Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Thoughts on motherhood May 9, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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I love this crazy, loving photo of my three kids, taken in February 2003.

I love this crazy, fun-loving photo of my three kids, taken in February 2003.

HOW DO YOU DEFINE a mother’s love?

Endless, unconditional, unshakable, fierce, enduring? I would choose all.

Yes, I’m repeating myself with some of these adjectives. But so what.

I am a mother of three now grown children, all in their twenties. I always find “adult children” to be an oxymoron. Yet, no matter the age of our offspring, they remain always our children. Once a mother, always a mother. You never stop caring and worrying and, for me, praying.

Have my kids frustrated and maddened me? Sure they have. But I expect I’ve done the same. None of us—parent or child—is perfect. Far from it.

As a mother, I try to do the best I can. I’ve praised when deserved. I listen. I offer advice when necessary. After all I do have a few decades more of experience and wisdom. I support my children. Not always their actions and decisions, but them. There’s a difference.

I cherish my kids. I love them enough to let them go. And we’re not talking geographical distance, although two of my trio live 1,300 and 300 miles away. I’m referencing that proverbial cutting of the apron strings, that realization that this has been my goal, to raise and then let go.

There are days when I’d like to turn back the clock, to swoop my three back into our home,

Busted in October of 1988 sneaking cookies and "hiding" in the corner of the kitchen to eat them.

My daughters, busted in October of 1988 sneaking cookies and “hiding” in the corner of the kitchen to eat them.

to admonish preschoolers for sneaking cookies from the cookie jar before lunch (all the while stifling laughter),

My Tufts University computer science and mathematics majors son played with LEGOs constantly while growing up. This photo was taken in June 2003.

My current Tufts University computer science and mathematics majors son played with LEGOs constantly while growing up. This photo, taken in June 2003, shows the zoo he created using his imagination. No LEGO kit involved here.

to step upon an errant LEGO,

My eldest stars as a flower in the May 1992 school play, "Leo the Late Bloomer."

My eldest (standing) stars as a flower in the May 1992 Trinity Lutheran School play, “Leo the Late Bloomer.”

to sit through one more end of the school year musical in a stuffy gymnasium.

The son, left, the eldest, the son-in-law and the second eldest daughter.

The son, left, the eldest, the son-in-law and the second daughter. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo, December 2013, the last time my kids were together.

But time has passed. Snap. Just like that my kids are grown up, two working, one married, another still in college (and working this summer).

I am nearing sixty.

My own mother recently entered a nursing home.

Life changes.

But a mother’s love endures. Forever.


HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY to all of you moms out there!

And to my three children and my son-in-law, I love each of you now and forever.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


28 Responses to “Thoughts on motherhood”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Lovely post, Audrey, and a sweet tribute to the love of a mother. I can echo those sentiments exactly . I miss my boys and my mom and while it is the way it is right now to be separated by a distance I still know we are close despite that. That “feeling” will never go away. Thanks for the sweet thoughts today.

  2. Dan Traun Says:

    It looks like you have raised three great children. I hope you have a wonderful Mother’s Day.

  3. treadlemusic Says:

    A sweet saunter through precious memories!!! Thank you for taking us along!!! Hugs………….

  4. A touching essay. Loved seeing the photos of your children. Once in a while I remember a chubby toddler face and it’s like a physical pain, but like you, mostly I am proud of the way my kids are turning out and am ready for them to make their way in the world.

  5. Thread crazy Says:

    Happy Mother’s Day to you Audrey; lovely children and the younger girl favors you so in that picture with the cookies…lol. I myself was not able to have children but instead I have 4 beautiful step-sons who themselves have given us 8 grandchildren. Love every one of them. My Mom has gone on to be with the Lord; know she’ll have a lovely day being by her savior’s side. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Beautiful post. Happy Mother’s Day you have a beautiful family.

  7. Oh, Audrey, this is beautiful. And it’s so spot-on in its essence of motherhood. This made me a little teary – good teary. Sentimental teary. And then I started to laugh as I remembered my own son Shawn and his enormous Lego collection that still exists here somewhere…..There was that brief sliver of time when I was helping him figure out shaving and he was still building stuff…..:-)

  8. Ahhh So Beautiful 🙂 I am having a hard time with my parents aging – on the cusp of their 70’s and same with my in-laws. My nephews and nieces are growing up too – the oldest step niece is a mom to three girls who are 3, 2 and 1 – three under the age of five – do not know how she does it. True Blessings though and I find myself reaching out more and loving more, especially saying, “I love you”. Happy Weekend – Happy Mother’s Day Sweetie 🙂 🙂 🙂

  9. Jackie Says:

    Such a lovely post Audrey, isn’t motherhood the best thing! Happy Mother’s Day to you my friend 🙂

  10. hotlyspiced Says:

    It’s so true that a mother’s love never changes or waivers no matter the age of our child. I love the images you have shared. Your son sounds like he is totally brilliant and I’m sure an incredible career is right out in front of him. Happy Mother’s Day to you, Audrey xx

    • Thank you, Charlie. I had fun searching photo albums for photos and was especially pleased when I found the sneaking cookies image.

      Yes, my son is pretty smart, but he certainly does not get his “math brains” from me. That’s my worst subject ever. And, yes, he should have a lot of great career options ahead of him. He finished classes this week at Tufts and starts his internship on Monday. I was so hoping he would fly back to Minnesota for a week.

  11. Sue Ready Says:

    What a lovely tribute on motherhood and fun pictures of your children. Thanks for sharing.
    Happy Mother’s Day to you!!

  12. Jeanne Says:

    Happy Mother’s Day, Audrey. So nice to meet you last night!

    • Likewise, Jeanne. Your painting is even more stunning and beautiful in person. Readers, I am referencing Jeanne Licari’s still life painting inspired by my poem, “Lilacs.” Last evening we joined other poets and artists at a reception and reading at Crossings at Carnegie in Zumbrota. It was a memorable event that showcased the remarkable work of a talented group of artists, Jeanne among them, and poets.

  13. Dorothy Bowman Says:

    Yes, a family is love and happiness. I do love you and your family. We just skyped Grant and his family earlier today. Will get in touch with Craig and his family later. To have all of you children grown up is beyond me. And you will always have happy memories of your children. To be called “Grandma” is the nextt thing for you to look forward to.

    Love to all of you, Aunt Dorothy and Uncle Robin

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