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One More Month of Respite From City Life

I am taking a break from city life to enjoy a day of swimming and activities with my child at Winona Lakes pool. We have experienced trampolining, campfires, ziplining, canoeing, and gocart racing, and now I am reflecting on the gift of an extra day with my child and the importance of living, laughing, and loving. I am soon to move my belongings into public storage and drive back to Staten Island, so join me on this journey.

Reflecting on the Gift of Time with My Child at Winona Lakes Pool

By Michael Levin

Monday, May 30, 2022

I’m at the Winona Lakes pool on our second day of Memorial day swimming. What a gift this community has been over the past two years–a true cure for the cabin-fever of tiny NYC-apartment living. I am so grateful for the little rental cottage and that fateful drive out route 280 to route 80 into the Delaware Water Gap. I had no idea we would end up minutes from my childhood “secret” ski-mountain and am sad we won’t have another winter season here. I only got Adi out on the mountain ski-boarding once, but that’s okay.

Insert pool pic (very zoomed out)

It’s been nonstop trampolining, campfires, ziplining, canoeing, gocart racing and the like. I mean really, it was an experience of a lifetime… or maybe not. With year to year leases and the mobility of a homeschooler and telecommuter, you never know. Don’t rule anything out. For now, we can make the return to this area a special weekend activity we come out and do, scheduled lessons and all. I can help make snowboarding and whatever else stick.

Insert picture of the yard

Posting and sharing this idyllic existence while I’m enjoying it really isn’t in my nature. Call it superstition, but is there not an evil eye jealously looking down on us punishing us when things look too good? There is, I tell you. There is! But I’m not superstitious, but spit, spit. Maybe it’s for the best that circumstances being what they are conspired to compel me back to the land of pretentious faux Greek columns and Manhattan-hating New York locals. The rule is grin and bear it… as opposed to my current existence which is more like grin at bears watching them knock over the trash cans.

Insert picture of bear

I signed a lease last Friday on a nice 3-bedroom around the corner from one of the great “Green Belt” parks of Staten Island. On the whole, the parks are much nicer than the people in my estimation. Staten Island is most decidedly not my vibe, but my child is having a difficult time, and I’ve received my last crying phone-call that I couldn’t do anything about but remote-time. No, now it’s time to be there and face the issues driving them to dark places in their mind. I start by making sure they are involved in the selection and “Yes, this is where we’re going to live approval process. So much of this kind of mental state is from lack-of-say over one’s own life.

Insert YouTube here

Saturday was rainy, so Sunday was our first day here at the pool. I am grateful that I did not have to return Adi last night for the Memorial Day parade that her mother told me they had to be back for on Monday. I got a text mid-day yesterday saying they weren’t attending the parade, and so Adi had the opportunity to stay. Adi is instantly hitting it off with the local kids as they always do, and I’m sitting here typing as I hear shouts of Marco Polo and the giggles of a good time. Adi loves using “My Dad told me to socialize” as an easy way to introduce themselves to new kids. There’s an exchange of names, and bammo whammo let the good times role. I am so proud of their socialization skills.

Maybe Another Pool Pic

Of course it’s the pride of a parent talking, but in addition to that deep comfort level in the water, easy socializing, the kid is also a natural mimic. Adi does their spot-on Mickey Mouse impression and I say I wish I could do a Fry impression as I’m wearing my Planet Express T-Shirt today in anticipation of the upcoming 1.5-hour drive. Without missing a beat, the kid busts out a perfect “Shut up and take my money”. I am both floored and proud beyond measure. My movie-quoting bantering roommates of yore would have laughed their asses off as I called their nonsense prattle as they called it banter. It seems I can’t escape Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra. Sighhh. When the walls fell.

Well the walls are not falling anymore. This dumb delivery boy is at ease with his holophoner without a single smart-worm up my butt. I’ll have a bunch of trips back and forth as I move most things into cheap public storage here PA-side, like the canoe and the bicycles. Yes, the 2 Mongooses and the Schwinn are a problem, living up a flight of stairs as we do. But maybe not. Maybe I just carry them up and down the stairs. There’s the electric bike too which maybe I’ll be able to keep folded at the bottom of the flight of stairs. But these are the little bits of ironing out of details. They’re the small details, nuance and subtlety that don’t really matter. Nothing involving matter really matters much.

The matter that matters is the matter that lives. Live, laugh, love. If the matter can do any of those things, it matters more than any other matter. Pets and other living things come in a very close second. Hand-crafted or nature-made irreplaceables come in very distant third. There’s nothing so irreplaceable that it should put much of a dent on your spirits if lost. What, are you going to take it to the afterlife? Nope! In fact, the only thing that might even go with you to the afterlife is the information that permeates your awareness and being; your experiences.

Okay, wrap this one one, but definitely capture more mental snapshots and vignettes of your life. You’re wrapping up a time here at a place you’ll have lived at for 2 years by the time it’s done. There’s been so many places over the years, but this one was different because it as during the first few years of the pandemic and it was during Adi’s 10 to 11 years-old times when there’s so much important stuff going on in the brain. Adi deserves to see Dad working at his best. I may not have a lot of money to work with, but I have a lot of brains and heart, and they saw them in action.

Fast-forward to about 8:00 PM. Have to start the drive back to Staten Island. It was a gift to have Adi this “extra” day of the Memorial Day holiday. I’m starting to think that the cutting-short of time may be deliberate and my diligent documenting of it may be paying off. We just watched Mean Girls with Adi. It’s feeling like the highlights of my life, the simple pleasures of watching a movie with and connecting with my kid.