In a frenzy, princess costumes and bedazzled shoes are tossed aside to be replaced with old clothes, socks and sneakers.
It is Sunday morning and a certain excitement fills the air.
After scrambling to get dressed, two little girls sit eagerly watching their Daddy’s every move as he prepares for their weekly adventure.
Slowly and steadily he gathers all of his bits together, a picnic blanket, morning tea which I have prepared, his chalk bag and climbing shoes.
When at last he pulls out the child carrier, 22-month-old Smiley cannot handle the anticipation any longer. She waves her little arms frantically above her head as she hops from one foot to the other making it look like she’s dancing a jig.
‘Backpack, backpack,’ she repeats with increasing urgency begging to be put in the carrier.
And with that, they head off on their adventure – the three of them, Dave and his two girls, for a morning of sunshine and fresh air.
This weekly tradition of theirs was born almost by accident earlier this year.
It stemmed from my request to have a couple of hours’ peace and quiet on a Sunday morning to focus on my writing.
Dave had happily agreed to take the girls out of the house as he had been craving some quality time with them anyway.
It was by chance that on their first outing he took them rock climbing, one of his favourite things to do, and they happened to love it.
Now every Sunday they head out to their special spot, play around on the rocks and come home dirty, sweaty and happy.
Last week I crashed their date to see what it is they actually get up to.
I witnessed our sometimes cautious four-year-old approach the cliff face with confidence while listening intently to her Daddy’s instructions.
I saw a determination on her face that I’d not seen before. She carefully considered every move she made as she challenged herself to climb higher and higher.
Meanwhile, little Smiley continued to dance her jig at the bottom of the cliffs chanting, ‘My turn, my turn,’ until Dave picked her up and placed her on top of a rock.
It was something special watching the three of them interact with each other, playing silly buggars, rough-housing and stepping out of their comfort zones, all the while building memories that they will carry in their hearts for a lifetime.
As we packed up and readied ourselves to leave, we spotted a young girl of about 10 who had climbed to the top of the cliffs.
‘That will be you one day,’ said Dave to Miss Four.
They looked at each other and beamed.
Do you have a family tradition in your household? Does your partner get to spend quality time with your kids?
Sharing this story today for My little sunshine house’s Sunshine Sunday. This week’s writing prompt – Father.