Family – What is blood anyway?

Family. A very simple word is soooo loaded. Today I read a meme that said that the quote “Blood is thicker than water” is a bastardization of the full quote.

“The blood of the covenant is thicker than the water of the womb.”


I suppose my mom was more aligned with the full quote. My mom was one of six children. She was also the youngest. How much younger, Not sure, but in my unclear memory it seems substantially younger. 

Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away from stomach cancer when my mom was just four and she was left to be raised by grandpa who quickly transferred that responsibility to his sister, in Chicago who did not have any children of her own. 

My mom. A young and pretty isolated little black girl grew up in a time of Rock N’Roll and loved to stare at white superstars on TV and transport herself to any place but where she was. She was particularly obsessed with the likes of Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy. 

I can’t even imagine what it was like to be her. I mean LL Cool J was the only guy I could think about most of my youth, despite having a boyfriend for as long as I can remember. 

My mom worked hard to care for us and curated an awesome pod of women who are my aunties. 

  • There is aunt Betty. Oh, she is full of sugar and spice and everything nice. She is the aunt that calls you princess makes your hair very pretty and smells like Jergens, bath salts (not the ones you get high on) and Primo.
  • There is aunt Sandra. This aunt was very particular, claimed to not be a great cook, just to have an excuse to come by and eat with us, and had a knack for pissing the other aunties off. But boy is she loyal. My mom is moody and auntie Sandra doesn’t care. 
  • There is my gorgeous aunt Linda, who once had a showdown with another woman at a toy store for a Kenya doll that I wanted for Christmas. She was tall and beautiful and unlike many beautiful women, she was kind. She always made me feel welcomed and loved me generously. 

These three women gave me a host of cousins. Cousins that I fought with and never realized was the blood that comes from loyalty and not DNA. 

Later in life, my mother reconciled with her genetic family, but they never felt like an actual family to me. Some were closer than others. Like my mom’s favorite niece and her two children. My siblings and I just never bonded with the others. 

But that awesome pod that my mom and aunties formed never left me longing for more. Some people say that you can’t choose your family. That isn’t true. Family is what you make it. 

I pray for the blessing of a family forged from loyalty, just like my mama.