As I mentioned in Swimming with the Gentle Giants, my experience swimming with the whale sharks was bittersweet. Bitter because it is quite unnatural for whale sharks to stay in one place since they are migratory animals, but sweet because it was truly a privilege to be in the water with them.
It was also sweet because I once again witnessed my 6-year-old daughter’s fearlessness and sense of adventure! Danae just amazed me. Just as Noelle was sure from the get-go that she would not be swimming with the sharks (she held on for dear life while on the small boat), Danae was sure that she would. She was nervous getting off the boat, but after a nudge from us, reassuring her that the boatman is there to assist her, she was actually the first in the water. She had a chance to say no and back out of the whole thing when she saw the huge fish, but she didn’t. She swam barely 3 meters away from the shark! There were a few times she sort of freaked out, but she was more confident than I was, swimming alone away from our boat!
While Noelle has always been the more cautious one, her courage rising more these days (but not that day with the whale sharks haha), Danae has always been the active, adventurous, and fearless one. As parents, we tend to be the first ones to be afraid for her, but when we are confident that she can do it, we really do give her the push that she needs. That’s all it usually takes. Not a whole lot of discussion, just a push. With Noelle, we know when not to push. With Danae, we know when to. Would you believe that she was willing to try the Skywalk? I wanted her to try it too but problem was, we were told that the harnesses were too big for her. She was bummed! Probably as bummed as I was when I found out that after 3 nights at Crown Regency, we wouldn’t be able to take advantage of the Skywalk. Like mother like daughter, I guess haha.
Danae can certainly be a handful, but she is just an amazing little girl. We hope that we will never be the ones to dampen her spirits or discourage her from being who she is meant to be. And we hope we will truly help build her character so she will be equipped in handling her own fearlessness.