Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Birthday wishes to my daughter November 16, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Miranda. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo 2016.

TODAY MARKS A SPECIAL DAY in my life, as much as it marks a special day for my second-born, Miranda. Today she celebrates her 30-something birthday.

This post celebrates a daughter who is beautiful in every essence of her being. She is strong and loving and compassionate. Those who know her well value her quiet spirit, her resilience, her kindness. She has always been deeply considerate of others, never needing to be the center of attention, a good listener.

Those qualities made Miranda really good at what she did professionally. I write that in past tense because, earlier this year, she lost her job as an independent contract Spanish medical interpreter. That happened in the spring when Madison, Wisconsin, hospitals and clinics closed their doors to elective visits and surgeries due to COVID-19. The need for her services could be handled by in-house interpreters.

Miranda poses in front of the UWL hillside letters at the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse, on her graduation day in 2010. She earned a degree in Spanish. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

After years of interpreting, most in the Fox Valley area of northeastern Wisconsin, Miranda found herself without the job she loved. Interpreting for Spanish-speaking patients was such a good fit for her given her love of language, her calm personality and, most of all, her compassion for helping others. When you’re interpreting for patients and their families in crisis (think automobile accidents, stabbings and other medical emergencies) or getting difficult diagnoses or even at the birth of a child, it takes a special person to remain calm and professional.

Miranda realized immediately after her job loss that she needed to find other employment because it could be months before regular healthcare resumed. Eventually, she landed a job as a letter carrier with the U.S. Postal Service. Today she continues to deliver mail, working six days a week, sometimes 10-plus hours a day. I admire her positive attitude about this new job despite the long hours, only one day a week off and the political attacks a few months back on the postal service. That’s a lot of negatives.

Yet, as she’s always done, Miranda has risen above the challenges. She is strong. She is hardworking. She is resilient. I love this daughter of mine, this beautiful young woman who has always been here for our family and so many other families. Loving and caring, in her own quiet way.

It is my hope that someday she can return to interpreting. But in these days when hospitals are overwhelmed with COVID patients and on the cusp of, if not already, shutting down elective surgeries and visits, she needs job security. For now that comes in delivering mail as an essential worker, someone who cares about getting letters and magazines and all those packages delivered.

Miranda, five days old. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.

I remember my daughter’s early delivery, how we scrambled in the early morning hours to find someone to watch her big sister so I could get to the hospital days ahead of a scheduled C-section. Even back then, Miranda had a mind of her own. From the very beginning, she set the timetable for her life in asserting her strength and independence.

Happy birthday, dear Miranda! I love you and I miss you!

© Copyright Audrey Kletscher Helbling