Saying Goodbye-ish is such a Sweet Sorrow

Mother and teenage daughter

Drove Kate down to American University over the weekend.

She’s come a long way. Very happy, or so it appears and ready for college.

For my wife, Kate leaving the nest is a cause for depression — and I hadn’t thought about it this way. Eighteen years is a long time to bring up a child before sending the child off into the American Pastoral, as Philip Roth likes to call it. In a more personal note, those 18 years of the mother’s life are irretrievably gone, as all the years of all our lives are ultimately irretrievably gone.

Do we all get another 18 years?

We all hope so.

I am a bit more thoughtful about it without the depression.

What a wonderful right of passage to take part in.

I went 50 years ago this week. Travelled the same roads, literally, down to DC (but my parents didn’t come) and set myself up and got on with the next chapter of my life.

Dropping Kate off 50 years later where I set up shop as a young man, one sees with a critical eye, the continuity of the American Empire.

The bridges and roads I travelled over down to Washington were a half century old when I made the trip.

These are the same roads and bridges (the twin Delaware bridges, the George Washington), just bit more cluttered with traffic and the bridges more afflicted with deepening pockets of rust and newer thick wires attempting to hold them up.

In DC, the center of the American Empire, there is great prosperity and wealth everywhere. Much more of it than when I was there and there was a ton of it there when I went to school.

Again, there is great continuity to life in America… if you are white and upper middle class and Jewish.

I took one moment’s pride in being able to pay for Kate’s university.

Then I slipped back into being Josh Resnek — enjoying being in DC, delighting in the smell, the look and the feel of moving around there where I spent so much time thinking government was important during my youth.

Then we hugged Kate — my wife cried — and we were gone.

Now begins (ostensibly) the best years of her life.

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