Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Time passages September 26, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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I recently started collecting alarm clocks and now have four, three Westclox and one General Electric.

I recently started collecting alarm clocks and now have four, three Westclox and one General Electric.

NEVER HAVE I BEEN MORE COGNIZANT of the passage of time than during this past year.

I can’t pinpoint a precise reason for this deep sense of time fleeting. Rather, a combination of life events has spawned this feeling.

A year ago, my eldest married. Although she graduated and left home 10 years ago and her sister two years later, only two years have passed since my youngest started college. He’s in his third year now, his second in Boston. He spent the summer there, too, working. I haven’t seen him in three months, won’t see him for another three.

I miss him and the girls—their closeness, the hugs, the conversation, the everything (almost) that comes with parenting children you love beyond words. Too many days I wish only to turn back the moments.

I wish again to be that young mom, with issues no bigger than the occasional two-year-old’s tantrum or the snarky teen or a kid I can’t rouse from bed or the picky eater. But when you’re handling such challenges, they seem ominous and big and looming. Ridiculous.

If only we knew.

Granted, I am, as the old adage says, “older and wiser.” But such wisdom comes via life experiences that color hair gray. Or maybe not solely. Time does that, too.

I am now the daughter with a mother in a nursing home, my father in his grave for nearly a dozen years. A friend noted the other day that he never saw his parents grow old to the age of needing his care. And I wondered if that was good or bad and then I didn’t want to think about it anymore.

I am now so close to age sixty that I feel my fingers reflexively curving around the numbers.

Which brings me to today, my birthday.

© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


37 Responses to “Time passages”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Happy Birthday. You are so reflective today. 🙂 I guess I understand those reflections but I also think that it is another exciting phase of life—older and wiser and you can impart that wisdom to others. Happy to be able to share your day with you today.

  2. Deb Says:

    Happy Birthday Audrey! I also am more aware of time passing and the strange feelings it arouses. I am very grateful to have this time in my life when many do not get to experience it. Always keeping you and your family in my thoughts and prayers and a little “extra” for your Mom.

  3. That’s a poignant birthday post, Audrey. It hit me right in the heart; we have some similarities to our lives right now. Birthdays do send us into reflection, often, but they are also a marker that we’ve been on this earth long enough to know what matters. And that’s worth celebrating. Happy Birthday, Audrey.

  4. Happy birthday, dear Audrey. Such a poignant piece of writing. Sometimes I miss my children being toddlers so much that it physically hurts, but mostly I am proud of the way they have grown up. Perhaps someday there will be grandchildren to bring back some of that joy of young children.

    Watching the aging of parents and siblings is hard. Now I’ll sign off before these tears in my eyes spill out.

  5. Karen Says:

    Many years ago my friend, Bill, told me his theory of time passing. It was his theory, but years later I stumbled upon almost the same theory in a college textbook. The gist of this theory requires a little reflection… consider that the first year of your life was your whole life, the second year of your life was one half of your life, and the third year was one third. Continue that pattern to the present and you can begin to understand why we feel time seems to speed up as we mature.

    What continues to amaze me is how small the interval between my youth and my present. I am now the grandmother of two beautiful boys, and I often wonder how I got to this point so quickly. It is humbling, and reminds me daily to enjoy the moments.

    It appears you have a glorious day for your birthday, Audrey. Enjoy the crisp air and the changing leaves. Happy day.

  6. Lanae Says:

    Happy birthday dear sister!! wishing you many more and enjoy each day with a smile and your cup full not half full or half empty. Love you.

  7. Kathleen Ahern Says:

    Happy Birthday, Audrey! Great column! I too feel the passage of time and often “see” either my mom or grandmother when I catch my reflection in the mirror! I am always reminded of what my sweet gram used to say to me, “someday you will feel just like me – your age will sound old, but inside, you will still feel young. You will wonder, “how can I really be this old? Just remember it’s what you feel inside that holds your true age.” I have arrived at just that precise place.

    I have come to love and truly celebrate my age and birthdays. Each passing year means I’m privileged to be alive and get to participate in this incredible thing called “life” with all of its challenges and sweet, tender moments.

    I wish you every happiness today and always. I shall always have you “in my mind’s eye” as that incredibly loving, good, nurturing mom of three kids I adored! Happy Birthday, Audrey! Kathelen

  8. Happy Birthday Sweetie – Enjoy Your Special Day 🙂 I have been thinking about the passage of time this year because I will be 40 soon. My father turned 70 last month. Remember to CONQUER TODAY and REVEL in every minute, every moment, every memory made TODAY – Happy Weekend!

  9. Amber Schmidt Says:

    Happy Birthday! We love you and hope you have a terrific day!

  10. DeLores Says:

    Happy Birthday Audrey. Enjoy day. The weather is beautiful, just for your special day!

  11. chlost Says:

    I just recently had a birthday which puts me looking 60 square in the eye. My coworkers (all much younger) asked about it, and as I explained to them, I celebrate that every birthday that I am lucky enough to have, but am trying to ignore the numbers that come with them!
    Happy Birthday!

  12. Vivian Says:

    Happy Birthday, Audrey. I thought there would be a post and, as usual, you did not disappoint! I once believed people who were the age we are now were ancient! I don’t feel ancient at all!!! Your friend Kathleen Ahern said it best.

    God bless you on this special day.


  13. Norma Says:

    Happy birthday Audrey. You are still very young. You have a whole lot of living yet. I really think you relish your life, and I know how you feel about your children. Just think, someday you will be a grandma, and if you’re lucky, a great grandma. It’s a great life.

  14. Marilyn Says:

    Old age – as the saying goes – is considerably better than the alternative!

  15. Jackie Says:

    Loved this Post Audrey! Happy Birthday to a Beautiful (inside & out) young woman. I love this reflection on “time” and life, how it passes so quickly and the kids…and how they grew too fast and how simple it was, even though it didn’t seem so then. I found myself nodding my head as I was reading…oh, the feelings and thoughts we have in common, sometimes I feel like our heartstrings tug for the same reasons. I hope it’s ok with you if I share this link on my facebook page for my friends to see, especially the 30 and younger friends… All of these things you mentioned… I never thought about when I was younger, not sure it would have made a difference but maybe I wouldn’t have been so surprised. I hope you have a grand day my friend 🙂

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