Poets romanticize love, psychiatrists analyze love, and preachers sermonize love. People all around the world spend a lifetime searching for love, and everyone has his or her opinion about how to show love.

As we’re still in the Valentine’s Day mood, let us pause and ponder the meaning of love through the eyes of my family and a survey conducted on a group of elementary kids.

“Love is the stuff Valentine’s cards say. It’s stuff we want to say ourselves, but we wouldn’t get caught dead saying,” Hugo, an over-30 single man, says.

“Love is when my mom puts on perfume and my dad puts on shaving cologne, and they go out so they can smell each other,” James, age 5, says.

“Love is that first thing you feel before all the bad stuff starts happening,” Lily, age 6, says.

“Love is when your best friend hurts you, and you get really mad but don’t yell back because you know it would hurt his feelings,” Ted, age 8 says.

“When someone loves you, he won’t ever call you bad names. You know that your name is safe in his mouth,” Anna, age 8, says.

“Love is when you go out to eat and give your friends most of your French fries without taking anything off their plate, even if you really want to,” Jackson, age 6, says.

“Love is when my mommy makes me hot cocoa in the morning, and she takes a sip before giving it to me to make sure the taste is OK,” Isabel, age 7, says.

“Love is when you tell a guy you like his shirt and then he wears that shirt everyday,” Maria, age 8, says.

“Love is my grandma and grandpa who are still friends and married even after they’ve known each other for so long,” Josh, age 8, says.

“Love is when Mommy sees Daddy smelly and sweaty and still says he is handsomer than Robert Redford,” Samantha, age 10, says.

“I know my older sister loves me because she gives me all her old clothes and has to go out and buy new ones,” Sarah, age 10 says.

“Love is when you hold hands and sit beside each other in the cafeteria. That means you’re in love. Otherwise, you can sit across from each other and be okay,” Tim, age 8, says.

“Love is what makes my big brother hide in the dark corners of movie theaters with his girlfriend,” Daniel, age 8 says.

“I let my big sister pick on me because my Mom says she only picks on me because she loves me. So now I pick on my baby sister because I love her,” Tanya, age 7, says.

“You never have to be lonely. There’s always somebody to love, even if it’s just your hamster or a kitten,” Lilly, age 7, says.

“Love is when mommy walks in while daddy’s sitting on the toilet, and she doesn’t think it’s gross,” Evelyn, age 8, says.

“You can break love, but it won’t ever die,” Hannah, age 9, says.

“Love goes on even when you stop breathing, and it picks up where you left off when you get into heaven,” Caleb, age 10, says.

“Love is what makes you keep smiling, even when you’re tired,” Sammy, age 6, says.

“Love is what’s left in the room with you at Christmas if you stop opening presents and just look around,” Dusty, age 9, says.

“Love is taking responsibility for your pets. Get them spayed or neutered and take care of them,” Sylvia, age not important, says.

“Love is letting the dog Cheech lick your face, even though she has bad breath,” Tommy, our five-month-old kitten, says.

“Love is seeing my cat Peter cough up a grassball onto my white carpet, and still thinking he’s adorable,” my daughter Mindy, age 20, says.

“Love is not being an animal-lover but putting up with four cats in the house, two cats outside, one dog in the bed and all the neighborhood varmints turning up at dinner time,” Spouser, 40-something, says.

“Love is trying to sleep with the lights on while Spouser sits up in bed — laptop on his legs — watching news programs or Cricket games until the wee hours of the morning,” Gina, refuses to give age, says.

Finally, Feb. 11, my grandmother Marjory Moore Tiano would have turned 92. She passed away more than a year ago in August but is still, and always will be, a great influence in all areas of my life. Opening my wedding album, I read from a letter Grandmother wrote and gave me on my wedding day. It is her advice to a new bride, her definition of love: “…Love is respecting each other and casting out trivial differences. Remember to always share your hopes and dreams — that you may grow closer and never be lonely.”

So, from my heart to yours, my hope is that no matter what your definition of love may be, it will be yours abundantly.

Comments on this column by visiting www.valleytowncrier.com Gina’s columns can be found by clicking on the opinion tab.