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I am a high school English teacher in an urban high school in Oklahoma City. I am a member of the American Federation of Teachers, Local 2309. I am a Democrat, a union activist and a worker for social justice. I also am a Christian (Congregationalist). I play chess and coach our school chess team.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Love is thicker than Blood

From Left to Right: Stephanie, Devin & Skylar
I missed school on Friday in order to travel up to Tulsa for a funeral.  The woman being memorialized had raised Stephanie who was living with her when she passed away at age 90. Until the memorial service, I did not know her name, Doris Leoma Tincher, until the memorial service. To us, she was always "Grannie" because that is what Stephanie called her.

Stephanie, pictured above in a photo taken at Christmas in 2013, is our daughter though she is not a blood relative.  She, at one time, was married to my wife's son, and it was through him that she and her wonderful children came into our lives.  We call her daughter Skylar and her son Devin our grandchildren.  I never had children of my own, but somehow I have in my elder year been graced with having a daughter and two grandchildren.  Our love for each other has bound us closer than mere blood often binds parents and offsprings.

Something else I discovered yesterday was that this was not the first time that Stephanie had this type of relationship because she was not of the same blood as her grannie.  Stephanie and her mother married into Grannie's family.  Soon afterward, her mother left Stephanie to be raised by Grannie and her husband, whom I never recall meeting.  Love was also in this case the family tie that Stephanie has enjoyed.

Stephanie gave a moving tribute to Grannie through a poem she wrote.  I will try to publish it soon.

Skylar working at the stables
Showing off her riding award
Skylar riding

Six years ago, Skylar came to live with us. Skylar is mentally handicapped and is not ashamed for anyone to know this.  Yet she functions at a very high level for one in her condition. In addition to being Grandma and Grandpa's memory, "Did you remember to take your meds?", she works at some riding stables out west of Piedmont and has taken part in several riding competitions. Devin lives in Tulsa and works downtown at, JoMama's Pizza, one of the restaurants in the Blue Dome District.  Their lives have enriched ours more than can be measured.

There is a saying that "Blood is Thicker Than Water."  To a certain extent, this is true.  You feel a bond and in many cases an obligation to those with whom you are related.  But as the relationship between Stephanie, Skylar, Devin, Cat, and me proves, Love is often thicker than even blood can be.

Grandma & Grandpa love Stephanie, Skylar, and Devin more than we can express.  You are truly a part of us forever.

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