Our focus turns increasingly towards love in the month of February. Cards and candies at every store, ads and articles on every news feed refuse to let us forget February 14th.

Each Valentine’s Day, I like to be a champion for celebrating love of all forms. Self-love, family love, romantic love, career love or hobby love. Love comes in all shapes and sizes, each deserving of our gratitude and attention.

Today I’m sharing a personal story that reflects the five types of love aforementioned and my journey to letting them rule my life.

Already a survivor of war and religious persecution by her early twenties, Mollie Siegal was conditioned through life’s challenges to be resilient. In Brooklyn, NY, Mollie struggled to raise four children on a roofer’s wages. Her ingenuity in the kitchen kept her family fed, and she earned quite the reputation for her baking.

Honoring and Celebrating Love in All Forms

Mollie Siegal, my grandmother, was 74 years old when she ‘lost her fight’ with type II diabetes.

Our family came together then for seven days –aunts, uncles, cousins, parents, siblings– to mourn our loss. During that time, my aunt decided we would bake some of Grandma Mollie’s best desserts. Leafing through her scratchy handwritten recipes and bringing them to life made us feel close to her and to each other. Tasting her familiar sweets brought comfort, and inspired me to love working with food.

Years later, I discovered I had a condition likely inherited from my Grandma Mollie called Poly-cystic Ovarian Syndrome. Marked by hormonal imbalances and menstrual irregularities, PCOS increases the risk for a number of illnesses, among them diabetes.

Reminded of Grandma Mollie’s resilience, I enrolled in my first nutrition class with a goal to learn how to care for myself and for others. Now many years later, I am able to help clients with all types of conditions improve their nutritional status. Being a dietitian is truly one of my greatest loves in life! And it’s one of the things I’ll be celebrating this Valentine’s Day.

Honoring and Celebrating Love in All Forms

I hope you decide to honor and chase love of all forms this February. See where it brings you!