Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

A letter to my daughter on her birthday November 16, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 6:00 AM
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Miranda, celebrating her birthday today.

Miranda, celebrating her birthday today. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo September 2014.

Dearest Miranda,

I never imagined, before I had children—before you or your sister or your brother were born—how deeply I could love a child.

But the day you were born, my heart opened wider, my love deepened to depths unimaginable. There was room in my heart for you and your sister and then, six years later, your brother.

Some day, when you become a mom, you will understand the fierceness with which a mother loves—how she hurts and cries and rejoices and desires nothing more than the best for her children.

I think of you every single day. Some days my heart aches at your absence. And I wish I could wrap my arms around you and hug you and feel the softness of your beautiful curls.

You are a beautiful, strong, caring and compassionate young woman with a mind of her own. Remember how, as a preschooler, you shut yourself in the toy room and played alone for hours? When I’d check on you, you’d ask me to leave. And even though I did, it wasn’t easy to walk away, to feel like you didn’t need me.

But I’d like to think we always need each other, that our love for one another runs deep through our veins, that no matter the distance between us, we remain connected.

I consider how strong you’ve been. At age four you clutched your Big Bird, took a nurse’s hand and walked toward the operating room while I dissolved into tears in your father’s arms. You never cried.

And years later, when you had to wear a back brace 23/7 for a year, you didn’t complain. I cried. But you soldiered on and did what you had to do.

Miranda in Valles Calchaquies, near the town of Cafayate in the Salta province.

Miranda in Valles Calchaquies, near the town of Cafayate in the Salta province of Argentina. File photo 2013.

You’ve always seemed fearless to me, ready for any new adventure. You flew solo to Argentina to study abroad and then back twice thereafter, fighting off a mugger once. I don’t like to think about that attack even now because the thought of anyone ever remotely coming close to harming you scares me. I love you so much and want you always to be safe.

You give of yourself with selfless compassion from a faith-filled heart. Not once, but twice, you helped with clean-up after Hurricane Katrina. Even in your life’s chosen profession as a Spanish medical interpreter, you continue to give.

I am proud of you. Your name means “admirable.” That seems fitting for you, my precious daughter.

I love you now and forever. Happy birthday!

With love,


20 Responses to “A letter to my daughter on her birthday”

  1. treadlemusic Says:

    “Like” is not a strong enough word…..”Love” is more appropriate!!! With tears I read your birthday tribute. With the approaching holidays, I think, we all have memories that threaten to overwhelm….of bygone days when our off-spring were those wee ones who played with such abandon around the lit Christmas tree and oo-ed and ah-ed at the beautifully decorated homes brilliantly lit against the snow covered night-scape. Hugs to you, dear bloggy Friend……………………

  2. Sue Ready Says:

    wow… that letter penned is a heart stopper with such loving thoughts from a mom to a daughter, And so well written capturing your thoughts and her life.. She will be blown away by it!

  3. Deanna Says:

    …a wonderful tribute to your daughter. Can imagine the tears she must have shed as she read this from a mom who cares deeply for her children. So often, feelings go unspoken.

  4. Rena Says:

    Tears and sobs! You wrote the very words that echo my feelings for my children. Audrey “John Boy” Helbling, you are a true artist of words!
    And if you read this, Miranda, please accept your mother’s words as truth, for you are unmistakeably “beautiful” (inside and out)!

  5. Miranda Says:

    Thanks for the sweet words, Mom! My bday cake is all frosted and ready now!

  6. hotlyspiced Says:

    What a beautiful letter that totally honours your daughter. Miranda seems like such a well-grounded person with an independent spirit and an attitude of being able to handle whatever life throws at her. How sad though that you live so far apart and are not able to see each other as much as you’d like. I know my mother misses having two of her daughters living overseas. One of them is coming back to live in Sydney in January and we’re all looking forward to that xx

    • Yes, having two of my three children living a long distance away is difficult. I am looking forward to Christmas, when I will see my 20-year-old son for the first time since July 7. He goes to college in Boston, which is a long long ways from Minnesota.

  7. Thread crazy Says:

    Wow – what a beautiful tribute to both you and your daughter; to you for giving birth to her and setting an excellent example for Miranda to follow, and to her for her compassion and love to help others. She may be away for now, but she’s close in heart.

  8. Don Sigaas Says:

    Oh my Audrey what a great heartfelt post!

  9. Jackie Says:

    Such a sweet heartfelt tribute to your beautiful Miranda. It’s really not until you become a mother yourself that you really understand “that love”.

  10. Beth Ann Says:

    Very sweet and from the heart. Any mom “gets” this. It’s the pride in our children that often gets us through the darker times that life offers.

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