Blood and Water

“Blood is thicker than water.”

Most people would interpret this as Family bond is stronger and worth more than ties with a stranger (friendship). I was recently introduced to a new interpretation of this saying through my brother.

H.C. Trumbull writes:

We, in the West, are accustomed to say that “blood is thicker than water” ; but the Arabs have the idea that blood is thicker than milk, than a mother’s milk. With them, any two children nourished at the same breast are called ” milk-brothers,” or “sucking brothers”; and the tie between such is very strong. [..] But the Arabs hold that brothers in the covenant of blood are closer than brothers at a common breast; that those who have tasted each other’s blood are in a surer covenant than those who have tasted the same milk together ; that “blood-lickers,” as the blood-brothers are sometimes called, are more truly one than “milk-brothers,” or “sucking brothers”; that, indeed, blood is thicker than milk, as well as thicker than water. Wikipedia

There are some people who would say that their bonds with family are a burden. I know quite a few people who have distinct feeling of disgust towards their family, mainly parent(s). I can’t say I don’t know the feeling as I’ve written so many poems in regards to my true feelings towards my father, but I also can’t say I don’t regret being mad at him all the time.

My anger towards my father is rooted deeply in my life’s history that you have to know me to know and understand why the anger can’t be extinguished so easily. And of course, I’d have to know those people well to judge them myself. So, I won’t say anything about them since I have very little idea of their situation.

Does my anger toward my father mean nothing then if “blood is thicker”? Do I keep trusting someone who’s broken too many promises throughout my lifetime? Or does it mean, I should disregard him, let my friends hear me talk bad about him and let them talk bad about him too?

I think it all depends on who you are. As for me, blood can represent either “covenant of blood” or family bond and my answer will still stay the same.

Friendship for me means quite a lot.

My siblings were my first real friends. Upon moving to the US, the four of us only had each other to rely on. My mother and father worked day in and day out and my older sisters had to raise me and my younger brother like their own. (And it’s not limited to our time only in the US, even back in the Philippines, they took care of us. They, especially my second eldest sister, had to mature faster than most 12 year olds.)

They were my first best friends. Only recently has there been a falling out that’s been stitched… but once something is ripped, it cannot be made new again.

Anyway, all my friendship after them has been ups and downs. I now have three people I can say are true friends and I treat them like sisters, real sisters. (We call each other sistars.)Of course it will take some time for me to treat them like I do my siblings, but I can definitely say, though we are not related, our bond is strong. It’s just as strong as the bond I have with my siblings.

My siblings and I are blood related, tied by the blood that runs through our veins.

My sistars and I are not related, tied by tears shed from shared hurt.

Despite being blood and water, both these bonds are strong and stand quite equal with each other. I can’t imagine myself without either.

So what does “blood is thicker than water” really mean?

To me, it holds no real significance. Some families are strangers, tied by the blood that runs through our veins. There is no trust and loyalty. Some friends are like family, tied by tears shed from shared hurt. And honestly, I would take a bullet to the chest for friends like the ones I have.

My father is a friend at times. We can talk about my day and how I thought that guy was handsome and we can talk about our different political views. We can talk about how he’s annoying me and how I haven’t been a good daughter. At times, I can get really angry at him, but I love him still.

Blood. Water. That has nothing to do with bonds. I don’t have to like my dad at all, but I do anyway, not because of blood or how much he’s given up for me, but because I like my dad simply because I do.

I think, if you can’t even be friends or have the open mind to believe that they can be a friend, there’s never going to be genuine respect. I mean, we can all be subjected to respect someone, but do we really? We may have admiration, sure, and I’m sure at some point you’ve imagined hanging out. That’s a thought about friendship, getting to know.

Without that respect, I don’t think any kind of relationship with a person is futile, may they be a stranger or not.

I just wanted to say this before I post later on a poem I wrote about my experience with friendship.

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