They say that, “blood is thicker than water.” Except when it isn’t. When siblings are detached or self involved, when parents are indifferent, when spouses grow apart, when children go off to pursue their own dreams. When the people you count on most let you down. Hard.
It hurts to realize that sometimes family can fail you, and that kind of letdown is pretty tough to take. To get over. After all, these are the people who you’re supposed to be able to depend on — thick or thin. With that foundation shaken, it’s hard to feel secure. Even harder to revive feelings once they’ve been trampled in the dust.
Fortunately, there is also the saying that, “friends are the family you choose for yourself.” I have friends that I consider family, closer in all the ways that count than any blood relative could be. We actively choose to be with each other. Warts and all. And, as my 18-year old points out, “We’re not forced to love them,” we just do.
Could be there’s something to that.
It could also be that not living a childhood fighting for bathroom time and parental approval has its advantages. You never truly know what goes on behind closed doors, in private, where no one sees. Sometimes that can be pretty terrible. Water doesn’t carry the scars inflicted on blood, water often sees the best of you, blood sees it all.
In the end, however you define it, blood ties or the ties of friendship, surround yourself with people who have shown (more than once) they love you. People who will go to bat for you. People who want the best for you. Let those people be the ones you live and die for, the ones whose opinion counts most.
Forget the rest. Just don’t be mean to them.