Kids: DO NOT try this at home.
For a while now my daughter has been asking me to take her to Legoland. Finally I relented and we went. Okay, yes it is pretty cool. Crowds aside we had an amazing time. What I didn’t expect was to be confronted with one of my deepest fears… all in the blink of an eye. As you probably read in my previous post. I don’t like snakes. I don’t like anything about snakes. Their scaly body, and creepy tongue completely freaks me out. I don’t like how they have incredible vision or that they can be lightening fast when they want to attack. I get the goosebumps just thinking about them.
As part of the Legoland package deal you can opt to have tickets to the aquarium and the park or just the park. My child and I love going to aquariums so we couldn’t resist seeing a new one, and headed there first. We rocked out in the jellyfish dubstep room (and no I’m not kidding). We laughed as she slid down a slide that was a giant whales tongue. And we marveled at the thousands of fish species that swam and darted in giant tanks. It was incredible. As we came to the giant shark tank my little one snuggled up to my hip. Even in a tank she knows that sharks are not to be underestimated. Perhaps she sensed my own fear? We moved along from that tank rather quickly. Then we went into the petting area….
Now I am all for hands-on exhibits. I think it can be an educational experience like no other. My daughter loved touching starfish and sea urchins. She was in pure awe as they fed a stingray right in front of her. There was even a giant stingray that was bigger then any I’ve ever seen and had disguised itself into the sand until she pointed it out. We both gasped, “Whoa!” and then laughed. It was the perfect day. But as we rounded the corner into the reptile exhibit my heart began to sink. Unlike me, my angel is not afraid of snakes. At. All. She thinks they are “so cool!” and are simply misunderstood. As her mother it makes me panic a bit but I applaud her empathy and enthusiasm to like different things.
Did you know that animals can be ambassadors? I didn’t. Apparently snakes can also be animal ambassadors. I’m not exactly sure why but as the friendly, reptile exhibit person asked my child if she wanted to touch a snake my mouth opened in shock and horror. “Yes!” she squealed excitedly and looked up at me. “Uh… no” I muttered softly and gently took her hand. The reptile employee then explained to me that these snakes were designed to cope and handle people being afraid. They are completely docile. “How docile is a snake?!” I wondered in my head and frowned. I was at a crossroads: Do we walk away and pretend this moment never happened? Or do I take the chance and touch a snake? “Okay… you can touch it. BUT I have to touch it first to make sure it is.. safe” I grumbled softly, and glanced down at my daughter who was beaming from ear to ear. She knew this was a big deal for me. My husband grabbed the camera and was ready for this photo op.
“Magic the snake” is an Anaconda by the way and a huge one at that. As she slithered towards the exit door I could see her mind going, “Oh my G-d… get me out of here… I just want a rat.. or something…”. Is that what snakes think about? I don’t know. All of a sudden the woman took my hand and said, “Here… touch her belly…”. Okay… so I touched her belly. Surprisingly she felt like velvet. I could feel the warmth and powerful muscles in the trunk of her body. It was crazy, and weird, and my heart was pounding a mile-a-minute. “Would you like to touch her head?” the woman asked. I looked at her like she had spoken another language. Come again?! Touch it’s head?!
“Do it, Mom!” my daughter cheered me on. not wanting to disappoint I slowly slid my hand beneath the snakes head. It’s tongue flicked over my palm for a moment and it rested there. My whole body shook as I stared at this beautiful creature. Wait… did I just call it beautiful? Yes. Yes I did. Despite it being huge, and scary, and powerful, and scaly…. it was beautiful. It was right then and there that I realized that snakes are just another one of G-ds creatures. This animal ambassador gave me the experience of getting up close and personal with a creature that I would otherwise run screaming from. It was able to look in its beady eyes and smile. My heart began to slow and I grew a fond appreciation, and I dare say respect for snakes.
While I am not going to touch a wild snake, ever, I will say that to conquer that fear was incredible. It made me sweat. It made me freeze. And it made me learn. I would encourage you all to do something daring, and brave today. Go conquer your own fears. It is absolutely worth it. Have a wonderful day everyone! ❤