To a father growing old nothing is dearer than a daughter.Once a year, Jemimah and her Daddy spend ten days together skiing at Falls Creek. It is the highlight of their year. They plan every second, rehash every situation. I know exactly what they do there because I have been told so many times and in such agonising detail. I know the cereals on the breakfast buffet; the routine in the spa; the way to mount the poma. I know because I am told. Over and over and over again. I am told because this time with her Daddy is special to my daughter. Really, really, really special.
It is one way that Jemimah knows that her Daddy enjoys her company. He likes spending time with her. He thinks she is special. During this time Jemimah feels really loved.
It is easy for me as a homeschooling mum to spend lots and lots of quality one-on-one time with my daughter. It's not all school either. We cook together, we garden together, we read together. Often we organise special events - a film night or a shopping trip or lunch at a favourite restaurant. These occasions contribute to our close and loving relationship, and I feel that we are truly blessed.
It's much harder for Dads. Daddy works incredibly long hours outside our peaceful home. Many days he leaves before Jemimah awakes and gets home just in time to eat a quick dinner and tuck her in to bed. It is easy for a father-daughter relationship to take second place behind the demands of a busy work life, and yet all kids need to spend time with Daddy.
Quality one on one time with Daddy is especially important for young girls. They need the guidance and counselling and wisdom that only a father can impart. They need encouragement and positive words. They need time to talk. They need to feel important and valued and to know how much Daddy loves them. Mostly though, and more important than all these psychological reasons, they need to create a relationship with Daddy that will last until they are grown. They need to be friends and to have fun. They need to know that their Daddy cares.
When Jemimah was younger we used to try scheduling time in the diary. I know that sounds bad - imagine programming time for your kids - but the fact is, if an appointment is not on the calendar, then chances are something more important will take its place. It's called good time management. Trouble was, for us it didn't work. It just seemed contrived somehow - artificial and false. We only tried a few times.
For us the key discovering shared interests. Skiing was one. The ski trip, as I have said, is really special, but it is only ten days a year. There needed to be more than that.
For Jemimah and her father the shared interest is bike riding. They love it.
The biked together this Saturday to Mt Doboobetic Reserve. The packed a picnic lunch of sandwiches, biscuits, fruit and chocolate. I'd love to say that they had lashings of ginger beer like the Famous Five, but alas water will need to suffice for reasons of realism. Other than that it was a pretty perfect picnic. They even had a picnic rug and a blue and white checkered cloth. What they didn't pack was a camera. Strange how recording every moment of our life in case I need it for my blog is less important to hubby than to me. Nevertheless, he did record the day on his mobile phone, and I present his pictures for your enjoyment:
A big Australian sky.
Picnic lunch and a well earned rest stop.
I wonder what they talked about up there on that mountain top, what secrets they shared. Did they joke about or did they discuss serious things? Did they laugh?
I may never know. It was not my time. It was theirs - my daughter and her father. It was time that they devoted to creating a relationship with each other - to growing trust - and to being happy. Together.
I do know one thing though. When Jemimah looks back on her childhood and thinks of that day on the mountain top with Daddy, she won't wonder whether she was important to him. She won't wonder whether he cared.
I like that.