Whenever mom starts talking about her childhood, we know we are supposed to just sit quietly and listen. She expects we will find the lesson in her story, even though we have a hard time concentrating on much of anything other than the treats in the cabinet.
After mom returned from a visit with her sister and our Sharpei cousins Digby and Miagi, mom was reminded of when she attended high school with her own cousins. Mom was an unremarkable high school kid, just trying to go somewhat unnoticed when word leaked out in the school just who her cousins were. The cousins were always being picked on by mean students for various reasons. Mom was confronted by a mean student one day who asked, “Are you really related to those people?” Mom was forced to take a stand of loyalty and answer yes. Mom had to defend her underdog cousins at several other crucial points during her high school years. Mom told us blood was thicker than water. She said we also needed to stick up for family no matter how different they may look or act, and no matter how badly we may want to distance ourselves from the unusual just to fit in ourselves.
It was after this lead in that mom produced this picture of our cousin Digby: