A Language of Love

Updated: Mar 1, 2020

(by Madeline Smith)

The true definition of a mother is not someone who gives birth to you. It is the woman who encourages you, believes in you, takes care of you when you’re sick, and loves you unconditionally. She puts your needs before her own and would do anything for you. For some people, that person is their biological mother. For me, it's my grandmother. I had to move out on my own at a relatively young age because of a toxic and unsafe family situation and haven’t heard from my biological mother since. During the ups and downs of being an independent woman at such a young age, my grandmother has been there to nurture me and love on me like only a grandma can.

It was finals week of my last semester of college, and I was extremely sick. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t let anything stop her when something needs to be done, but this time I couldn’t just power through. The phone rang: It was my grandmother telling me she was headed to the airport and would be at my house later that evening. For a moment, I thought it might be some sort of joke--was I feverish enough to hallucinate? Dropping everything on a moment's notice and flying from Arizona to Tennessee is something only a true mother does. Of course, it was exactly what needed—along with some homemade soup.

During that week, Grammy took care of the house so that I had time to study and kept me fed. Even when food is the last thing on my mind or just not appetizing at all, Grammy’s food still tastes wonderful. It’s amazing how food is really a language of love. The healing properties of her chicken avocado soup (and some good wine once I felt better) created a memorable bond, and we now call each other whenever either of us is going to make it. It will forever be a special recipe to me because it reminds me that maternal love takes different forms.


Madeline Smith is a country singer-songwriter and lifestyle blogger, who splits her time between Nashville, Tennessee, and Princeton, New Jersey. She can be found @madelinesmithl.

Chicken Avocado Soup

1 T. olive oil (or coconut oil)

1 c. chopped green onions

2 jalapeños, chopped into small pieces

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 (14.5 oz.) cans low-sodium chicken broth

2 Roma tomatoes, chopped

1 t. ground cumin

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

1 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces

3 T. fresh lime juice

3 medium avocados, peeled, cored and diced

Optional: tortilla chips, Monterey Jack cheese, cilantro, and sour cream for serving

In a large pot, heat olive oil.

Once pan is hot, add green onions and jalapeños, and sauté for about 2 minutes.

Add garlic, and sauté for 1 minute.

Add chicken broth, tomatoes, and cumin.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Add chicken and bring mixture to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium, cover, and cook for 10 - 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in lime juice.

Add avocados to soup just before serving.

Serve with tortilla chips, cheese, cilantro, and sour cream if desired.

Serves 6.