Oh, To Be Loved! An Early Lesson For Me – It’s Not Who You Love, But How You Love

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

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  1. Maureen Fleming

    I remember that baby girl…that amazing, beautiful, wonderful baby girl…who grew up and became an amazing, beautiful, wonderful woman!!

  2. Deirdre Grey

    Thank you both for this beautiful greeting on Valentine’s Day and any day.
    A year ago, my 21 young nieces and nephews gave me a birthday present – out of the blue, not the sort of thing we do. Inside a pretty box,was a pretty letter, penned and crayoned by a few of those “with the best handwriting” and who “draw the best” announcing to me that they wanted to send me on an adventure (some pictures suggesting sailing, riding, flying), or, give me a pair of antique earrings they had picked out (another picture drawn of odd, vintage gold and gemstones pretty much adding up to their birthstones). They had worked out this plan together and saved up money from their lemonade and blueberry stands, a couple of paper routes, their chore money – almost $600 – and they wanted me to choose from these two ideas they had voted as the “best ideas.” My Goodness, I was gobsmacked with emotion. How much I love everyone of these little cuddling people who ask me to read to them, who come stay with me “on their own,” who figure out who will wake me up before they open Christmas presents. They told me they thought it was a good idea to let a grown-up know that kids love her back. I wear my fabulous earrings on all my adventures, even to the grocery store. Happy Valentine’s Day to One and All, your faithful reader, Deirdre

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