For his tenth birthday Brodie met a long held ambition to swim with sharks.
He’s been utterly fascinated with sea creatures since the Octonauts days. I know a lot about horseshoe crabs and angler fish thanks to him. And whilst other interests have come and gone the shark thing remains.
So we booked the experience and we all looked forward to it. Greig went with him for his safety lesson and to get ready to go into the water and I stayed with Grier and Bax so we could be his supporters from the observation tunnel. I could see he was nervous and excited in equal measure.
And then he appeared on the platform in his yellow dry suit. He’s second from the right - you’ll have to take my word for it as the four kids who did it together all looked the same. I knew he could see us and he did the ‘ok’ sign to Greig and I could feel how thrilled he was to actually be under the sea (almost).
He looked tiny. And then the member of staff let us know that the tunnel we were in has a demagnifying effect which means he looked 30% smaller than he really is, which also meant the sharks casually swimming past the viewing platform Brodie was on are 30% larger in reality.
The twenty minutes he was under the water for flew by and soon he disappeared from view and we made our way up to collect him. He was giddy, and freezing and bright eyed. He said straight away that he had been nervous and frightened but he loved it and was glad he did it. And I’m so proud that he did the hard thing because he had an inkling it would feel great to do so. Because courage is not the absence of fear but the will to do the hard thing regardless.
So whilst my underwater photography could be better I have these photos so Brodie can see what he did. He was excited to experience something new. He did it and now he moves on with that feeling in his pocket. He shared it all with us, without putting on a brave face. He owned his feelings. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could do that too. Feel the feelings without being overwhelmed by them.