Family portrait

(posted for Jessica by a proud and biased step-parent who thinks it shows a fine clarity of observation and expression for a 13 year old)

 First I would paint a dark grey sky that looked like it was about to cry. Then there would be cracked and old red stairs that led up to a big white and green house, filled with lots of memories some good and some bad.

Sitting inside would be my mum wearing old and baggy fisherman pants that had bits of material hanging off the bottom. She would wear a stony green halter top, with her long, thick blonde hair covering her shoulders.  Her eyes look delicate and confused as she tries to figure out what to do next.

Then there would be my dad sitting in his chair with his safe and welcoming face on. He would wear a long baggy t-shirt and dark black shorts, in his big and worn out hands would be a pearly white bowl filled with whatever he pleases.

Ken (my step dad) would sit at his computer with his mind completely set on what ever he is doing. His hair looks like a big fluffy, soft grey cloud. He wears his glasses high up on his nose and is banging on the keyboard as he types about upcoming events and other things.

I would be sitting outside wearing a baggy old t-shirt and board shorts, with a big smile painted on my face. On my lap would be a black dog. Her tail would be wagging out of control because she is so happy.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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13 years ago

Take this as a compliment: I got teary reading this.

13 years ago

….. and when she is good she is very very good. Next minute it’s a backhander to everything you hold dear and sacred. But she enjoys writing and thankyou for being an appreciatve audience.

Francis Xavier Holden
13 years ago

jen – “university research shows” (and my experience) that around 17.5 – 18 years of age teenage grrls, suddenly one morning, turn into delightful human beings.

13 years ago

I wasn’t quite sure what to make of this post, Ken. My kids didn’t write like this, but I still have all of their Father’s Day cards. Especially the ones they gave me after the first marriage broke up. We do tend to dismiss the machinations of the younger mind too readily I feel. It’s good for the spirit to stop and consider once in a while. Even if they do drive you spare most of the time ;)

13 years ago

Niall, Agreed. When I underestimate children I can miss out on being delighted. I think that children have a stunning clarity of purpose in their expression spoken and written. So do some adults, but it hits closer to the bone from kids. I’ve just come back from three days with a class of 8-12 year olds in a remote community. Raw energy and willingness to engage in spades. How do these bright willing kids become passive welfare recipients with slack muscles and lots of neck fat?