Cinnamon Roll Sundays

For twenty years at our house, Sunday mornings meant waking up to the sweet, sugary taste of cinnamon rolls. The smell was enough to bring some from their beds and the fear of missing out brought the rest down.

If you’ve ever popped a package of them, you likely have stumbled across Pillsbury’s three design flaws.


First, the little sugar cup in the bottom is sealed loosely with a metal lid. I’m certain I am not the only one who has pulled apart his eight sticky pieces of dough and neglected to notice the little metal lid clinging to the last one. But you find it when the rolls are pulled from the oven because seven are perfect and one is burnt to a crisp. Swine metal lid!

Second, there are never enough. When the girls were young, they plowed through cinnamon rolls like lions at a wildebeest buffet. At some point, eight wasn’t enough so we added a five pack until thirteen wouldn’t hold them. I am sure their tummies had limits, but it seems they would eat them until there were none left. The negotiations over the last cinnamon roll were epic and could be used by the UN as a precedent for global conflict resolution.

The final design flaw is the little cup of sugar icing. No matter how hard you try, it is simply impossible to spread its contents evenly across the warm cinnamon rolls. Two get too much, one gets slighted – equity is impossible to reach. And although white, sticky icing is dripping over the edge of every one, sleepy-eyed children can tell exactly which roll is a milligram short. I spent way too much time stealing from one to give to another like a confectioner Robin Hood and thinking that I had divvied it up perfectly. But the first one down would survey the lot and quickly snatch the two with the most while the straggler would whine about icing insufficiency.

Things are different now. On this holiday weekend, we needed only a five pack to suit them all. The oldest two were home from college and neither eats as much as they used to. The high schooler’s dancing demands a healthier diet. And then there is the one missing. She ate the most cinnamon rolls of all and as our early riser, she always got the pick of the lot.

As I globbed icing on the five lonely cinnamon rolls and desperately tried for icing equality, I stepped back and pondered life’s changes. Time is irreversible despite our best efforts. The things that distract us most: money, career, fame – none of that will stop time. Surgery can only delay its evidence. But time marches on relentlessly. It can’t be stopped. Like the portion of icing at the bottom of the tube, there is never enough. Even though my life is as beautifully imperfect as the cinnamon roll conundrum, I am happy with where I find myself (except the loss, of course.) And yet, making cinnamon rolls takes me back and I find myself wishing for simpler days that have vanished in what seems like a minute.

Sunday morning, cinnamon rolls. The girls devoured all five and the last sleepyhead down complained of her lot – just like old times. Who would have thought they would become a little family tradition? Soon, cinnamon rolls won’t be needed at all because neither my lovely wife nor I eat them. I wonder what lazy Sundays will consist of then.


Are there any flaky little Sunday morning traditions that turn your heart toward home and family?


16 thoughts on “Cinnamon Roll Sundays

  1. Our Sunday mornings was spent with dad threatening our lives if we didn’t turn the cartoons off and get ready for church lol. I do remember Ma-Ma cooking those beautiful pancakes and home made chocolate gravy with cat eye biscuits. Dang living was good. Where did it go sighhh! We are just Carolyn and I now. Kids all gone there own way and of course like you the missing daughter. We have Titus day on Monday our youngest grandson comes and its a blast. He is one of eight. Great story Mark smiles all the way through with a lump in my throat and heavy heart.

    blessings buddy

    1. Eight! You are blessed, my friend. And the southerner in my loves a good biscuit with gravy. I was introduced to it in the army as SOS, but it was a lot different than the good kind.

  2. Mark, I wish I had a clever comment! Many of us with grown children long for those traditions that were made accidentally. You have traditions & the heavy loss of Kylie. I agree with the guy ahead of me – I have a throat lump too!

  3. Any time I’m back home my mom wakes me up with the smell of breakfast cooking . As soon as she knows I’m planning a trip she stocks up on all of the essentials ! It makes me look forward to the next morning when I come down

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