By Phyllis J. Lubin
It’s hot outside! It’s so hot that we are hearing the weathermen warning us all of the high heat indexes that will top the 100° mark this week.
As I relax in my air-conditioned room, whiling away the last couple of hours of the fast, I can’t help but to muse a bit while I look forward to my day tomorrow at the waterfront of Avnet Country Day.
I have the best possible job in this type of weather. It’s never oppressively hot at Avnet, since we delight in the ocean breezes of Long Beach, and the summer sun makes the pools that much more refreshing.
This is my 18th summer at Avnet Country Day and I have truly enjoyed every minute of it. This summer I have an amazing staff which includes my three eldest daughters. My daughter Rivka joined the ranks of lifeguard-hood a few short years ago when she was 15 (she just celebrated her 20th birthday last week—happy birthday, Rivka!), and Rochel followed suit (in her own bathing suit, that is) a couple of years later. After seeing how much Rivka and Rochel enjoyed the job, my eldest daughter joined us at the waterfront last summer as well!
There is something to be said for working with your children on a daily basis. I get to witness their amazing teaching skills firsthand, and I’m able to shep nachas constantly. I happen to think we make a great team!
As the summer is swimming by so swiftly I wish I could trap these moments with my daughters in a bottle. I know the reality is that eventually they will grow up, start families of their own, and move on from these dog days of summer. But these brief moments of this amazing mother–daughter time will be forever treasured.
I can still remember that when I was going into fourth grade, my mom taught me how to swim at the North Woodmere swimming pool. I was one of those learners that took a while to get over my water fears. But now you can’t keep me away from the pool or from extolling the virtues of the water.
The Gemara teaches us that it’s actually a parent’s obligation to teach their child to swim. It’s a matter of survival, but I think it is more than that. I think swimming is more of a metaphor for life. Hashem teaches us a proper way to live on His earth. Part of knowing the proper paths of life is to understand that sometimes we need to know how to hold our breath and take the leap into the water! We must dive into life with our eyes wide open (whether we have goggles on or not), and enjoy what life has to offer us (within reason). While at the same time, we need to learn how to ride the waves when obstacles are in our way (be they of a health, personal, or financial nature).
And so as another fast of Tishah B’Av comes to a close, I pray that we all learn the proper way to swim through life: a little courage to take the leap, while having the restraint not to get in over our heads if we don’t know how to swim!
Here’s to enjoying the summer sun while keeping cool at the same time! 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.