I missed your High School Graduation at the end of 1996, the pitfalls of being in a different city is my only excuse.
You were well into your first year at University when we decided to use your spring break to take a trip along the Great Ocean Road to Adelaide.
I picked you up at the airport in the morning and we headed to Geelong, before tackling the scenic delights of the Road.
This would be our special Dad and Annie week. I had told everyone at the office they could only call me if the sky was falling in. I can’t recall ever having you to myself for this period of time and I wanted to cherish the opportunity.
We spent the afternoon wandering from the Twelve Apostles to The Lock and Gorge, then The Arch and London Bridge before catching the glorious sunset across the Bay of Islands.
We explored and laughed together, a father and daughter who had been through our tough times, simply enjoying being together on our own little adventure.
Our first night on the road was spent in a pretty dodgy motel in Warrnambool and, from memory, I think our first dinner was probably, takeaway chicken and chips.
Discovering the blue lagoon at Mt. Gambier and sampling the delights of the wonderful wine region of the Coonawarra was the agenda for day two, before we crashed into Adelaide and explored Rundle Street for dinner.
We spent a day in Adelaide, taking the tram out to Glenelg Beach, before we headed up to the Barossa and more wineries.
Your mum and I had spent our honeymoon in the Barossa and you and I retraced many of the paths we taken, so many years before.
Rolling hills, historic churches, gracious old wineries and lots of tasting rooms, interspersed with simple, little lunches and dinners; there are many worse ways to spend a couple of days.
Soon, it was time to head home and we scurried across to Mildura for our last night on the road, before tackling the long drive back to Melbourne and reality.
The last five days had been full of fun, closeness and the occasional argument but these did nothing to distract from the joy of spending this precious time with you.
You were to be in Melbourne for a couple of days at home with me before it was time for you to head home and Uni.
I still treasure the album of photos charting our trip, as well as a beautiful note to say thanks for this magical time, that you left me with.
Honesty and love had triumphed yet again.