In the past week, I celebrated my 71st birthday and Mother's Day. Accordingly, I received quite a few cards.

As I read the cards, it dawned on me that I had better live up to the sentiments that were expressed. When people have a vision of you and they look hard to find a card that describes that vision, they mean what the words say.

My daughter Jennifer always seems to find exactly the right card. Her Mother's Day card to me was beautiful – "To have you for a Mom is to have hope, strength, and tremendous love always on my side. Lucky me." Actually, that will be my mantra this year – "hope, strength, love" – for, if I can maintain those three qualities, the year should be a snap.

My grandson Jordan (age 21) remembered how I used to eat his broccoli when his Mom wasn't looking. His card said, "Thanks for always watching out for me." Now that he is 21, it's not as easy to eat his broccoli. However, Jim and I support him any which way we can. My other three grandkids wrote special words on their card – even 2-year-old Colton can write his name now.

My sister Judy's birthday card was a list of ways I impact her life – "support, ally, audience, critic, fan, best friend …" Since we have been together for 69 of my 71 years, I can honestly say that I know her better than anyone else in the world. And, the feeling is mutual. This year, we will continue to strengthen our sisterhood and enjoy each other's company.

My friend Louise's card gushed at me when I took it out of the envelope – "warmhearted, funny, genuine, bright, kind, considerate, witty, generous" – Holy Moley! I will work hard to deserve those words. Louise and I have been friends since high school and we always "remember when."

And, my good friend Judith Ann called me "sharing, caring, giving" – and thanked God for me. Her card made me feel as though I can walk on water. And, since she is a religious person, it means all the more.

My nieces Julie and Kristin found cards that told me the world was a better place because I'm in it. They both consider me a friend – and that is very special to me.

Finally, my husband's card brought tears to my eyes. After almost 30 years of marriage, he still thinks that I am a "loving, caring woman" and that we have a "wonderful, amazing life together".

All in all, my special week was made even more special by the cards I received. Gifts are fine, but the gift of words makes material goods pale in comparison. I will do my best to live up to my cards.

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO CONTACT DR. SMITH, SHE CAN BE REACHED AT HER EMAIL ADDRESS: JSMITH1313@CFL.RR.COM OR IN CARE OF THIS NEWSPAPER.