I never understood why we needed a made up holiday to tell people we love them. To show them they are cared for. To surprise them with unexpected notes of appreciation.

Valentine’s Day has always been so odd to me. Shouldn’t we express our love all the time and in all ways? Be it June, September, or February?

My friends have always told me, “Oh, Susan, you wear your heart on your sleeve. You’re going to get hurt.”

And they’re right. I do. And they’re right, I have been hurt. But it hurts me even more NOT to put my heart out there for all to see. To hide it under walls and layers and locks so no one can get in? It’s just not me. I have never been afraid of telling people how I feel. Holding someone’s hand. Letting them know I see them and they matter.

It scares me far more to stay silent. Life is too short.

I tell my daughter every day how loved she is by me. How special she is. How grateful I am to be her mother and watch her grow up. From the time she started kindergarten I put post-its in her lunch with messages of joy and love and drawings of our pets. I still do. That’s 7 years of daily post-its. 7 years of love letters 5 days a week.

We’ve never gone to bed without kisses and hugs and “I love you” whispers. We’ve never parted ways whether it’s for school or work or her time with her dad or a play date with a friend without telling each other how much we love each other.

She knows she is so loved by me that it radiates in all that she does. She’s solid. Secure. Seen. Children need this.

But adults do too.

I get excited by people. I get inspired by people. I get hopeful and giggly and romantic and curious.

I wear my heart on my sleeve.

Some people need Valentine’s Day to express themselves. Not me. Life is now.

Love it.