It’s breakfast time and as the semester is winding down, my roommates are becoming aware that some of the niceties we’ve been accustomed to are fading away since we’re all going to go our separate ways in about a month. As such I’m looking for something to eat and everything in our house is labeled with somebody else’s nickname.

Oh Monster, Blondie, Bravegirl, Court, and Sarah; will you ever share your cereal again? Now, I’m not the apartment leech that doesn’t buy her own food and just expects everyone else to feed me, but I still miss the days at the beginning of the year when Noblesse Oblige put each of us all in more generous food moods. Suddenly many of us got accepted to expensive Study Abroad programs and now it’s tightfisted penny-pinching and every girl for herself. Ok! I’ll admit the pickle jar in the fridge labeled “The Snig” belongs to me and me alone, but a pickle is no breakfast feast.

Before coming to college, I swore that my eating habits would remain unchanged from high school (or if anything, get better). I didn’t want to be one of those college students who eats a frozen banana, a handful of pretzels, and a candy cane for breakfast, but my situation this morning has left me a little desperate.

They say that youth is wasted on the young. The freedoms and thrills promised to my age group are romanticized to the extreme. This age is thrilling, but some mornings I’d trade all of that youthful fling for a bowl of Marshmallow Mateys. It is mornings like this that you realize just how much you need the haven of a home. Most of my roommates are from Utah, so their havens can be their actual homes, but I have no such luck. (I’ve wished many times that Provo could suddenly be a suburb of Washington D.C., so I could have that good fortune).

Thank heavens that my Grandma makes her home in Provo. I went to dinner at her house on Sunday and I didn’t realize how badly I needed not only a home-cooked meal but just to be in a space with multiple levels and windows and a back door that isn’t just a fire escape.

My Grandma may not play sushi tag with me, but dinner at her house is always an adventure. She’s an expert at making just enough food to make you think that if you polish off the potatoes or snag the last roll, you’re not hurting anyone (or excessively overeating; though you usually are). She has spent a lifetime making other people’s lives her business, so you feel really cared about, as though your life is really interesting, and the things you are doing are really important. I always leave her house stuffed to the gills and spiritually lifted.

I like to pretend that I’m an introvert and as such don’t pine for interaction like some of the people I see around me, but I guess I really do sometimes. It isn’t just the front garden and the baked butternut squash that makes my Grandma’s house the home that the college version of me has never known, there’s something extra.

Oh Grandma, what has life taught you that you’ve evolved from labeling cereal boxes (however necessary) in college so that nobody bums food off you, to making each day an exercise in seeing how much you can share? You may have never labeled your cereal boxes (or pickle jars) so that no one else would nibble away at them, but if you did, what changed? What has made you the kind of person who takes great care to label every cereal box “to be given away freely.” And can I have a crash course in that kind of charity sometime before next fall, when I take on a whole new apartment of roommates?  Or is it just a gift of time and maturity? 

Anyway, for now, I will go to the store, buy my box of cereal so I don’t have pickle-breath for my 10 o’clock class, and come as often as you’ll call for Sunday dinners.