Love actually is...

Valentine’s Day is a “holiday” that I don’t have strong feelings for either way — it’s nice if acknowledged when I have a significant other, and if I’m single, I don’t really spend time thinking about it.

But love…that’s another story. Although I will happily accept (and send) cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts as an expression of affection, I’m much more about those displays, and more, being spread throughout the year.

For me, expressions of love come in many forms, and most often, they are not grand gestures or public declarations waiting to be “liked” and shared, they are not meant to evoke envy or shame, and they are not meant to be one-upped or outdone.

So, where does that leave us? Love is romantic, friendly, passionate, tender, devoted, nurturing, familiar, familial, respectful, and cherished. It’s seen and unseen, subtle and straightforward.

Love actually is…

…a letter from a friend you haven’t seen in years.

…a freshly roasted cup of coffee from Dad, and an extra $20 from Mom.

…an adorable pair of corgis waiting to greet me at my bedroom door each morning.

…a friend sending you a surprise gift that is “so you” just because.

…a long-time mentor encouraging you to reach your full potential.

… anytime anyone has shown me they love me for who I am. My parents always let me march to my own drum beat. That’s love. — Leslie F

….a handwritten note — whether it’s a Post-It on the mirror, a note in my lunchbox, a thank you card, a love letter. I’ve received them all over the years, and the more thoughtful and heartfelt the sentiment, the more loved I feel. — Julia R

… my husband, performing his nighttime duty as human blanket as he spoons me to sleep. — Patti N

…when I found out I was pregnant with #1 on my birthday and #2 on Christmas. — Jessica K

… the first time Madeline said “I love you mommy.” We were on her bedroom floor lying on our belly reading “Olivia.” We finished the book and she said it. I’m in tears remembering the moment. — Sarah D

…the first Valentine’s Day after a bad breakup, a friend who knew how much I was dreading the day sent me a very early morning text to wish my a happy Valentine’s day and that my friends all loved me. — Sally-Anne K

What does love mean to you?

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