One sport I can rely on nowadays is swimming. It is not only a good form of exercise, but it is truly enjoyed by the whole family. What more, unlike tennis or badminton, you don't really need a partner for this sport.
I only learnt to swim properly when I was pregnant with my forth child. Mr D had learnt to swim much earlier. We also sent our twins for classes and finished them off at the advanced level. We were keen to send them for talent classes and coach them for competitions but the classes were too demanding on us - 2 hours on Saturdays and Sundays. It would mean such a commitment and restriction on our weekend activities. Furthermore, Twin H felt a little uneasy going for competitions. So, we have since frequented the pools as much as we could that we're almost labelled the water-lovers. Yeah, there was the snorkelling trip in Phuket and numerous beach trips all along the Malaysian coasts. Not forgetting, we even swam in the cold Mediterranean sea in Alexandria (in March) when no one else dared.
As both my husband and I love travelling, naturally, we have made trips to Taman Negara. The first time we went, Little D (my youngest) was still a toddler. It was a horrible experience going on the Canopy Walk with a toddler like such! Just imagine, ropes tied across trees resembling a tight rope, up high on the canopy. If you're afraid of heights, forget it! If you're not, you might as well be! Not forgetting, the jungle trekking was made rather strenuous with a baby to carry when he was tired. We had our maid along at that time but it would be unfair for her to carry the Little D all the time. So, we shared the responsibility and it was a load one can never forget!
I vowed that our next visit had to be at least 4 years after so that all the kids were big and old enough for such an expedition. However, we went back about a year later. We skipped the Canopy Walk this time. Furthermore, this time we were more familiar with the sites and opted for a swim at the river. The journey trekking down the river was a bit too tiring for Little D that he fell asleep in my arms. Trust him to do such thing! When we reached the site, MrD volunteered to look after Little D while I plunged into the cold water with the kids. The water was cold. My heroes were not too adventurous and stayed close to the bank. I held my Princess and we played in the water. I called to my boys and moved a little bit further. Suddenly, I lost my footing and fell into a deep pit or abyss. That was how it felt like - an abyss! Obviously, I panicked. I was falling in the water and it was dark all around. My Princess was in my hands. I lifted her up for air and tried to tread in the water. All my swimming lessons were gone in a flash. I couldn't swim with a child in my hands and I couldn't let her go. I somehow couldn't seem to tread in the water! All I could think of at that time was to swim and save my daughter. O Allah, I had to make sure she lived. I can't let her die with me, Allah. Let her have some air. I recalled what my husband used to say, "don't panic. When you panic, you lose a lot of energy and that's what drowns a person." There I was, trying to be as calm as possible, but nothing worked. My treading was not keeping us up. I pushed all my might up to the surface and tried to signal a wave. Then, there was darkness. Pitch darkness. Gravity was pulling me down and we had lost our energy.
Suddenly, someone grabbed me and brought me ashore. I held on to the person until I felt the land under my feet. A young Chinese couple nearby had helped us.
I trembled and shivered. I cried and wept. I performed my Sujud Syukur as we got back to our chalet. The experience was very bitter and scary for me. I was almost gone and I don't know how things would turn out today if it were my last day.