The Raven Lunatic

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Bernadine Spitzsnogel

Bernadine Spitzsnogel
Birthday
December 01
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All material on "The Raven Lunatic" blog is copyrighted by the author. Author of "The Luxury of Daydreams"--available on amazon and all major book sites.

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Salon.com
NOVEMBER 28, 2010 7:00PM

The Empty Nest: Parallel Perspectives

Rate: 28 Flag

Joan H. and Bernadine Spitzsnogel joined forces to write about the drop-in visits of their children. 

Bernadine:  Two university students who don’t know each other may pass at the airport on every major holiday.  And their mamas worry about them, even though these two fine people are mostly grown-up.  They are both only children, long-awaited and, oh, so loved. 

She is a lithe, silky-skinned beauty with a killer smile who grew up in an East Coast city and studies journalism in the Midwest.  

He is a bearded, bespectacled studious young man with a killer smile who grew up in a Midwestern city and studies political science on the East Coast.   

These two strangers may have unknowingly passed each other Sunday at Reagan National Airport when returning to school.  

Joan H: My daughter arrived on Thanksgiving Day just in time to have some dinner at home before dinner at her cousins'. She looks happy and loaded down with a backpack and carry-on. She has packed books because finals are coming up.

She has also packed um, summer clothes.  

"I am freezing out there,” she tells me. "I'm going to need some winter clothes."  

Instead of avoiding the malls this weekend I was in the middle of them. First for a pair of boots. Adorable, but definitely NOT on sale.  

Next stop, "Forever 21." A store where if anyone over 21 tries to shop there, they should be carded at the door. It is chock full of schlock which appeals to teenage girls nationwide.

We left with two bags full of sweaters and pants for the girl who should have applied to schools in Southern California... 

Bernadine:   My son flew Wednesday on the busiest travel day of the year.  He survived his TSA scan and arrived home on time.   As he came through the security gates, he looked and carried himself just like his father.  And that smile, it melts my heart every time. 

My son’s trips home are changing now that he is more than halfway through college.  Friends are scattered, married and living away, in the service, on engineering co-ops.  On this short visit, he is satisfied to spend time with the Old Folks and the Older Folks.  With one notable exception: the constant conversations with a new special someone back at college.  Thank God for IM, texting, Skype, e-mail, and that old-fashioned means of courtship: the telephone. 

We didn’t do any shopping, except for a quick trip to Borders so he could buy his girlfriend “It’s a Wonderful Life” for Christmas.   

I asked him about his ragged jeans.  “Do you want some new jeans?” I offered.  

“What for?  These are fine.” 

Joan H:   Watching my daughter with her cousins at Thanksgiving was so gratifying. The girls, all three of them and their brother welcome her as a long lost sister. It warms my heart. It is also very funny to listen to. 

We are the non-drinkers of the family, yet we bring some kind of beer we hear is the hip beer to drink these days.

My daughter tells me she sees her aunt hides it in the closet. We laugh hysterically.  

"Don't you just love our family,?" my daughter says to me later without a trace of humor.  

She appreciates and embraces the family filled with so much quirky goodness. 

Bernadine:  My son laughed like a ninny when playing euchre with his uncle, cousin, and grandpa, and enjoyed yelling at the television with his Dad when the Pacers played. 

He even indulged his grandfather in several picture-taking sessions for the grandparent’s Christmas card.  And he did not make a face and ruin the first session as his same-age cousin did.  (Yes, boys will be boys, even at twenty.)  

Saturday night he checked into his flight online, went to bed early, and consulted us about the early trip to the airport. 

This morning we left the house at five-thirty, carefully watching for deer like the multi-point buck we saw in the backyard on Thanksgiving morning, and drove the quiet trip to the airport.  After hugs, he was off, in his overstuffed blue parka, back to his own life.


Joan H:   I didn't stay up to watch "The Soup" with her Friday night although I could feel her poking me with her finger. "Mom, c'mon, it's on."  

I didn't go to Black Friday at the mall when it opened at midnight. By ten-thirty I was barely able to move.

"Oh Mom, just another hour and and a half to go!"  

I definitely do not have her energy.  

I did however, have the best talk about religion, spirituality, atheism and the meaning of life I've ever had with anyone.  

We shopped, we discussed the Existence of God, and we ended our time together over plates of chicken and waffles.  

It was hard for me to say good-bye.

But there she was. New boots off, skipping through security, not even looking back.  I know that's a good sign. 

As these two strangers cross the country in opposite directions, both leave a nest nurtured with hope and love. And a bathroom littered with dirty towels, and an unmade bed.

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Comments

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This is a new OS concept, the Simul-Post. I have had SO MUCH FUN with Joanie this afternoon as we celebrated our children. Dedicated to all you empty nesters out there!
I enjoyed this so much I think it is the most perfect combination of families I have ever read. You two rock!
This is great! R and great new idea!
This is so very special! Two ladies I love and respect joining forces...And producing such wonderful kids. Thank you ladies, for this terrific parallel story.
I must have been there!!! my house was full, then lonely, then grateful!!!!
This was great and so much fun to read! Sounds like wonderful holidays were had by all.
- a wonderful collaboration! Believe me, it is always difficult to leave again.
Stories of grown up kids coming home make me weep. We love seeing who they are becoming, but we miss our babies.
What a wonderful duo of stories and memories. I like the two person blog. Double the emotions. Wow Kids really bring them out. Thank you so much for sharing your journeys.
This was so great... Hope it gets to be an EP.
I left my money in Forever 21 the other day..Not for me..:)
rated with hugs
Bittersweet and precious. Great job, Bernadine and Joan!
Love the idea, and loved this post. I'm glad you both had a great time with the college kids.

Lezlie
Soooo familiar! I waved my daughter off to the sales on Thursday night, too tired to go with. But....wait....Wee Spitznogel has a girlfriend? Why haven't we heard about that?
@Bell, He will probably kill me just for mentioning it, so I can't say anymore. :)
Hopefully he's too busy to read.
This is such a wonderful "simul-post"! Great idea and a great subject. It's fun and moving to see you guys' takes on having your kids home for Thanksgiving. Only thing I have to complain about is that Joan didn't stay up to watch "The Soup", one of the most important shows on TV! R!
I am offering the same comment because I'm too choked up to think of another that says what I feel:

Oh you made me cry and laugh and sigh with so many memories, all just beautifully and eloquently expressed. Again, my refrain: "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion."

And what a GREAT idea!
Bernadine and Joan, this was a fabulous idea and a wonderfully sensitive, funny and poignant collaboration. I so enjoyed it! R
y'all are great! i love this concept. my company has gone, and the kitchen is clean. Give me a day or two to finish the laundry and maybe all the leftovers.
Bea - You and Joan have out-done yourselves with this lovely simul-post. Thank you both for allowing us to join in the celebration of your children.
Rated with love.
xoxo
I don't know how a "simul-post" works or what it is, but it is it's very nice. How wonderful it must have been to have your son and daughter home for the holidays, as brief as it was. Cherish the memories. R
Double rated ! Great Bea and Joanie, enjoyed!
Where is the double rated box? Cheers to you both!
How fun this is a wonderful collaboration.
rated with love
Blended so well! What a great tale of two students with great families, great moms : )
This is excellent! Thanks so much for writing this. What a great collaboration.
Kudos to you both. Nothing like parental love.
What a neat idea and you had such fun with it..ur write was like being along for a great ride! TX for this!
This made me want to cry. My son is at Basic Training at Lackland AFB and can't even make phone calls out. Lucky, lucky both of you!
Nice stories. Hope I handle the empty nest with such grace and love when my turn comes.
OMG, I am in this club now. It is something else. Well done work here. Throughly enjoyed it...
Our older son has been leaving after Thanksgiving for seven years now. It's always more fun when he arrives. (Less rushing for one thing--though no matter how much we rush on departure day, we always have to wait at the train station for the delayed Amtrak.) One difference this year: he didn't fight so much over the food he was sent back with.

Delightful idea from the two of you. Glad for you, Bea, that your son was compliant.