I’ve often tried to come up with some up side of this aging thing, this looking in the mirror and seeing a stranger or someone that looks like my mother peering back at me. I am always a bit shocked to see my reflection. From in here, everything looks the same. I feel just the same inside. Quite honestly, there are days when I really can’t come up with any ideas about what is better about (or as good as)  the “senior” me than the young me. That fresh faced, leaner,  smoother, stronger me that was “Mom” or “Mama” in the sweetest years of my life.

OK maybe that instead of two precious little girls to love, I now have three of them and three boys for good measure, quite a “Return on Investment”, don’t you think? Grandkids are definitely a reward that can only be earned by having more birthdays. Those three  boys have definitely been a bonus, giving me a whole new slant on parenting. I always feared I would have flunked boys but I love it! The grandgirls are equally wonderful of course, but I had a lot more practice with fixing hair than setting up forts and stuff. Oh yeah,  and I always say I won the son-in-law lottery, too. Two grown men already well raised and good from the get-go. A gift to our family from their mothers. Good job, ladies. You did well.

Today is Mother’s Day and I’ll bet some of you haven’t  gotten your Mom anything yet. OK, maybe you still can after church. Fly by the big box store on the way home and grab her some flowers. And a card. Which you will sign on your way there. If  you can find a pen in the car that works. This only works if Mom is close enough to visit today. I would not say this unless I have been guilty of such tactics myself in those frantic years of my youth. My excuse is that there wasn’t online shopping back then but it is a flimsy one. I am sorry I was so blind.

If I have learned anything in this birthday-after-birthday process, I have gained wisdom and thank God for that. From this side of the child raising years, I have a much clearer view. I know and understand what moms everywhere really want. I mean really, really want. They just want to know more than anything else that you recognize that all she did for you was because of the depth of her love for you. She wanted to do it. She did not see it as a job and she sure didn’t show up for the accolades. (What accolades?)  And you know what else moms want? To believe that their children actually like each other and that somehow the little family unit she fought to maintain has managed to stay intact through the years.

Hallmark and FTD and Russell Stover might really hate it if they knew that a genuine heartfelt thank you would be a more treasured gift than anything that can be wrapped. Best of all is a hand written note of genuine gratitude for all your Mom did to prepare you for life. Sweeter than any flowers. I promise you she will read it a hundred times and save it in a special place so she can pull it out and savor your words over and over again. Best, best of all? Write it and then go to her and read it aloud to her. If you can’t be with her, send it and keep a copy to read to her over the phone. Be prepared to experience some serious emotion.

And here’s the deal, people. You will get as much out of this as she does, maybe more. When we express gratitude, we become happier and more satisfied with life too. It has even been shown to decrease depression. This looks like a win-win to me. So today, you still have time to bless your mom with words she will treasure. Mom, your original groupie. Your biggest fan since the day you were born. She was always there. She loves you just as much when you are 63 as she did when you were 6 or 3, I know that from living it.

2 Kings 4:30 “But the child’s mother said, “As surely as the Lord lives and as you live, I will not leave you. So he got up and followed her.”   I love you, Mom.



Betty Streff

Betty Streff began her career as a customer service representative for a large corporation in Omaha. Four years later she found herself to be a farm wife in a small rural community with limited opportunities for women. After a humbling self assessment, she listed her assets as talents for sketching, sewing, and the natural ability to strike up conversations with complete strangers. Using these and her optimistic nature, she began stitching up some bibs and pillows for a craft show, who wouldn't? Over the next 25 years she became a serial entrepreneur obsessed with studying faith, spirituality, leadership, motivation, and management as she developed her businesses. Betty has spent the last few years working in corporate America in the hospitality and manufacturing world and she continues to immerse herself in the study of what makes people tick. The explosive growth in the relatively recent science of positive psychology fascinates her. Betty devours everything she can find on the subject and is especially intrigued with people who thrive no matter the circumstances and in discovering ways that happiness and optimism can be learned. She is currently exploring ways of sharing and cultivating the exciting possibilities with both individuals and businesses. She and her husband Steve have been married 45 years and are blessed with 2 incredible daughters, 2 fantastic sons-in-law and 6 amazing grandchildren.