I'm dedicating this Valentine's Day to my Aunt!  It's so wonderful to feel love in its many forms: family love, romantic love, love of friends, love of one's children. What would life be without feeling loved?  I have always had a special bond with my Aunt Maureen, who was 11 years old when I was born.  I was something fun and cute for her to play with as a newborn and our bond grew and grew over the years. This is one of my favorite photos of us together.  (I always slept on one side as a baby, which explains my lack of hair on one side!)  This photo pretty much sums up "us"!  Maureen's smile at me is priceless and I get such joy from this photo.
I didn't have a sister, but always knew I could count on her.  When I was 14, she told me she was gay.  I remember feeling surprised - as her private life had never been a focus of mine - but I quickly moved past the news.   Nothing changed, nor should it have.  Things were harder then for the gay community and I felt she was brave for having the courage to be "different"...to be herself and to live the life she felt she was born to live.  I had already lived in the South as a youngster and seen racism and prejudice in its many forms and now having a family member in the '80's who had come "out", I had yet one more experience under my belt that opened my young eyes more to the diverse world around me.  It was important to learn early that people, no matter their skin color, age, physical abilities or sexual orientation, deserved the same level of respect, understanding and compassion. (Click here to read about another of the great inspirations of my life - Kerri Micelli - who taught my enormously about life and love.  She passed away a few years ago)
I feel so blessed to have learned early that it's not who you love, but how you love those around you...As William Shakespeare said, "Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, and therefore is winged cupid painted blind."  He was onto something early...
A quote I love:
"Nobody has ever measured, even poets, how much a heart can hold." -Zelda Fitzgerald
Love it magical. May you all find it throughout your life.  If you have it, share it with the world!
~Melissa Hawks