Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Grateful for time with my grandchildren March 12, 2021

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
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Isaac works on his favorite alphabet puzzle shortly after waking up last Sunday morning.

AS I WATCH NEWS FOOTAGE of grandparents and grandchildren reuniting after a year of separation due to COVID-19, tears flow. I cry at the unbridled joy and love of these families. I cry at all that has defined this unbelievably difficult year. I cry at the loss due to temporary and permanent separation. And I cry in relief that soon, as more and more people are vaccinated, we can be together again. Friends. And family.

I long for the day soon when I can wrap my second daughter in my arms, hold her close, feel her spiraling curls brushing my face. I long, too, for the day when I can kiss my mom, hold her hand and hug her in her long-term care center.

Yet, I feel fortunate that, throughout this past year, I’ve still seen my grandchildren. Randy and I discussed early on with our eldest and her husband the risks and the efforts we were each taking to stay as safe as possible. The biggest COVID exposure risk comes from Randy, who works as an automotive machinist, with some customers still half-masking or not masking. Our granddaughter did not attend preschool this year, her mom opting instead to purchase a curriculum and teach her daughter (and son) at home. I feel grateful for that choice.

In the middle of this pandemic, our eldest and her family moved into a new home in the south metro, placing them much closer to us, just a half-hour away. Now it’s easier to buzz up there or them down here for a short visit. Or an overnight.

Last weekend, Isabelle, almost five, and Isaac, two, stayed overnight with us, giving their parents a break and time alone. We love having the kids here. Saturday evening I made homemade pizza with both littles working the rolling pin across the dough. They ate a lot of pizza.

Isabelle and Isaac play with toys in our living room during a previous overnight stay. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo October 2020.

Every visit, after the initial hugs and kisses, Randy heads to the basement with Izzy and Isaac to pull toys from the shelves. Toys their mom and/or aunt and uncle played with while growing up. The Fisher Price school bus and Little People. The Disney castle and accompanying characters. The BRIO train set. The Little Mermaid. Matchbox cars. A toy piano and typewriter. Yes, typewriter. And so many more toys that our living room looks like a toy store from 30 years ago.

Isaac, focused on completing the alphabet puzzle.

At some point, I also pull out the puzzles for Isaac, who loves puzzles, especially the alphabet one. He knows his letters and numbers (he recently turned two) and is fascinated by clocks. When I read My First Counting Book, Isaac’s more interested in the numbers on each page than the pictures of animals. He likes to carry around a vintage alarm clock from my small collection.

And Isaac likes to get up early. At 5:45 a.m. Sunday. He peered through the curtains, out the front picture window to see the sliver of moon between trees, then the pink sky and, finally, the golden morning sun. Somehow I didn’t mind the early rising to experience sunrise through my grandson.

Isaac, in his sister’s hand-me-down boots, seeks out another puddle during our Sunday afternoon walk.

This visit, we also spent time outdoors, not an option when the grandkids stayed with us during an arctic blast in early February. With the much warmer temps, the kids played at the playground. Then we walked, with Isaac pausing often to splash in puddles. We also stopped to see Faribo Frosty, a gigantic snowman built annually by the Hoisington family.

Grandpa and grandkids check out Faribo Frosty.

In this year of challenges, of giving up so much, my grandchildren remain a true source of joy. For those grandparents reading this who have not seen their grandkids in a year, or only from a distance, my heart hurts for you. I hope soon that you can be reunited with those you love and that tears of joy will flow.

© Copyright 2021 Audrey Kletscher Helbling


13 Responses to “Grateful for time with my grandchildren”

  1. BERNADETTE Thomasy Says:

    Your post was perfect timing. Yesterday, our 4-year-old granddaughter spent the entire day with us after not doing so for one year. We’ve had family dinners but not the all day care time with her like we used to. She said “I’m so glad you got vaccinated.” It was a joyful day, like yours, puzzles, books, dolls, outdoor play and even a trip to the library. Happy for you and your grands, too.

  2. Liz Says:

    I agree about the perfect timing as we just found out our son and his family will be here for Easter. Have not seen them since Christmas 2019. Excited? You bet! Lots to do to get our house ready for them but so, so glad to do it.
    Thanks for sharing your joy of time with your grandchildren. Ours too love all the old toys. Since our youngest grandchild is now 4, the question now is what to do with the outgrown toys. Chances are good we will be moving to smaller quarters in the near future, with no place to store all the family treasures.

  3. Liz Says:

    I should have said we are fully vaccinated as are they as they are essential health care workers.

  4. Loved your picture of your grandson playing with his puzzle. What a great photo for a scrapbook memory.

  5. Susan Ready Says:

    What a time of joy to have your granchildren so close by and an overnight with both of them-lucky for you and Randy. These are times you will forever cherish.

  6. Jackie Hemmer Says:

    There is nothing like those sweet babes in our lives. I’m so glad you have been able to be with them as have we. I feel so bad for the ones who have had to do visits from a far or from a computer screen. My heart aches for them. Izzy and Isaac are growing up fast as they all do. Such cuties! Love this post….lots of love from a grandma’s heart!

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