Dear Reader: This begins the countdown to my most favorite holiday in the world – Valentine’s Day!

Here is the first of seven days of essays designed for the day:

The media permeates us with images of romantic couples, so very happy, with absolutely no problems whatsoever.  And, they are going to celebrate Valentine’s Day with a cold refreshing Heineken, because Heineken has linked themselves with love in the air.

As I reach for my cold Heineken, which happens to be one of my favorite beers, I look at my tribe of five with a depth of love I’ve never known before.  It’s called Unconditional Love.heart again

Yes, they drive me crazy.  And there are days that I wonder if I can make it.  Yet, at the end of it all, these children are truly my heart.  It is through my deep love for them that I’ve been blessed to go beyond the stereotypes of what love looks like, in the culture we live in.  In other words, it’s no longer about me, or me and he, or me and my tribe.

It’s about extending my love to ALL.  And, it’s all my children’s fault for doing this to me!  Opening my heart so wide that it can encompass everyone.

Isn’t that what a holiday based on LOVE is all about, about LOVE?

If you have that picture perfect romantic love, great!  Enjoy that intimate cherished connection.

If the love you feel is for your children or family or best friend or pet, excellent!  Keep feeling that pulsation of love all around you on this Valentine’s Day – wherever it exists for you in your life.

Do not judge, just love.

As one of the Founding Team members of Match.Com, launching it on the Internet in a San Francisco basement in ‘95, I learned from a hands-on, in-the-romantic-battlefield- place that too many of us feel incomplete and insecure if we do not have a partner by our side.

The advice I give to many, and which I know to be true without question, is that unless you truly love yourself, no one will fulfill you or complete you.  Think about it, would you be attracted to someone who is needy and uncomfortable in their own skin?  Or, would you be turned on by someone who is OK with themselves, with or without you?

So, believe you me, I’ve been through hellish up and downs, and through many relationships.  Now, as a single mom whose love-focus is her children, my heart is in a much purer and calm place.  I feel so very blessed to be here!

Here’s your choice, then:  If you have a romantic partner this Valentine’s Day, have fun!  If you don’t, embrace all those you love with a hug, a phone call (go beyond texting, just for the day!), or homemade cookies.

Once Valentine’s Day passes, I’d like to ask a favor:  The love you felt on this day, keep it close to you, in your heart, and continue to share it with others – even beyond your circle of family and friends.

What our world needs more of is “love, sweet love.”

heart again

“All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love. Love is all you need.”

(John Lennon)