Is Blood Thicker than Water?
I have a definitive, unequivocal answer to that question; however, for the sake of effect; in essence, dragging things out just for the sake of doing so, I will hold my response for now. Don’t you just hate it when people do that? I mean, just leave you hanging while they ramble on avoiding the topic at hand while you suffer at the hands of their misguided utterings. I mean, get to the damned point already!
So now if you’re slightly worked up, great! I’ve got your attention. If not, you’re a great sport to sit through my sad attempt at injecting a little humor to introduce a topic that’s not so funny—family loyalty.
I remember as a kid, my cousins and I would sometimes play in our front yards or run around with other neighborhood kids (Yep! That actually used to be a thing) getting into some form of trouble because that’s what kids did. And, without fail, there was always a neighborhood bully that came out to flex his unnatural size for a nine-year-old, ruining any semblance of joy for the rest of us. We’d always been told by the adults in our family to stick together against any outsiders because “blood is thicker than water” so we did. Needless to say, before long, the bullies found another gang of kids to mess with because we ran deep, and we were not backing down. If you had a problem with one of us, you had a problem with all of us.
Now, as an adult, and even in the years leading up to adulthood, I’ve found myself questioning whether I’ve sometimes had misplaced loyalties when it comes to family. I’ve had the privilege to meet some pretty awesome people, who, quite honestly, have treated me better than some of my own family members. I’ve also had family members whom I’ve defended turn their backs on me when I needed the same in return. In speaking to a family member recently, I had that question of family loyalty resurface, as she began to tell me her story. It went something like this:
My family member has a child who is incarcerated and has been for most of his adult life. He is not necessarily a victim of circumstance, poor parenting, of just being Black, but, a victim of his own poor choices. He decided at young age that he wanted to be a gangster. And yes, he spoke those exact words around the age of ten or eleven. No matter what the family tried to do to steer him away from the dark side, it seemed that gangbanging tugged at him like a visceral force and so he was arrested several times as a teen, and finally at the age of seventeen, he was old enough to be sent to prison. He spent seven years there for armed robbery and a list of other charges. When he was finally released, a year later, he was arrested again for first degree murder and is currently awaiting trial.
His mother has been a loyal supporter, sending him money, visiting, and petitioning for his release through it all despite his apparent guilt. She also insists that all her other children adjust their budgets in order that they might send money regularly and adjust their schedules that they may arrange visits to see their brother. When I asked her why she felt compelled to rally support for her child, she said, “because we’re family and we have to stick together”. I stared in anticipation of what other rationale she would give, but there was nothing else. She’s lost close friends through all of this because they openly questioned her decisions just as I did. Some of whom had been around since childhood have fallen by the wayside for saying the “wrong thing”.
So, I pose this question to you. Is blood always thicker than water no matter the situation? My response is a resounding “NO”.