Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Happy first birthday, Isabelle! April 6, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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WHEN I BECAME A MOM 31 years ago, I was amazed at the depth of love I felt for my newborn girl. That repeated itself with a second daughter 21 months later and then a son six years thereafter. The love a mother holds for her children is unmatched, almost indescribable.


My new granddaughter, Isabelle (“Izzy” for short), photographed when she was about 17 hours old. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2016.


But then along came my first grandchild, Isabelle, born one year ago today. Izzy, as we call her, brought a new kind of love. Those of you who are grandparents “get it.” There’s something about a grandchild that weaves incredible joy into your heart.


My eldest daughter, Amber, and her husband, Marc, and their daughter, Isabelle. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo August 2016.


That we are not the parents frees us to love and care for a grandchild in a different and exuberant way. Sure, we still change diapers, cradle crying babies and more. But the primary responsibility of this little one lies with the parents. I delight in watching Amber and Marc care for Izzy with such tenderness, patience and love. It is obvious this baby girl is adored by her parents and by family on both coasts and many states in between.


One of my favorite photos of my husband and his granddaughter, taken when Isabelle was 10 days old. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo April 2016.


I cannot get enough of Izzy. Occasionally the words, “You and Marc need to go on a date,” slip from my fingers into a text message. I cherish my Izzy time.


I snapped this photo of Izzy snuggling against her mom shortly after she awakened from a nap in her mama’s arms.


Several days ago I got lots of time with my granddaughter when she and her mom stayed overnight. Since they live only an hour away, these sleep-overs are rare. It’s just easier when a baby can sleep in her own bed in familiar surroundings.


Izzy reads a new book, a birthday gift from my friend Kathleen, former children’s librarian in Faribault. Izzy is also wearing the horse pajamas I gave her awhile ago. Photo by Amber.


Izzy and I settled on the couch, her tiny left index finger turning the cardboard pages of books I once read to her mother. From the stack of a half dozen or so books, Izzy repeatedly chose the same two, Ducky’s Seasons by Dick McCue and Baby Animals (photographs by Gerry Swart). Words tumbled in rote memory from my lips, from all those years earlier. Like her mama and grandma, Isabelle loves books.


Encouraging Izzy to try walking on her own.


She’s not walking yet, but she’s close. I witnessed several steps taken. It won’t be long.


Izzy pushed her baby around in the empty laundry basket.


Isabelle “helped” me with the laundry—a task she also does with her mom—by handing dried clothes for me to put away. Once done, she pushed her beloved baby doll around in the clothes basket. Izzy loves her baby, giving her hugs and reminding me of how Amber dragged her baby doll, Sal, around by the hair.


Mama Amber pushes her beautiful baby in the laundry basket just days before Izzy’s first birthday.


Izzy still has only minimal hair. But it’s filling in, growing thicker. She has beautiful hazel eyes from parents with brown and green eyes.


Izzy eats toast for breakfast.


She eats nearly anything put on her plate with an affinity for meat. Her parents enjoy cooking and eat healthy and that shows in Isabelle’s wide palate. I wish I held their interest in cooking; my two youngest likely would have been less picky eaters.


There’s a reason this image is blurry. Izzy was crawling as fast as she could toward the stairway.


Now that she’s one, Izzy’s personality is beginning to show. I am amazed at how smart these little ones, how imitating of adult actions. When I pet a kitty in a book, Izzy soon did the same. Efforts to keep her from the stairway, though, failed. She kept returning to climb the two stairs that could not be blocked by a gate. She is a determined girl. That will take her far in life.


Izzy plays with the same Fisher Price bus her mama played with as a child.


While it’s bittersweet to see my granddaughter turn one already, it’s also exciting. I wonder how she will develop, what her interests will be, where life will take her some day.


Mother and daughter.


To my sweet baby Isabelle, I wish the happiest of first birthdays! I love you and I love being your grandma.

© Copyright 2017 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


30 Responses to “Happy first birthday, Isabelle!”

  1. Beth Ann Says:

    Happy Birthday, Isabelle! My favorite post of the week from all the blog posts I have read. Thanks for sharing your precious one with us. She is adorable.

  2. Joan Says:

    Isabelle and I share a birthday!!! What a sweet child.

  3. Happy 1st Birthday Izzy – Enjoy Your Special Day with Lots of Cake and Love and Hugs 🙂 🙂 🙂 ((((((loveandhugs)))))

  4. Valerie Says:

    Beautiful photos or a beautiful granddaughter. Definitely get the grandmother love because of my own grandchildren!
    Happy first Birthday Isabelle!

  5. Almost Iowa Says:

    There is nothing sweeter in this world that having a kid and book on your lap.

  6. Susan Says:

    Shower the sweet birthday girl with kisses!

  7. Don Says:

    Happy grandparents, happy children, happy grandchild = a happy life, enjoy!

  8. DeLores Johnson Says:

    She is beautiful. Aren’t babies fun to have around? It is so much fun when there personalities start showing. Lots of fun.

  9. Judy M Says:

    Happy Birthday Isabelle!! Happy Birthday to you Audrey. How special, having your grandchild born on your birthday, she is adorable.

  10. Amber Schmidt Says:

    Izzy says “thank you” for the blog post Grandma! ❤

  11. Rosalie Quale Says:

    Beautiful post Audrey!

  12. Jackie Says:

    Happy Birthday to your sweet Izzy. Isn’t it crazy how fast they grow. She is darling Audrey, I can hear the love in your words, and yes I get it! 🙂 Grandparenting is the best! Loved looking at all the photo’s of Izzy (and Amber too).

  13. Happy Birthday for your granddaughter! Izzy is really cute and determined! She is very lucky to have her grandma close by, unfortunately my husband and I live far away from our parents, so our children do not have quality grandparents time very often, but we try to video call very often, so that they are still part of their life!

    • I feel blessed to have my daughter and her family only an hour away. My other two grown children live in Boston and northeastern Wisconsin, so they are many hours distant.

      The video call is such a great way to stay connected.

  14. Awe happy birthday Izzy! Wow that year went fast.

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