When Lupita sees Mami crying over a pesky mesquite growing in her rose garden, she knows something is wrong. Through the kitchen window, she overhears that Mami has cancer. After an operation, things seem to return to normal for Lupita and her family, and they go on with their lives, going back and forth between attending school, working, and living in the United States and visiting family and friends in Mexico. However, when Mami’s cancer returns, Papi doesn’t know whether he should accompany Mami during her long convalescence at an out of town cancer clinic or stay home to care for Lupita and her seven brothers and sisters. Suddenly, being a high school student, dealing with difficult friends, starring in the school play, even writing, become less important to Lupita than doing whatever it takes to save Mami’s life.
But lately Mami's changed. A thorny mesquite has sprouted in the middle of her rose garden. even after she has pulled it out by its roots repeatedly, pricking herself on its thorns each time, it keeps growing back. Today the resilient mesquite causes her to cry with frustration. I abandon the journal I've been writing in to kneel beside her on the grass and put my arms around her.