Madeleine "Madi" Suarez prepares some hors d'oeuvres for a party to welcome her at her mother's home.


A few weeks ago, my younger daughter, Madi, phoned.

"Hey, Mom, what do you think about me coming for a visit?"

"That would be wonderful. I'll throw a party."

"Oh, Mom, you don't have to throw a party. I just want to spend time with you."

"I'd like my friends to meet you. Is that OK?"

"Only if you let me prepare the food," she replied, laughing. Madi is my opposite - she loves creating cuisine. When I have parties, I order tortilla wraps. Madi turns up her nose at that.

After I sent the invitations, my prayers for warmer weather began. Since my modest home would not accommodate everyone attending, some of the party had to take place in the backyard.

Seeing Madi walk into my house thrilled me - I hadn't seen her in almost a year. Pulling her close, I realized how much I love the feel of her. From the time she was born, Madi had the silkiest skin in the world. When she was little, I loved kissing her soft cheeks.

In less than an hour, the faithful Claude arrived to take us shopping. After driving for what seemed like forever and a day, Madi said, "Are we still in Tucson?"

Shrugging, I replied, "Tucson is very spread out, honey, but I honestly forgot how far Whole Foods is. We'll be there soon." After shopping our hearts out, we traveled to AJ's for a few more items. By the time we got home, the three of us were exhausted.

Madi spent several hours in the kitchen that evening chopping, boiling and preparing.

The next day after breakfast at a local cafe, we rushed home to have our photos taken by one of my writing students, who is a photographer and poet. The two dogs sort of behaved, with Toots occasionally posing.

There was time for a mother-daughter talk before Madi returned to the kitchen. She cooked while I set the tables and laid out the utensils.

By 4:30 we were running out of time. "Mom, can you slice the croissants?"

"Sure," I said, eager to help.

Nearly everything was done when my neighbor, Mike, arrived to play bartender. He and I took out glasses, opened wine bottles and set up the bar outside.

By the time my friends arrived, Madi was ready, a big smile on her face. The party was filled with conversation and laughter. Madi's foodstuff was an enormous triumph.

The next morning before she left, I gave her a big hug. "Thanks for coming to visit me, Madi. I'm so lucky to have you," I said, my eyes welling with tears.

"No, Mom," Madi said, her blue eyes looking into mine. "I'm the one who's lucky to have a mom like you."

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