By Gail  Showalter

After an unwelcome and heart breaking divorce I moved in with my 71-year-old, widowed mother. She was a good sport and a great help. In the mornings she helped get kids ready for school and me off to work. As I left I’d say, jokingly, “You make a good wife.”

We had redesigned our family.

Families come in all shapes, sizes, and shades.

As a single mom I recall the holidays were often difficult for me. Maybe you know that feeling.

The aftermath of a lonely Valentine’s Day can be a terrible downer. Not having a mate is tough when all the girls are talking about the gifts they received. Girls, women, moms, and grandmothers all like to receive a treat from a lover. Being a loving person is so much bigger than being a lover.

It is what is happening in our heads, not our hearts, that creates the emotions we associate with the “missing piece.” Shel Silverstein wrote The Missing Piece Meets the Big O. It would make a great gift to you the week after Valentine’s Day. You may be surprised by the message. In fact, I suggest you prepare a lovely meal with candles just for yourself. Gift wrap the book, unwrap after your meal, and read it with chocolates for an after dinner treat.

Romantic love is a significant part of our adult lives. Love is broad, however, and is not just for lovers. Use this time to show your children the value of family love. Here are a few Memory Makers for you to try:

  • Use every opportunity to share with your children about the importance of respect in male/female relationships. Teach your sons to be gentlemen and your daughters to be ladies. Old fashioned? Not a bit.
  • Have older children prepare a special meal with all the table settings and decor. Then treat the whole family, whatever its make-up, as honored guests.
  • Have younger children or crafty older ones design and create handmade cards for grandparents for upcoming birthdays. Cover a table with doilies, construction paper, scissors, glue, glitter (for older kids), stickers, and maybe a photo of child. Let them go with it.
  • Allow kids to make slice and bake cookies. Wrap and tie with pretty ribbons and deliver to someone who may need a lift. This might even be a brother or sister of their own.
  • Make a “date” with each child. Do something together that interests the child, but not a shopping trip.

Demonstrate family love and your children will grow into loving adults.

Whatever your family makeup, cherish those who bring love into your home. Create your own sweet situation. Making a fond memory is something you will never regret.