By Phyllis J. Lubin
We are back: Back to seeing the sun shining on the horizon; to navigating around the bikers and runners; to feeling the ocean breeze while getting some morning exercise. What better way to spend a few moments before camp begins? We have been away awhile. It’s a surreal feeling. It’s the same thing yet different. The Long Beach boardwalk—the part that is complete—is bursting with life again!
I remember the awful feelings we had when we returned to this town post-Sandy: desolation, isolation, and depression. Even our happy Long Beach memories seemed to be squashed by the heavy waves and wind that ravaged the South Shore of Long Island.
This morning I was able to see my past summers through the lens of a new boardwalk. It’s fresh, clean, and invigorating. As my kids frolicked in the brand-new playground on Magnolia Boulevard, I was brought back through time. The year is 2002. The time is 8:30 Thursday morning, and I am seeing my eldest daughter and Yussie’s early-intervention physical therapist, Kathy, working with him on the jungle gym to improve his strength.
He was not yet walking at that point, but Kathy had him climbing the ladders and manipulating the other obstacles that came before him. That summer, since I was working on the Avnet waterfront, we transported one of Yussie’s PT sessions directly to Long Beach.
After the PT session, we would attend camp, where my eldest daughter kept him entertained for the morning, until 11:30, when the ACDS (Association for Children with Down Syndrome) bus would pick him up for “school” in Plainview.
As my mind wandered while basking in the morning sun, I could still picture that original playground and hear Kathy’s kind words of encouragement: “Don’t worry, Phyllis. He might not walk now, but soon he will run!”
Yesterday, Yussie returned from his month at Mesorah, where he actively participated in all the sports. He played hockey, basketball, and baseball. He not only walks now, but now runs faster than me. (OK, that’s not saying that much, but he is extremely energetic!) Believe it or not, after only one night home, we packed him up last night and sent him off to Club Getaway early this morning with Avnet Woodmere. He will be back tomorrow, building up to this Shabbos, when he will be the star at the Chabad of the Five Towns. This week is his bar mitzvah Shabbos, and he has been practicing for his moment in the spotlight all year. This past Monday morning, his actual Hebrew birthday, Yussie had his first official aliyah during morning minyan at Mesorah!
And so time marches on—just last week was Crazy Hat Day at Avnet Country Day. As I watched the kids marching around the gym in their adorable creations, tears came to my eyes. . . . My children are no longer babies. My children are practically all grown up! Lea is in the oldest division at camp this summer—she began her career in camp “in utero”! Where has the time gone?
Time seems to be rushing by at mega-speed. How do I make it slow down? Every day is precious, and yet how often do we forget that? How often do we not appreciate what we have right before our eyes?
We need to take a trip to the boardwalk every once in a while to remind ourselves how important it is to appreciate every idyllic moment life has to offer us. v
Phyllis Joy Lubin is an attorney with Maidenbaum & Sternberg, LLP, who resides in Cedarhurst with her husband, Leonard. They have six children: Naftali, Shoshana, Rivka, Rochel, Yosef, and Lea and a daughter-in-law, Nina. The author welcomes your questions and comments at MothersMusings@gmail.com.