Today would have been my Granny’s 104th birthday. I miss her every day. I think about her every day. I know she is with me every single day.
She died in 2007. It basically feels like an eternity ago. My life was a bit of a disaster around her death, and I was unable to attend her funeral. I think her death was a wakeup call for me, and I have been trying to grow and change and find myself since then. But this post isn’t about me.
At her funeral, no one spoke. Again, this post isn’t about reasons why people didn’t or couldn’t speak. It’s about Granny and honoring her because she deserved to have a line of people who wanted to sing her praises. I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about what I would say about Granny now if I had the chance. I think it would be something like this:
I’ve become a big fan of Let’s Make a Deal. And every time I watch it, playing along, choosing curtains and boxes, I think of Granny. She loved game shows, all of them, and though it took some time, that love has transferred into me. I wish I would have watched more game shows with her, but when she wanted to watch The Price is Right, I wanted to watch cartoons or The View as I got older. So we sat in separate rooms instead of playing along together, choosing those curtains, guessing prices, answering questions.
I wish I had watched those game shows with her. Wish I had taken slow walks around the neighborhood, her arm linked into mine. Wish we had baked more cookies and watched more movies. I wish I had used this time to talk to her, learn from her, hear stories about her past, her life, because in so many ways they are also my past and my life. But I was young and naïve and caught up in my own world, one of the few things that made me like all other teenagers.
She was quick to relinquish the TV to me and my preferences because she was probably one of the kindest, most understanding people to walk the face of the earth. And she loved me in ways that still make my heart flutter, always sending cards of congratulations on good grades or accomplishments, even if that was sometimes just making it to the weekend. She sent money and candy and clothes and stuffed animals. She never judged or questioned me, instead she stood up for me. I swear she understood me better than I understood myself at that young age. I dream about what it would have been like to know her as an adult. What it would have felt like.
I hope she knew how much I loved her too. How I looked forward to all of her visits. How I would walk into her bedroom after she left our home and inhale her lingering scent. I didn’t always know how to express or explain my love for her to her, but if I could feel her love, perhaps she felt mine as well.
I remember how she loved to read. Loved it. She could read a book in a day, sometimes maybe even two. That is definitely where I got my love of reading and probably has a lot to do with my love of writing. I hope she would like my writing. I hope she’d give me feedback and make me better. I hope she would be proud that I seem to be unable to give up no matter how many times I am rejected. I hope she is guiding me from her spot in the universe, an unseen cheerleader, a seed planted in my mind and my work.
I think she is.
And that gives me strength and comfort, on days good and bad. But it can’t begin to make me miss her less, to fill in the gaps of having lost her, my final living grandparent before I even graduated high school.
One of the things I remember most is sharing breakfast with her. We loved a lot of the same foods, cinnamon rolls, doughnuts, and definitely Entenmann’s cream cheese coffee cake. I’m not sure I have had that since her death, but in honor of her I made my own version. It’s not quite the same, but evokes all those flavors and feelings, and I know she would love this with the crumb topping, the thick and rich cream cheese layer, and the cake to hold it all together.
Happy birthday, Granny! I miss you, I love you, and I feel your presence every day xoxoPrint
A decadent breakfast treat with rich cream cheese filling, cinnamon crumb topping, and cake to hold it all together.
2 ½ cups paleo flour blend (2 cups almond flour, 1 ¼ cups tapioca starch, ¾ cup coconut flour)
2/3 cup coconut sugar
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon sea salt
¾ cup coconut oil, room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
3 large eggs
2/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 eight ounce packages cream cheese, room temperature
1 large egg
1/3 cup coconut sugar
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla bean powder
½ teaspoon espresso powder
3 cups paleo flour blend
1 cup coconut sugar
¼ cup pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F/ 325 degrees F convection. Oil a 9 by 13 inch pan.
Make the cake. in a large bowl, beat sugar and oil until well combined. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla. Stir in half the flour followed by the milk. Finish the batter by stirring in the remaining flour, baking powder and soda, and salt. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth into an even layer.
Make the filling (in the same bowl if you want). Beat together the cheese, egg, sugar, syrup, vanilla, and espresso until fully combined. Spread over the cake batter.
Make the topping (again in the same bowl if you want). Stir together the flour, sugar, and cinnamon until combined. Stir in the syrup and oil until clumps form. Sprinkle over the cake.
Bake 35-45 minutes until golden brown and risen. Cool completely in the pan. Cake may be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen, wrapped in parchment and foil and placed in a zipper bag for up to 3 months. Thaw in the microwave about 30 seconds.
Recipe adapted from Shugary Sweets
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes