Keeley is very, very clever, with a wicked sense of humour and a knack of seeing the absurdity in people’s behaviour, but she also has a few areas of… let’s call it confusion.
We were in the car on the way back from our diving trip, salty, tired, thirsty and in dire need of a shower, but Keeley was on top form, entertaining us with stories of school and life in the boarding house. “I love Ms P [the boarding mother who’s now moved to another school], right, but I won’t miss the prayers she used to do. [Keeley’s voice drops a couple of octaves and takes on a solemn, sonorous tone] Dear God, thank you for all the girls in the boarding house. Thank you for Annabelle and her English exam. Thank you for Jessie and her Maths HSC. Thank you for Lucy who played really well in hockey this week, she did an amazing job [pause], even though we didn’t win and we’re bottom of the table. Thank you for Sophie, who washed the dishes for the first time on Tuesday without being asked…”
After this was an ongoing conversation between the girls about Kira fostering children. Kira wants kids but doesn’t want to give birth, so she’s decided she’s going to go down the adoption route. Keeley’s decided that “foster kids” sounds better than “adopted kids”, so no matter how much she’s told that she’s saying it wrong, “foster kids” it is.
It was a long and convoluted conversation about just how many kids Kira was going to adopt/foster, then Keeley suddenly got a brainwave. She drew a sharp intake of breath and slapped her sisters’ arm, “Oh my god, Kira! You could have twelve kids and then you could name them after those rocks in Victoria, the Twelve Apostles!”
Kira’s a lot more cluey than her sister on this kind of thing but tends to go along with these conversations because they’re a lot of fun. Sometimes, though, she feels that her sister needs a little guidance. “The rocks are named after Jesus’s apostles, Keeley.”
“What, really? Why didn’t they just name them after his disciples?” A bit of verbal scuffling ensued as Kira tried to explain that apostles and disciples are one and the same thing, till Keeley exclaimed, “But that works out really well! We know the names of the apostles/disciples, whatever they are.” She turned to me, “Mum, what are the names of the twelve disciples?”
Like I’d know? I haven’t been to church in a very long time, and I definitely can't remember the names of the disciples, but in my job description as a mother, I am required to know everything at all times. I'm well versed in thinking on my feet when the kids ask me a knotty question, so I rattled off the names of the books in the New Testament, fully aware that most of them weren’t disciples, but also certain that Keeley would neither know nor care about a minor detail such as that. “Matthew, Mark, Luke, John...” then I had to start thinking a little harder and switch my foggy and ancient Religious Education memory on, “Peter, Paul, James, Judas…”
“Wow,” says Keeley, “they sound like a bunch of Aussie kids. It’s funny that they’ve got the same names. Oh, I’ve got another one: Corinthians! I’ve never heard of anyone being called Corinthians, though, what would you call it for short? Corrie?”