One day last week, I decided to get up, go to the gym, come back home, and enjoy breakfast with my dogs. Typically, I’d get up and rush to work each morning, but last week was the last week before I trekked on another 17 weeks of classes, so on that particular morning, I decided to enjoy a meal the brings back some of my favorite memories.

Breakfast is one of my favorite meals, albeit one that I often skip or rush through. When I get a chance though, I love pulling out the griddle to make bacon, eggs, and french toast. There is something about the morning hours that makes freshly roasted coffee smell so much better than mid-day coffee.

On this particular morning, while eating my breakfast and talking to Caesar, I began to think of the fond breakfast memories I have and how breakfast is able to connect people (and dogs).

I’ve been going to school for a long time – I started fall 2014. In the beginning, I worked thirds at a factory. I’d go to work at 11 p.m., get off at 7 a.m., sleep until 10 a.m., commute to school, get back around 5 p.m., sleep until 10 p.m., and repeat. It didn’t take long for that routine to get tiresome. Eventually, stress led me to quit my high paying job to work for minimum wage at a record store.

While I didn’t have much money anymore, I had time to wake up and visit my grandma and mom for breakfast each morning. I’d grab my favorite coffee cup – a Beatles cup with “It’s been a hard day's night, and I’ve been working like a dog” inscribed on it – and brew myself a cup of my grandma’s favorite hazelnut k-cup coffee. My mom would make us breakfast and we would sit and chat around the table. Sometimes I’d bring Jeter with me and grandma would always call him “Cheater.” For whatever reason, she could never remember “Jeter” and felt that “Cheater” was close enough.

During those days, breakfast became something I looked forward to and a time that meant more than just eating some eggs. I would spend time catching up with grandma who had plenty to talk about – especially about what those pesky hawks were doing to the poor snowbirds outside her window.

Over time, I got new jobs with different schedules or my school schedule changed, but when I could, I still went over to have breakfast with my grandma and mom (after all, they lived just over the hill).

Near the end of her life, grandma stopped coming to the table in the morning, citing that she wasn’t hungry. My mom or I would persuade her out somedays anyway, arguing that breakfast wasn’t the important part of the morning, but rather the conversation was what we were there for.

Grandma died last January and I haven’t had breakfast “over the hill” or with my mom since, with the exception of her birthday last April, when I surprised her with a full menu.

Instead, these days, I spend breakfast with Caesar or Jeter, collecting photos with my current favorite mug – “Dog Mom” – with one of the boys in the background admiring my plate.

I began school again on Monday, and I am officially, for the first time, a full-time student. Even more exciting than that, I have only one year left. Because of my schedule and my lack of will to get out of bed, I won’t have enough time to physically make it in to work before 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; I have to leave for class by 10:30 a.m. What I will have time for on those days is breakfast with my dogs – bringing back a tradition that I enjoyed at the beginning of my school adventure.

Sometimes breakfast isn’t just breakfast and sometimes in life, a simple gesture or routine isn’t as simple as others may think. I love breakfast, not because of the eggs, bacon, or toast, but because it elicits warm memories.

While grandma is no longer here and mom works a morning schedule and no longer lives over the hill, I continue to create new warm memories by sharing breakfast and conversation with Caesar and Jeter. No doubt, my goofy breakfast photos with a dog in the backdrop will make me cry joyful tears one day in the future while I think of happy memories long gone.

Note: This column originally appeared on my blog,