Huw & Keith Portrait

My family split up when I was 6. Being the youngest of 4 I didn’t really have any idea of what was going on, I just knew everyone’s upset. I remember being asked “who do you want to live with” and I immediately thought probably Santa was the wisest choice until I realised they meant mum or dad. I had never been faced with a decision that big in my life. It was a really hard time for everyone in the family. It’s always hard when a family splits and especially confusing when you have 3 older siblings that you look up to and you’re watching the way they are reacting to the situation too.
From memory I stayed with Mum for a while and then decided I’d like to alternate and stay a week at Mum’s and a week at Dad’s. This kind of arrangement can make your head spin pretty quickly but I guess ultimately my childhood experiences has made it easy for me to adapt to change in my adult life.

Dad would implement structures for me to help the process and one of the things he would do is take me to a café every morning for a hot chocolate and we would have a chat before school. I used to love this and that’s why I chose a cafe location for this photo shoot. Dad would also take me to soccer or footy/cricket etc every weekend so that was a big part of our relationship when I was a youngster. Every morning chats at the café, every weekend sport.

Probably around the time I hit puberty I also hit something which we now refer to as ‘the time that shall not be spoken about ever again’ hahaha. No but seriously I went through a pretty feral stage and took a lot of this out on Dad and my lovely mother of course. Dad and I had a really rough time for a while and I think neither of us really knew what to do. In hindsight I guess I felt powerless during the family split and when I hit an age of feeling some empowerment I wanted to explore that power and I chose to vent a lot of my frustrations. Oh dear… I officially apologised to both my parents when I was 21 and also paid Dad back the $20 I stole from his wallet. Looking back I don’t hate myself for that period, it was just what I needed to do at the time. I challenged authority and stood up for myself. It was my own way of gaining some control.

They say you develop most of your personality traits by the age of 4. Only I know how many things I’ve personally overcome and achieved in my life and through a lot of hard work I’m now proud of the adult I am today. My Dad has always been there for me and this has always been in the back of my mind and given me the courage to get out there and go for gold. I thank my family for instilling in me the courage to believe that dreams can come true and that being good to others and being honest are such rewarding qualities.

I remember always promising I would buy our old house one day and everyone could live there again… Awwwwe. I love all my family very much. My family has come a long, long way since those days. Nothing is perfect but we all understand that we are family and will always be there for each other any time any of us ever need it.

My relationship with my Dad has overcome many hard times over the years but I can now very proudly say that my dad’s my mate and we will be best buds for the rest of our lives.

—Huw 
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