Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

The happiest of birthdays for a 3-year-old (& his family) January 4, 2022

A special order rainbow birthday cake from Sweet Kneads by Farmington Bakery. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo January 2022)

OH, TO BE THREE AGAIN. To see the world through a preschooler’s eyes. To view the world with unbridled excitement. To find wonder and excitement…in a rainbow birthday cake.

This past Saturday, I watched as my grandson Isaac focused on his beautiful rainbow-themed birthday cake crafted by Sweet Kneads by Farmington Bakery in Farmington. After posing for countless photos, he rested his arms, elbows bent, on the kitchen island and admired the work of culinary art at eye level. Isaac, encouraged by his mom (my eldest), chose a rainbow theme because he attends early childhood class in the “Rainbow Room.”

Shortly thereafter Isaac leaned over the counter, watching as his dad sliced into the cake, cutting the first thin piece for the birthday boy. Nearby, his older sister hovered. Soon we all savored the layered chocolate cake with strawberry filling.

There would be no blowing out candles in this pandemic year.

The stack of birthday gifts. Isaac noticed that I failed to put bows on the ones I gave him, far right. I won’t forget again. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo January 2022)

Afterwards, we gathered in the living room to watch Isaac open his stack of gifts. I love how he first opened each card, not simply as a precursory gesture, but because he genuinely wanted to see the special wishes for him. He delighted in Mickey Mouse, three monkeys… But, by far, the greatest hit proved to be the musical “3” card with its happy birthday song. All gift unwrapping paused as he opened the card. Closed. Reopened. Celebratory music filled the room.

Isaac’s mom helps him open a card. (Minnesota Prairie Roots copyrighted photo January 2022)

Finally, gift opening resumed. With lots of help from Isabelle. This year Isaac didn’t mind; next year he may. Among the gifts—a mini lantern to take to the “brown house” (Isaac’s label for an extended family lake cabin; his party location was listed as “the blue house”), a sensory exploration kit, puzzles, a sprawling farm play set, a suitcase and more. The “more” includes clothes from his other grandparents. I especially like the gold plaid flannel shirt. When you live in Minnesota, you can never have enough flannel. Even when you’re three.

What joy-filled hours we spent with the birthday boy. Randy and me. His uncle from Indiana, back in Minnesota for the holidays. His California grandparents and uncle and aunt now permanently relocated to Minnesota. His parents and sister. Only Isaac’s aunt and uncle from Wisconsin could not attend. Family embraced the birthday boy in a circle of love. To have those who love this little boy the most together to celebrate him swelled this grandma’s heart with endless happiness. What a joyful way to begin 2022.

© Copyright 2022 Audrey Kletscher Helbling

 

6 Responses to “The happiest of birthdays for a 3-year-old (& his family)”

  1. Norma Says:

    I’m sure the other grandma put the bows on the gifts, plus LOTS of scotch tape. I love to watch children open gifts! A beautiful cake. So much fun. You are so very fortunate to be close to your children and to be involved in their lives.

    • Definitely bows on Omie’s packages. I agree that it’s fun to watch children open gifts.

      I feel blessed to live near one of my three children, the one who happens to have children with your wonderful grandson. Our second daughter and her husband live about 4.5 hours away in Madison, Wisconsin. And Caleb lives eight hours away in Indiana. We just dropped him off at the airport about two hours ago. So nice to have him back for the holidays.

  2. 3 years old already! Wow, the grow so fast. Sounds like he had a lovely birthday

    • Yes, where do the years fly? It was a fun birthday. I love both his mom and dad’s sides of the family could be together to celebrate for this first time. Isaac celebrated his first birthday in California, so we missed that one. But his previously-California grandparents missed his second in Minnesota. And now this year, we were all together here in southern Minnesota.

  3. Oh Audrey, such a sweet post about little Isaac, so hard to believe he could be three already. What a fun celebration for him to have so many that love him in one room. I love that cake by the way, so bright and fun.


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