12 Aug People over projects and other sweet things
I’m counting minutes until the oven timer dings. Fourteen down. Six to go. The smell of fresh cinnamon rolls floods the house.
Earlier this month, we vacationed in Illinois with our family friends. Jill casually made cinnamon rolls for breakfast one morning (okay, they weren’t ready until lunchtime, but it was vacation, so…). I don’t do things like that. We eat cereal, bagels, eggs, whatever is easiest. Occasionally someone in the house will whip up pancakes (the “just add water” kind), but that’s as elaborate as it gets for breakfast.
Jill’s cinnamon rolls were so delicious though that I asked for a copy of her recipe with grand intentions to turn into the kind of mom who makes such things for her family (even though I hadn’t purchased yeast in five years).
Before this vacation, I hadn’t seen Jill and her family for seven years. We talk on the phone all the time, but that’s not the same as being in the same space, with husbands and children. I learned a lot from her during our short stay. I observed her calmly doing life while we invaded her home. She gracefully managed her own family (five kids, dog, husband) as well as took excellent care of us. When I tried to pinpoint how we’re different, I came up with: she puts people first and projects second, whereas I tend to push people aside because I have so many projects.
Since I’ve been home, I keep saying to myself, “What would Jill do in this situation?”
Thus, the decadent spirals of heavenly goodness in my oven as we speak.
My youngest child is entering middle school this year. She’s a darling. She had her sixth-grade planner designed and dated a week after fifth grade ended. She bought a new backpack at Goodwill in June and has had it packed and ready to go for a month now. She cleans her room every day while listening to Adventures in Odyssey on her iPod. (I recommend Odyssey for all kids! We pay $9.99 a month for unlimited access to every episode. WORTH IT! Emma has probably acquired her moral compass more from the folks who live in Odyssey than those of us who live in her house.)
She always tries to schedule Mommy time. Often, I’m tired or busy or just don’t want to do the things she wants to do. Because she’s so… hmmm… how do I say this nicely… left-brained/smart/analytical/rigid/always right… she’s hard to take sometimes.
She’s shown more interest in baking and cooking than the other kids ever did. She can whip up brownies or grilled cheese sandwiches like a boss. She was in her room, probably cleaning, last night when I texted, “Want to make cinnamon rolls?” I heard an elephant stampede and then looked up to see her standing next to me with a mile-wide smile.
“So, we’re doing this,” I said to myself and inhaled deeply.
As we decorated the counter with an inch of flour paste and dripped a cup of butter on the floor, I kept thinking about how chill Jill was while prepping the rolls she made for us. She had a dog and a six-year-old assisting her. Dog at her feet. Kid on the counter. She actually answered the phone with flour all over her hands. She didn’t seem thrown off her game when her middle-school son dropped his shoes on the very counter where she rolled the dough. He was having a cleat emergency and kept asking his mom questions. She answered him without any frustration in her tone. I would have lost it and screamed at someone, not because anyone was doing anything wrong, but because people (and a pet) were disrupting my project.
I woke this morning to two pans of lovely, sugared goodness ready to be put in the oven. Since I’ve been writing this, they baked to swirled-cinnamon perfection. I timed them just right so I could slather them with cream cheese icing about the same time Emma began listening to her first episode of Odyssey for the day. She’s mentioned probably twenty times in the past year how much she would love breakfast in bed.
When I walked in her room with a hot cinnamon roll that she helped prepare, she gasped, and said, “Thank you! You know me so well!” I hugged her and kissed her cheeks about a hundred times. My middle school daughter lets me repeatedly kiss her precious face.