time to spare

Yesterday my friend Barb and I were on the phone commiserating over these long, quiet, pre-Christmas days of 2020.

“I am so bored,” this previously perpetually active woman said, “that I have set up my train set.”

There had never been enough time or space when her house was filled with excited children and grandchildren, she explained.  But in 2020 she and her husband don’t have that going on.  Her children and grandchildren will stay in Pennsylvania and Barb and Rod are stuck in Rhode Island.

We commiserated about our decades of Christmas busyness and how exhausted and yet happy we had been making the holiday special for our families.  And how strange that it had all come to a screeching halt.

I told her that I was going to make seven pans of cinnamon rolls.

“My God,” she said.  “That will take you all day!”

“I HOPE SO!”  was my reply.  “I need something to do besides feel sorry for myself and sew.”

I told her the rolls were going to be her Christmas present.

She was very happy about that.

I warned her that I haven’t made cinnamon rolls in 33 years.  She didn’t care.  She wants some.  She assured me that baking cinnamon rolls was a life skill that never went away.  And because she is an excellent baker, I believe her.

The Funny Grandson Face-timed yesterday afternoon.  I hadn’t talked to him for a couple of weeks and he had plenty to say.  He was swigging a rare and exciting treat– Cherry Dr. Pepper– and wearing his prized Dallas Cowboys hat.

I caught up on many, many details of his life and how he feels about all sorts of things.  He showed me every single one of his new football cards and his favorite funny tv commercial, via Youtube.

I told him about my plans to make cinnamon rolls (one of his favorite treats when he is at the lake with us) and he wished I could mail him some, which led to discussing the problems with the mail and how his Christmas presents from RI were going to be very, very late.

He had questions about the Covid vaccine.  I gave him hints about his gifts.  He gave me hints about his mom’s gift.  I got an update on flag football (it starts in January and his team is the 49’ers).  After almost an hour (this kid is wonderfully chatty) I suggested that he might want to hang up and see if his dinner was ready.

He was shocked that I would suggest ending the call.

“Grandma,” he declared, “I have all the time in the world!”

Oh, my heart.

And–of course–I had all the time in the world, too.  So I curled up on the couch and chatted for another half an hour or so.

It was the best thing that’s happened for weeks and broke through my gloom and doom.  I miss him terribly.

So today I’ll fill the hours with baking.  Banjo Man has requested sugar cookies, the thin crispy kind.   And I’m excited about the cinnamon rolls.  They bring back memories of raising my little ones in Idaho, when baking every day was part of life, and cinnamon rolls shaped like Christmas trees were distributed to the neighbors on Christmas Eve.

This year, for better or for worse, I have all the time in the world.

And I plan to play with Barb’s train set tomorrow.  The Funny Grandson will like hearing all about it.










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