Mother - QuickBy Phyllis J. Lubin

“One more Shabbos, Rochel!” Yussie advised his big sister this morning.

“No, Yuss. We discussed this five weeks ago. I explained that I would be home for five Shabbosos, and we just celebrated the fifth one. It’s time for me to go back to school,” Rochel tried to explain.

“That was quick!” Yussie responded sadly.

It was quick. It seems like Rochel just came home from winter break and she is already returning. Just when I got used to having her home, it’s time to say goodbye again. I keep telling myself that Albany is not so far away, and we FaceTime quite often. But it’s different knowing she is physically down the hallway, asleep in her top bunk, as opposed to knowing she’s back at school, only accessible by phone.

This year has been rambling by so quickly. Reading the Five Towns Jewish Times, we already see the pages filled with ads for Pesach. How can we be discussing Pesach when Chanukah just ended?

Rochel made it back from school for the last night of Chanukah, and we will probably not see her again until Pesach (or perhaps a few weeks prior during her spring break).

Yeshiva break is upon us already–which means we are at the halfway mark for this school year already.

I remember that we were just at Yussie’s open-school night in September and we were discussing his first year in high school. I recall one of the teachers remarking that they would be going on a big skiing trip in January. At the time, it seemed so far in the distant future. As all things go, the future comes quicker than we think.

Last Thursday, Yussie went skiing with his class. We got him to school super early in the morning, clad in his layers of warm clothes, and prayed that the ski instructor would have success with him. I reminded the teachers to impart to the ski instructor that as long as he is not told that something is “scary,” he will probably try it out.

I remember my first–and only–attempt at skiing. I was in high school, and my folks took my brother and me skiing at the Concord Hotel. My brother (a few years younger than me) took to the slopes immediately, but I never even made it down the “bunny hill.” I took the beginner’s class, but never mastered the most elementary skill of getting up from a fallen position. That did not prompt me to want to try anything more daring.

I also took the kids skiing once at Shawnee Mountain, on a trip returning my eldest daughter back to Binghamton University, and I was happy enough being an observer rather than a participant. Yussie, Lea, and I stayed in the warm lodge in the Poconos somewhere while my eldest daughter, Rivka, and Rochel took to the slopes.

And now it was Yussie’s turn to try out the experience. I was fearful for him being out there without me, but knowing that he would have his own personal ski instructor on the trip was reassuring. Frankly, he was better off without his nervous mother on this voyage. I am not what one would call a calm “playground mother.” I’m one of those mothers that hover and say things like “be careful” or “don’t go so high.” Not the advice one needs on the ski slopes.

Apparently, Yosef Binyamin took to the snow almost immediately, and the instructor said he was a pleasure to work with.

Coincidentally, as I am writing this column, my daughter Rochel texted me that she just passed Windham Mountain Resort on her way back to school. That is where Yussie went skiing, and Rochel went there on a Chabad of Albany school retreat last semester.

Since she just passed Windham, it means that her trip to school is almost over. As Yussie likes to say, “That was quick!”

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


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