Excerpt: 'Love Matters'

Popular nighttime light listening radio host Delilah has compiled her favorite listener stories from the thousands of letters she receives weekly.

Read an excerpt of "Love Matters" below and check out more books in the the "GMA" library.

Love for Family and Friends
"In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together and the music that brings harmony."
—Eva Evelyn Burrows, 13th General of the Salvation Army

Delilah
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Family has been celebrated in numerous popular songs, e.g., the bouncy Sister Sledge anthem "We Are Family" and -- my personal favorite -- Carole King's "Child of Mine," and with reason, because the family is the foundation for all of our love relationships to come, good or bad. I believe if children have but one person in their world who loves them fiercely, they will survive. If they don't have the assurance that they matter from at least one adult, then they are broken for life. I was raised in a traditional "nuclear" family, the norm in our little town in Reedsport, Oregon. It wasn't until years after I left home that I discovered how "un-normal" our American concept of family -- a mother, father, two kids and a dog -- is in many other cultures. Elsewhere in the world families live in dwellings with multiple generations, extended family members and even, in some cultures, multiple wives. My children have never experienced a "normal" family atmosphere, with a mother and father and full siblings. But they have known that they have a mother who loves them fiercely, and they know that I will love them unconditionally all the days of their lives.

As a child, I learned to love from the best, my mom, Wilma. Whatever her shortcomings, she believed in all four of her children and made sure we believed in ourselves. Her encouragement created in me a solid core of self-confidence that has been invaluable to me in my career as a radio host. Mom was a big woman -- she stood over six feet tall, and her arm span was that of a giant. And, oh, when she wrapped you in those strong arms, you knew you were loved!!

Wilma showed her love in a million different ways -- one was that she baked treats for her family. How we loved her cookies! Chocolate chip for the boys, oatmeal raisin for me and Dad, sugar cookies and applesauce with spice during the holidays. My parents both died within a few years of each other, each at the age of fifty-seven, and among the houseful of "stuff" that my siblings and I were left to sell or donate was a cookie jar. That cookie jar sat in Mom's kitchen for forty years and was rarely empty. Years later I walked into a thrift store and saw an identical cookie jar and started to cry, so I bought it and took it home. Not because I needed a new cookie jar, but because that ceramic jar reminded me of the hot cookies my mom would bake for us every week and the way she would ask, "Sis, you want to help me bake cookies?" This question was really an invitation to stand in our tiny kitchen and spend time laughing and talking to Mom about my friends, my homework, my latest crush, my future dreams. As we made cookies together, my mom and I bonded in love.

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