Baking Cinnamon Rolls Like Grandma

Sometimes, change comes even with those things that feel eternal. And change has come in my world; on September 7th my Grandma passed away, after a most incredible life of ninety-three years. Our family sunsets on the beach will never be the same. I once wrote that I “wanted to marvel at the fact that we have gotten to watch sunsets together at all.” And how marvelous it is has been.

I won’t get to watch any more sunsets with my Grandma, but there are certainly more sunsets in store for me. And whatever context that sun is setting in, I hope to live in the same way that my Grandma did.

My Grandma used to bake cinnamon rolls every Saturday morning. For years and years and years, long before I was around. Not pre-made, store-bought cinnamon rolls, but hand-kneaded and homemade. Every Saturday morning, just as she finished frosting them, friends and family would happen to be in the neighborhood. These cinnamon rolls have become something of a legend in my family. Everyone has been talking about them in the days since my Grandma’s passing. While the cinnamon rolls themselves are worth talking about, it’s really something else that has kept them the center of our conversation: my Grandma’s love. Mother Theresa said that we shouldn’t “look for big things, just do small things with great love.” My Grandma might not have done very many big things, but she lived just like she baked cinnamon rolls: always with the greatest of love.

When I was little I had a sweatshirt that said, “There’s no place like home. Except Grandma’s.” And this was really true. As the little brother and the youngest of the grandkids, I always seemed to end up at Grandma’s house while everyone else was out on some kind of adventure. I never complained about this, though, because Grandma’s was the greatest place to be. It was home in every sense. No place could be more comfortable, more welcoming, or have such an endless supply of cookies. Grandma endlessly offered all that she had—her time, her cookies, her love—to make others feel at home.

The day of my Grandma’s memorial service I was able to see her signature on the church’s 1958 charter. My Grandma was a part of the church from its beginnings (my grandparents helped to literally build the church) until she died. In short, she stuck around for a long time. While the church moved through numerous pastors, members came and left, and the building was remolded, expanded, and remodeled again and again, my Grandma stayed put. When she told her family fifty-six years ago they were going to join the new Lutheran church in town, Grandma was in it for the long haul. She didn’t leave when the seasons changed, but remained faithful to her community by sticking around.

I miss my Grandma terribly. I want to see her, to hug her, and to tell her all about school and other things, but I can’t. She’s gone. But until the time comes when I do get see her again, I’ll be busy: faithfully sticking around in my community, making a home for others, and baking cinnamon rolls for all.

Grandma, I miss you a lot, but I love you even more.