Are “In-Laws” Family?

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to take a few days off work to travel back to Atlanta to meet the newest member of my family, Ayah. Ayah is not only my niece but my godchild. From the minute I held her in my arms we were connected. I also must admit, it has been years since I’ve held a newborn baby so I was all in my feelings. It was getting to the point where I would see strangers out with babies and debate asking if I could just hold the baby for a few minutes. I know this is frowned upon, so I didn’t do it, but it literally takes everything for me to hold back.


Ayah, my Goddaughter


I love that new baby smell. The little noises they make. Don’t even get me started on the cry. As soon as I would hear Ayah cry I would JUMP UP and run to her, just so I could see that little lip quiver and then, I’d grab her and comfort her so she knows Auntie Dee-Dee will always be there for her… Because she will remember meeting me at 3 weeks old, right? Anyway, in my humble opinion, babies are the most amazing little creatures.


I was with my family for a few days and as always, it was filled with laughter, storytelling, deep conversation, some tears but LOVE. Now “technically” it is my husband’s family, but when you marry someone – you take on their family and I don’t believe in that “In-Law” terminology. They are my family, period.


I love that I married into such a BIG family, especially because I come from a pretty small family myself. I remember going to Canada for the very first time, it was also my first time leaving the country as well. We drove up to meet everyone, I was pregnant with our daughter Chloe and I knew that I had a lot of people to meet and impress. I was warned that he was the “cool cousin” who spoiled all the kids. He was the “fun one” who everyone loved to party with. Rome was the “favorite nephew” that thought nothing of driving his family anywhere they needed to go without hesitation or back-talk. They were definitely going to suss me out, make sure I was with him for the right reasons and because he was so far from them – I knew their main concern was that he was loved.


The Patriarch of the Family, rest easy Grandad… Meeting Chloe on Christmas Day 2001

That week was chaos, we drove from house to house. I met Parents, Siblings, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins (SO MANY COUSINS), Grandparents, neighbors, childhood friends… You name it, I met them. On the ride home, I tried to take everything in. The fact that I was now a part of something so big, it was intimidating and overwhelming. I believed in my heart that they knew Rome was a very cautious person and selective about who he let into his personal space. This made it a whole lot easier, they all welcomed me as family immediately and because I was carrying his child, we would be family for life no matter what – I loved that.


Where do we stand 20 years later? Well, I am in Atlanta with his family celebrating a new life and loving every second of it. If I could have handpicked a family to marry into, it would have been this one. They love hard, just like me. They treat me no different than if I was blood. I don’t get special “guest in our home” treatment, there is no “we can’t say that because there is an outsider here” type of vibe. I will say it one more time for the people in the back, WE ARE FAMILY.

Latoya’s Vlog

Auntie Jillian’s Vlog.

Jillian and I are VERY close. We have a great relationship and when this was happening, I never even thought twice about it… This wasn’t the first time we had an intense conversation and I am sure it will not be the last. Jillian didn’t “make me cry”, I cried because I am a very emotional person and when it comes to Chloe those emotions are amplified. I wonder constantly what I could’ve done differently or better. It really is that simple. . .


Jillian and I in 2000 and again in 2019


After I watched the video, I understood why it got the reaction it did, because itĀ is REALITY and from the outside looking in, it seemed to get very heated. I can assure everyone, a minute after we were laughing or arguing about something totally different.

I might not physically LOOK like them, but for 20 years I have been one of “them”, the family. If I wasn’t treated exactly that way, it would feel like I wasn’t part of the beauty that is THEM!

I hope that everyone who watched the Vlog understands, there is no love lost. You will never catch me out here talking bad about my family. (Not the blood family or the “in-law” family.) This all started because I teased Myles, Jillian’s son who is now 26. You know how long I have known him? Long enough to tease him and he gives it right back…


Myles and A very LITTLE Chloe 2001 Holiday’s


I am so glad I made it to Atlanta to enjoy some time with the new baby, my little ones Samia and Zayn and of course the rest of the crew.

I encourage everyone to take into consideration the word “family” and what it means to them. I have people who are my family, that keeps telling me about. We share the same bloodline and I know nothing about these people. Then there is my husband, Rome, my best friend Ana, my niece Latoya and the family I have chosen who I know inside and out and there is NO DNA TEST in the world that could tell me that I am not related to them.

I hope everyone has a great weekend ahead and if you read this far, please be sure to SUBSCRIBE to get notifications of my new posts!