Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A sweet homecoming September 25, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:57 AM
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ABSENCE REALLY DOES make the heart grow fonder.

And for this mom, five weeks proved that.

My 18-year-old son arrived home from North Dakota State University in Fargo on Friday around 11:15 p.m., four hours later than I expected him.

But it was worth the wait. Well worth the wait.

I hadn’t seen Caleb since my husband and I left him standing, rather forlorn looking, in his dorm room on a Saturday morning in mid-August.

Communication since then has been intermittent and mostly one-sided, the one side being my side. Send an email. No response. Text the son. No response. Such lack of communication was typical even when my teen was still living at home. I expected that to change once Caleb started college 285 miles/five hours away. I was wrong.

I also was wrong in thinking that meant he didn’t care, didn’t miss us.

Friday evening when I saw headlights flash into the driveway, I couldn’t slip on my shoes fast enough to race outside and see my boy for the first time in five weeks.

He didn’t quite run from his stash of stuff near the end of the driveway to me. But almost. And when my son, my boy, reached me, he grabbed me in a vise grip hug and didn’t let go. For a long time.

I cannot even begin to tell you how that hug melted my heart, reassured me as a mother that my boy, despite his lack of communication, missed me.

There’s my son, piling food onto his plate at a small family dinner we hosted on Sunday in celebration of Caleb’s homecoming; my eldest daughter’s boyfriend landing a job and moving from LA to Minnesota; and my September 26 birthday. Once he finished his Sunday dinner, my boy was on his way back to Fargo at 1 p.m. Sorry there’s no full view image of my boy as he certainly would have dodged any camera pointed toward his face. He knows me well enough to realize the photo would likely end up on this blog. I saw Caleb for maybe four hours total this weekend. When he wasn’t sleeping in, he was out with friends (including the three with whom he rode home from Fargo) or his dad and I were gone to a wedding and a barn dance. But that’s OK. At least he came home and that makes me a happy, happy mom. He is, by the way, quite well-adjusted, happy and enjoying his new life as a college student at NDSU.

And since I can’t show you pix of the son, here’s my sister, Lanae, and her son-in-law, Andy, dishing up Sunday dinner while my husband, Randy, prepares to slice chicken breasts in half. Randy grilled chicken and fresh baby potatoes.

My sister brought the Caesar salad and tossed in a few flowers for color. (She’s a florist.) And, yes, the flowers are edible, although I didn’t taste them.

Three left-over pieces of the delicious peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake baked by my oldest daughter, Amber, and her boyfriend, Marc. Cheesecake is my absolute favorite dessert.

Beautiful birthday flowers from my sister, the floral designer at Waseca Floral.

© Copyright 2012 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


22 Responses to “A sweet homecoming”

  1. Erin Says:

    Happy birthday! Looks like you had a very nice pre-birthday celebration!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you, Erin. I had a wonderful pre-birthday party. If my other daughter could have been there, too, the day would have been simply perfect. Love my family.

  2. Beth Ann Says:

    Love the homecomings!!! There is just nothing else better! And happy birthday wishes coming your way!!!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you for the early bday wishes, Beth Ann. It seems all I ever really want now for my birthday or Christmas or Thanksgiving, or whatever special occasion, is to have my children home. Of course, that does not always (often) happen now that they are grown and moved out of the house. But when they are home, I am the happiest of moms.

  3. Oh Audrey, as a mother of a 20-year-old son, I had tears in my eyes as I read the first half of your post. I’m lucky, my kids call me often, but there’s nothing quite like seeing them in person!

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      My girls have always been good about staying in touch. But not the son. He’s a great kid, just not so inclined to conversation and probably not realizing, at 18, the importance of staying connected.

  4. Ag Museum Says:

    Happy Birthday Audrey (a day early) what a wonderful post – I have two sons – oldest will be 27 in October and youngest just turned 24 mid September — I know your feeling completely with them coming home – and they too don’t call as much as I call them – maybe some day — your blog brought tears to my eyes! Thank you for the wonderful blog about the museum and the Smithsonian – I hope to meet you in person some day — Take care and have a blessed birthday tomorrow and a wonderful year full of God’s love! And maybe a few more phone calls/texts from our sons! 😉

    Laurie Johnson


    Minnesota’s Machinery Museum



    Hours Monday – Saturday 10am – 4pm

    Sunday’s 1pm – 4:30pm

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you for the early birthday wishes, Laurie, and you’re most welcome re. the post about the Smithsonian exhibit at Minnesota’s Machinery Museum in Hanley Falls. I’ve heard from other mothers that their sons are not all that good about calling/staying connected either. I try not to call very often; in fact I’ve only called my boy three times in nearly six weeks. He did promise me a birthday call before leaving Sunday afternoon. So here’s hoping he does not forget.

  5. Dorothy Bowman Says:

    Of course I forgot your birthday!!! Poor aunt I am!!!!! Anyway Happy Birthday and Robin and I send our love. It is good to have kids home for a visit, even if short. Our kids are getting better at answering our calls. Skype is a great way to see and speak with children.
    Much love Dorothy & Robin

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Thank you, Aunt Dorothy. And you didn’t forget my birthday because it’s not until tomorrow. We used Skype when Miranda was in Argentina and it was a great way to stay connected. But Caleb, I’m sure, would not wish to Skype with his parents.

  6. Jackie Says:

    YAY!!!! So happy you got to see your BOY!!! I chuckled to myself when you told how you didnt get his picture…. My boys are just the same, it’s a rare day when I get them in a picture. Oh those boys 🙂
    Happy Birthday Audrey….Enjoy!

  7. Oh, I’m so glad you got a chance to see Caleb and to post a good “mommy post”!! 🙂 And I promise you that next time I see you…I’ll make you a cheesecake. I could have done it professionally (so my friends say) but I chose to have a life instead. 🙂

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Oh, you are a semi-pro cheesecake maker? If you have a super favorite recipe, could you email it to me? Better yet, when can we get together again? I know. Time for us to make a road trip to Bigelow. Perhaps next summer as I really want to see some sites down in your extreme southwestern corner of Minnesota.

  8. hotlyspiced Says:

    Oh Audrey! I’ve had those moments. Those moments when my son’s been away and he doesn’t reply to emails, respond to texts or answer the phone when I ring. I’ve had to learn too that it’s not because he doesn’t love me or think about me! I’m so glad you had some wonderful times with him even if it was rushed and hurried! I hope you have a happy birthday on the 26th xx

    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      Yes, I am thankful for the rushed time I had with Caleb because that’s what it was. Rushed. I’m seeing a pattern response here from mothers of boys. Apparently their lack of response to communication is not all that uncommon. Sigh.

  9. So glad he was able to get home for a visit–safely down and back again! I know the anxious feeling knowing your kids are on those roads so long. Our Emily tends to leave Grand Forks at 8:00pm and arrive here in the wee hours of the morning! (when she does get home–not very ofton)! Drives me nuts!
    And, just so you know–my boy who is 16 is not much of a “talker” either! Usually one or two words! and my question limit is 3 at the most, before he really gets annoyed. Now girls on the other hand–mine our talkers! My two oldest tend to call Dad more often, My 3rd, tends to call me–and they are all good about answering my texts. But my Zak, really is a hugger–he hugs all his Sister, and his Mom and Dad! Your joy in Caleb’s hug–well–the best!

    And Happy Birthday my friend–another thing we have in common! Mine was last week!


    • Audrey Kletscher Helbling Says:

      First of all, a belated happy birthday, Stacey! I hope you had a wonderful day.

      Ah, we think so much alike–that worry about the college students making those long trips from North Dakota. I don’t expect Caleb home all that often because of the distance.

      And Caleb has always been my hugger, too, just like your Zak. When he was still at home, he would say, “Mom, can I have a hug?” No reason other than he needed a hug. That’s what I really, really miss, so that hug upon his homecoming was, well, fantastic.

      Like Zak, Caleb’s responses to my questions are also a word or two and he quickly becomes annoyed after more than a few questions. Frustrating for me, but I’m used to it, not that I like it.

      Anyway, gotta love the kids…what a blessing.

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