Community Voices: My family of punctuation marks

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Editor’s Note: Today, we introduce a semi-regular feature, Community Voices, featuring writing by members of the Unionville community on a wide range of topics. Many of the writers — as our first three writers this week — will be students and we think they have interesting insights. Our next installment will run Wednesday. Let us know what you think.

By Alice Liu, student, Patton Middle School

Punctuation marks give meaning to written words, indicating pauses and changes in tones of the voice when speaking. Each punctuation mark has its own special job. The period is a busy man, just like a small, round traffic cop. He blocks the helter-skelter of words and brings them to a stop. The question mark is a young girl. She is small in size, but asks too many questions. Of all the punctuation marks, I like the comma best. It lets me take a break, when I’m out of breath, and then I continue on. The exclamation mark is easily excited. When children laugh or cry or scream, it is most delighted. My family is like the collection of punctuation marks. Without all the punctuation marks in the right places, a story or writing would be incoherent, just like a family.

My mother is like the exclamation point. With a careful eye, she looks over my sister and me.  Waking me up in the morning, calling me for dinner, scolding me when I fight with my younger sister, and fretting over a slight cold, my mother does all she can to make sure I am healthy and happy all the time. When I fall sick, my mother passes sleepless nights by the side of my bed. Her anxiety and her fear only disappear after my recovery from illness. My mother always keeps my life in beat.

My dad is like the period. He is a quiet, reserved man, but always keeps his words. He speaks when spoken to, he does not offer advice without caution, and his opinion can be hard to find.  I often thought that my dad’s silence meant that he had nothing to say.

However, I have found that he was quiet because of his wisdom. Despite his busy schedule, my dad has never stopped caring for me. Whenever I look at the sliced apples placed neatly in my lunch bag every day, I remember that ever since I started going to school, he has rarely ever missed a day of slicing an apple early in the morning and slipping it into my lunch.

My sister is like the question mark. Never running out of energy, she is as curious as can be! Always thinking, she can ask a million questions. When she was younger, she wondered, ‘Why is the sky blue?’, ‘Why do the stars twinkle?’, ‘Why am I me?’, and she still does. My mom told me that when she picks up my sister after school, the first thing my sister would ask my mom every day is where I am. Her curious and driven personality, along with her bright smile, motivates me, showing me that we learn for the joy of learning.

I am the comma. I believe there is never an end to learning new things or thinking of new ideas. I know that there is so much more for me to learn, and that everything I embrace as truth now is a very small part of what I will eventually be able to recognize. Life is just like a comma- there is always room for improvement. Because of this, life for me is full of hopes and dreams.

Missing punctuation in a piece of writing can convey a different meaning to the one that is intended. Like a family of punctuation marks, my family would not be the same without each and every one of them. We don’t always see eye to eye, but we are always there for each other. In their own special way, every person in my family has shaped me into the person I am today and the person I will become in my future.

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