WILDER'S WHOLE WORLD: Cinnamon rolls

By Dwayne Wilder
Special to the Herald Democrat

In certain baking pans, you make an eight-count biscuit or cinnamon roll can, but one has to go in the middle. We had that type of pan in our household as my son, Ryan, grew up. There was always a middle cinnamon roll.

This roll was special because it didn’t touch the edges of the pan; it was protected and got to bake unencumbered by anything else. It was the most perfect cinnamon roll of the bunch; and therefore, it seemed to taste the best. We started having such treats for breakfast when my son was a toddler and I quickly understood the power of that one roll.

Of course, I took it for myself every time.

No one noticed or mentioned it. No one cared. Then, there was that day when Ryan was 4-5 years old. He noticed and mentioned it! In all his childhood glory, he wanted that middle cinnamon roll every single time we had them. Suddenly, he understood what was special about it. And being the good parent I was, I let him have it gladly as a simple, meaningful gesture to my child.

And for the next 17 years, Ryan got the middle cinnamon roll. No questions asked and no one begrudged him it. That became our life and it was good. Occasionally, I would take a moment to relish the act of giving him that special roll as something parents did for their children.

Yes, I know it was such a simple gesture – even an obvious one – but to me, it became a symbol of all I wanted to give my child.

As the years and cans of cinnamon rolls went by, I would think on the concept. When I made breakfast, I would take such care with placing that roll just right to be the special one of the batch. It didn’t take a seasoned baker to do it, but I did it regardless. It grew in meaning to me. Perhaps too much, but it was nice to have something simple to consider as my son grew into a man.

As the days and weeks drew to a close, Ryan would be moving out, and I thought about the middle cinnamon roll. I knew when the last one would be. I even knew what day exactly I would make it for him: the last time he would have that middle cinnamon roll in our family’s house. It was a crushing feeling. Even now as I write, it brings tears. That simple gesture I freely and happily gave to my little boy would be no more.

That last time went by so fast that I barely had time to experience it. I didn’t even have time to truly feel it. We were talking and eating; mother, father and son—just like always. It was a good breakfast; and that cinnamon roll was there. Right now, I can’t remember any details of that meal; only that it happened. Only that it had a special meaning to me; even if to no one else.

My son moved out as he planned a week later. We, his parents, haven’t had cinnamon rolls since. I guess I’m superstitious. I don’t want to jinx anything. I don’t want to take away anything from that last meal and last middle cinnamon roll. At first, I was upset; and wanted to scream at Pillsbury, but later, I realized that in each parental life there are gestures that encompass the parent-child life. Sometimes they are things we don’t think about, but are powerful as time goes on.

For me and my son, whether he knew it or not, it was that middle cinnamon roll.

Dwayne Wilder

Dwayne Wilder is a Sherman native who currently lives in Denison. Wilder’s Whole World is his commentary about life in Texoma and the world. Wilder can be reached at cmandad17@gmail.com. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group.