she loves it. Sometimes I’m still surprised that any offspring of mine would love city life given their rural genetics. Can genes include a predisposition to rural or city? Probably not.

Life for Amber is an adventure, whether organizing a gathering with friends or planning a trip across the country or abroad. I won’t even mention here the trip she is pondering now for fear that writing the words will stamp the journey into reality.

I expect those close to me sometimes wonder, given Amber’s inclination to travel, whether she could possibly be my daughter. Here’s the explanation as to her wanderlust: I purposely raised Amber with a desire to travel, allowing her to go on mission trips and Christian youth gatherings while in high school.  Was it easy for me? No. But sometimes oftentimes a mother sets aside her worries to do what is best for her child.

Amber loves the Minnesota Twins. And I love how, each June, she takes her dad to a Twins game as his Father’s Day gift. They’ve invited me along. I’m not interested in baseball. And even if I was, I wouldn’t join them. This time is best left for father and daughter to savor without my intrusion.

Even at three months, Amber possessed a sense of fashion, wouldn't you say?

Since moving to the city upon her college graduation 3 ½ years ago, Amber’s developed a sense of fashion that suits urban life. She wears hip, but not over the top, attire that exudes confidence and style. Yet, she manages this by thrifting, using coupons and shopping sales. It pleases me that my daughter values the lesson she learned from youth that it’s OK to wear recycled clothing.

This post would not be complete without telling you that Amber is, simply put, a truly nice person. She’s kind and loyal and loving and generous and friendly—to the point where she recently was scolded for being “too friendly.” But we shall not get into that here.

She’s a woman with a deep faith in God. And that, more than anything, is what I desire for any child of mine.

Today I celebrate the blessing of Amber, my first-born, the daughter who always made her dad and me laugh by calling soda crackers “Minnesota” crackers. She says the moniker came from biting into a cracker that then looked like the shape of our state. I say she was confused by the soda/sota.

It doesn’t matter. She still makes us laugh.

Happy birthday, Amber!

I love you.

Mom

I wasn't sure Amber would like this Twins bag I picked up for her as a Christmas gift. But she loved it. The past two years she's worn that ugly Christmas sweatshirt and an equally ugly holiday sweater at holiday gatherings. So please do not consider this her fashion style.

Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling