Blood Is Thicker Than Water, Or Is It?

Does blood-line really mean anything? Blood thicker than water? In my early teen years, I discovered that I had about 20% blood line family, and the rest were by marriage.

Being a kid still, I thought I was probably special, because I had something in my family that most didn’t, but this isn’t true, and I realized it the more I matured in life.

There are many families that divorce today. Families of the same-sex marry or live together, grandparents raising kids, kids raising themselves.

When I think back to my childhood, it was fairly normal for the most parts compared to other families I have come to know. I had a real dad raising me and a step-mother, doing the best she could with two instant kids added to her marriage.

My grandpa was the best. He was my stepmother’s father. He had big floppy ears, like the character, Dumbo. He wore farmer over hauls and white t-shirts. In his young adult life he installed heating furnaces in people’s homes. This was back when a house call could be made at any time day or night. Sometimes he got so busy, that he would ask my dad to help him. This was a part-time job for him. His main job and love in life was his farm. He was not my blood line, but I didn’t know it for years, and even when I did find out, it made him more special in my eyes, because I loved him, and I knew that he loved me also.

My dad’s sister, was a person that I saw on Friday nights at supper time. We all drove to dad’s moms house and ate supper with the families. When ever I heard her speak directly to me, the conversations always ended up being about when I was very young. She was a teenager herself, and had been given the responsibility of bathing me. I was always reminded of the time she got the water too hot, and when she took me out of the bath tub, she was shocked at how red my skin had turned. Other than this conversation, I never bonded too much with her. As an adult, when I heard her speak it was always the accomplishments that her own children were doing in their lives. This person, was my blood line.

My stepmother’s mother, my step-grandma, was a home maker. She was a farmer’s wife. She loved life, was a firm believer of God and always made me feel so loved. I went to her house almost daily, and sometimes more than once a day. Each time I walked in her house, she welcomed me like she had not seen me for years. She was a wonderful baker, as most grandma’s are. She had a huge garden, and canned and froze most of their foods. She helped grandpa raise, cows, hogs, and chickens, and they always ate the meat from their own animals. None of that chemical stuff you don’t always know that is in meats today. She was not my blood line, but I loved her with all of my heart.

My dad’s mother was my blood line. I remember one summer only, that she and I bonded somewhat. I was getting married, and she lived in the same city that I did most of my wedding shopping from. I ended up staying there for two weeks at that time. I spent most of my time sitting in front of the TV with her, while she watched her soap operas. There was no talking aloud while these were on, and she watched one after another most of the afternoon. I would find myself alone, taking walks in the neighborhood, or going shopping, or napping. Grandma was about grandma. Her whole world revolved around her. If she wasn’t the topic of the conversation, then there was no speaking. When we were small kids, and we would go visit, we had to play with our toys in another room, and we had to play quietly. This was my blood line.

After reading back over what I have written, I realize, without a doubt, that in my eyes, blood line isn’t thicker than water. It isn’t who was your natural mom and dad, grandma and grandpa. It was who loved you. Who made you feel special, who did the littlest things in life for you. It was the way I felt about each one, the bonding that is the glue of the family.

It doesn’t matter to me anymore who was this or that in my life. What matters to me is who I remember, who I still have the fondest memories of, who was there when I skinned a knee, or was sick with a cold, who comforted me.

I have lost all of my family now except my brother, and I have aunts still alive, and my step-grandma has been in a nursing home now for some time. She is the ripe age of 96. She lives in another state, so I do not get to see her anymore, but I will never forget her fresh-baked cherry pies, or her big home-made sugar cookies, or the times she asked me to go with her to Dairy Queen.

Blood line means nothing to me, and I have now given up the phrase that blood is thicker than water.

25 thoughts on “Blood Is Thicker Than Water, Or Is It?

  1. and here is only me and mum … have a half-brother, but we have fallen out – only had contact for a couple of years .. he has two daughters, no contact with them either. My fathers side – I know nothing about him … don’t really care, he has never shown any interest in me through the years, so why bother. I think every family has some skeletons in the closet when it’s about family members or relatives. Strange really – Terry, great post … and I agree with you – blood isn’t thicker than water .. when it’s about families. It also of course how strong we are – and what we manage on our own. For me personal I think, how can I miss something that I never had and it worked so fine for nearly 50 years now.


    • i can understand what you are saying Viveka. why bother with someone who should be bothering with you………..what you don’t know won’t hurt you, right? i always felt through your comments that you love your mum very much, and i think this is wonderful…..families aren’t perfect this is for sure.


  2. Hey Terry. It’s a tough one sometimes as not all ‘family’ members are up to par with what one would expect from them. I think in some cases blood really is thicker than water, but it just depends on the person and the situation. From what you’ve described that’s not been the case in your life and I’m sorry to hear that. But I do agree with the photo you’ve posted with this blog. Regardless of ‘official’ family designation the people who are willing to be there for you, walk with you, carry their Cross for you if you will…are the people who are truly ‘family’ in the end. Glad you have had folks like that in your life over the years.


  3. This is so true Terry. I have never had to personally deal with family alienating me, well to a large extent, except for a few incidents now and then- I have heard of stories that sometimes implied otherwise on a few occasions though. I have had in-laws that treat me like their own, my cousins’ aunts and uncles as well as my, step-mom and step-dad treat me just as well as they do their own children. And now I’ve got you and Sara 😀


    • i used to think families were close and almost always there for each other, but i had to learn to grow up and realize this isn’t always so. thanks for your wonderful comment!


      • Thank you for the compliment and for the post. And, hey, while learning you met some really loving people your SGma & SGpa, it may not quell the pain, but it I hope it was a balmy salve


      • those two people to me were always my real grandma and grandpa. they made my life wonderful……………no blood needed there…….!!!


  4. You have special and wonderful memories of people who loved you…It certainly doesn’t matter who is blood-related and who is not. We have a granddaughter who is not blood-related but it has never affected our love for her or hers for us….Diane


    • that is the way i wish it was for all families……….but it isn’t. i felt more for my s-grandparents than my real ones. it is really about accepting and giving love. your granddaughter is a lucky girl, and so are you, to have her in your life


  5. You have really hit On something in this refreshingly honest post. Our ‘bloodline’ family members are not always those who feel like the closest family in our hearts, minds, and memories. Loyalties to the clan are often those sense of duties that one must outgrow-often painfully. I love the way the Lakota Sioux express their sense of belonging, in the phrase, “All My Relations,” which encompasses all living beings, the earth, the rocks, the wind, the oceans…


    • that is an awesome way to look at a sense of belonging…..all my relations……….i am so glad you enjoyed this story, and come by anytime!!!! thank you for a wonderful heartfelt comment……..


  6. Terry, I noticed one thing that stuck out to me. As you spoke of your aunt and paternal grandmother you never mentioned they had a relationship with Christ, but in mentioning your step grandmother you said she believed in God, and so I take it your step grandfather did too. Sometimes that makes the difference in how a person receives others into their family, especially if they are aware that when we accept Jesus as our Savior that we too are adopted into God’s family. I was 9 before I met either of my grandmothers, and both my grandfathers died 3 years before I was born, one from a heart attack and the other committed suicide. My paternal grandmother was a mean woman who I have a vague memory of seeing once before as a toddler when she locked me and my little brother in her attic and wouldn’t let us go out and play with our older sisters and brothers. We were rescued by my sister Joyce who was always like a second mom to us. She was so angry that she told mom she wanted to leave and never come back to Grandma M’s. My maternal grandmother was quite different, she was loving, and yes, the cookie, pie and cake baker. She loved watching wrestling at night and would gather all the boys around her to watch it with her. With the girls she would bake, chat, and other things that her generation thought all girls should know. But she spoiled us with love, food, and happiness when we visited. The difference in these 2 women is one I knew loved God with all her heart, and the other was angry at God. Understanding this is what helped me forgive my dad for being abusive, because I came to realize if his mom treated him even half the way she did others then he had been damaged as a child by her abuse of him. I come from a big family as my mom was the oldest of 12, and I am the 7th of 9. So I have almost 100 cousins from both sides alive, only 1 uncle is still alive from both sides, 4 brothers and 3 sisters still alive, and many nieces, nephews, great nieces, great nephews, and even great great nieces and nephews all alive. The sad thing is that we have all grown so far apart living in different states, and that is something that would never have happened if my mother was still alive. She was the glue that kept us all together, and she loved each non blood relative as if they were blood. That is why I am the way I am with my stepsons and my adopted daughters, to me once they became part of the family they were no different from my birth daughters, they were family. But it goes farther than that, one lesson we were taught by mom and dad is that anyone could be family through Christ, and so even when we were growing up we adopted many others as honorary parts of our family, because we loved them and they loved us…people from our churches where ever Dad was stationed became aunts, uncles, grandmas and grandpas to us, and we found that through Christ we are truly made into one family with others who we do not share any blood ties, except through the blood of Jesus.


    • i didn’t get into that , did i? the one aunt who is my dad’s sister, goes to church regularly, but i have never heard god spoken from her lips, the other aunt is very religious, she says, but she is the one who turned us away, stating she only wanted to hear about nice pretty things in life. the s-sister doesn’t go to church. my s-mom and dad went to church as Al and I did also, and we lived it, mom living it the most, dad following through much prayers. the last thing dad held before he died was his bible and my hand. i grew into the lord, phasing in and out as a teen and young adult, until almost five years ago, i rediscovered God and never let go


      • You only mentioned it about your step grandma. Unfortunately, Terry, many people are religious, but are not really Christian. People go to church for many reasons, yet don’t have a personal relationship with Christ. They go for the social advantages, because they were taught that it was right and the thing to do, because it gives them an upright reputation, and even because they think by doing the religious thing on sunday will qualify them for heaven. For these when they come home they leave God at church and then go on living their own lives without a thought to him. These are like the Pharisees, Scribes, and Publicans that Jesus often chided for their religious acts. I know these people well, because I was one of them until I found Christ as my Savior. I was raised in the church, and went because I was taught it was the right thing to do and expected. My dad was one who went, led the music at church, than came home and was a completely different person at home. My exes were these type of people too. But that isn’t what makes you a Christian, as we know. It is confessing your sins to Jesus, asking for his forgiveness, accepting his forgiveness and his will in your life, and then living for him not for self. It seems to me that is what your step grandma and step grandpa were doing, living for Jesus inwardly and outwardly. My sister Joyce is one who doesn’t go to church on a regular basis, usually only to hear me sing or see a Christmas or Easter program that I’ve directed, and yet I know she loves Jesus with all her heart and soul, and has a relationship with him daily. She is not a religious person, but I know she is a Christian, and then I have others who go to church every time the doors are open, yet are different at home than they are at church, and you can see they have no personal relationship with Jesus through their actions and attitudes. I think that is what you may be dealing with as far as your one aunt and sister are concerned and that is why they are being that way to you and Al. Pray for them that Jesus will become real to them, and his example will be clear before their eyes.


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