By Phyllis J. Lubin
Super Bowl Sunday has begun, in recent years, to mean a lot to me. The first Sunday afternoon of every February, my husband and kids crowd around the television to watch grown men play with a football. But I digress, for that is not the reason this day has special meaning to me.
The air is usually cold. Oftentimes there is even snow on the ground. And yet this day, for the past five years, has brought me to the beach!
The beach is a very calming place. The waves tend to calm me (even when they are turbulent). No matter how crowded it is, looking out towards the horizon tends to give me a quieter perspective on life.
Other than in the summertime, I do not often come to the water’s edge. Yet in the past few months since Sandy I have found myself revisiting it more times than usual for this time of year. Curiosity, perhaps, has brought me back to the area to check on Sandy’s aftermath, while at the same time a need to make sure that at least the ocean is still here. This day, however, I have come for a loftier purpose.
I received the following text early Sunday morning from my eldest daughter, “I don’t think I really wanna take my shoes off in the snow today . . .”
How could this be? I was surely going to attend, but I was counting on a partner this year. Last year I went alone: husband was at work, Yussie and Lea were at Sunday Circle with Rochel joining as a volunteer, and both Rivka and my eldest daughter were away at school. In fact, my eldest daughter has not had an opportunity to join me at the water’s edge since she was a senior in high school.
Five years ago I spent my first Super Bowl Sunday frolicking in the sand. That particular Sunday I was joined by my mom, Yussie, Rochel, Lea, and my eldest daughter. We came to Long Beach not to bathe in the sun, but rather to support a very worthwhile cause: The Make-A-Wish Foundation!
Last year was my only solo experience. It was invigorating, but it is always better with a partner. Rochel is usually my company—to witness and often join in my Polar Bear craziness—but last year she had a responsibility to the children at Chabad, and this year she has committed her Sunday afternoons at the CLASP program at the JCC in Oceanside (also assisting children with special needs).
It is true that there was snow on the ground this past Sunday, but what’s a little snow? There have been colder years, and I just needed her presence.
With a little cajoling, my eldest daughter decided to join me. After dropping off Yussie at Chabad for the monthly Sunday Circle, and Lea off at her friend to work on a Chumash project, we were off to Oceanside to drop off Rochel, and then made our way to Long Beach.
Actually, since the year 2000, thousands have taken the plunge to honor the memory of Paulie Bradley, a young boy of four who passed away before seeing his life’s wishes come true, while benefiting the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help children with life-threatening diseases make at least one their dreams become a reality.
One of Yussie’s first physical therapists, Kathy Dillon, made me aware of this special day in 2008, and I’ve been hooked ever since!
As we approached the location of this year’s Polar Bear Plunge (a few short blocks away from the usual spot), we spotted many wearing this year’s sweatshirts. A fitting slogan appears on the Polar Bear Plungers’ sweatshirts this year, “Polar Bears: Bruised but not broken.” Entering the beach this year was quite different from years past. Something very special is missing: the boardwalk!
But the inner spirit is still alive in these souls that were ravaged by the storm’s heavy winds. They still came out on this blustery winter day to frolic in the waves and support this most worthy cause!
Following my brief foray into the ocean (after all, the water is awfully cold), we trooped back to the car and made our way back to Steinberg’s Bakery in Oceanside for some traditional tasty Super Bowl sustenance (only place I know that still sells Oceanside Knishes), and then to meet up with Rochel following her time at the Oceanside JCC.
The day concluded with some of my children, family friend Shana, and my husband crowding around the television watching grown men play football, while enjoying our Seasons’ heros and Steinberg’s knishes. There is a smile on my face as I remember my winter trip to the beach! v
Phyllis Joy Lubin is an attorney with Rosenfeld & Maidenbaum, LLP, who resides in Cedarhurst with her husband, Leonard. They have six children: Naftali, Shoshana, Rivka, Rochel, Yosef, and Lea and now a daughter-in-law, Nina. The author welcomes your questions and comments at MothersMusings@gmail.com.