When Life Goes Splat on the Windshield

Have you ever noticed how cyclical life is?  Everything is going fine.  Then everything is going great.  Then everything is in the crapper.  I suppose it all evens out in the end.  Sometimes when everything is great, it's hard to imagine it won't always be.  Sometimes when life is shitty, it's hard to remember things will get better.

When you have a family you have moments where so much is going wrong for one or more of your family members at the same time it's almost comical.  

A boss of mine once told me a story about his entire family puking 24/7 with the flu.  He had four kids so, along with his wife, that made six people barfing in one house at one time.  They only had two bathrooms in their home.  He lived in a cold climate and he told me he went outside one night to escape the smell of vomit.  He said he stood outside in the snow in freezing temperatures just so he could puke in fresh air away from everyone else.

I don't know why, maybe it was how he told it, but I laughed my ass off at his story.

At that particular moment, he must have wondered how much worse life could get.

Every year, at the beginning of spring, there is a huge butterfly migration through Orange County.  Last Friday I got my car washed.  Saturday I spent a good part of the day at Steed Park in San Clemente watching PR play in a baseball tournament.  It was a beautiful 80F (26.7C) day. Driving home PR and I watched in horror and disgust as butterfly after butterfly went splat! splat! splat! against my windshield.

As one particularly large butterfly made a horrific three inch yellow smear on the windshield PR shuddered in disgust.  When I got home I looked at my now yellow smeared windshield and thought about all those butterflies I slaughtered by driving home.

Then I thought, "Isn't that just how life goes sometimes?  You're flying along all happy and joyful and then life goes splat!"

I'm such a deep thinker.

Aren't you impressed?

It's because I knew what I was coming home to.  

TR was in our family room, teary-eyed and melancholy.  She had a box of tissues at her side.  She'd just seen her boyfriend off at the airport and her heart was breaking.  RC was the sickest I've ever seen him. He was laying feverish, despondent, with swollen glands, and unable to swallow on the couch in our living room.  (He still is.)

RC looked at me hopefully as I walked in with the mail.  I handed him an envelope.  He opened it and handed it back to me.  As if the kid wasn't feeling bad enough already from his illness, it was a rejection letter from his top pick of colleges.

My heart broke for him right then.

It's a mother thing.  It wouldn't have been so bad if he was healthy and himself. Instead, it was a swift kick to the groin when he was already down.  Painful.  

Very, very painful.

I gave TR a one-armed hug (that's what I do since my accident) so she would know I understand heartbreak.  Because folks?  I do understand heartbreak.  I got some Advil for RC and took him a glass of ice water.  I tried to come up with motherly things to say.

"You'll end up where you're supposed to be," I said.

He didn't respond.

"Things happen for a reason," I added.

His answer?

"What more could I have done?"

The kid worked his butt off, took, and excelled, in every honors class, has an exceptionally high GPA and test scores.  It wasn't enough for his dream school.  Never mind he's been accepted to nine other colleges so far, several of them offering him scholarships.  The school he dreamt of, the school he worked his ass off for, rejected him. 

He'll be fine.  It's one of life's disappointments and we all go have to go through things like that.  It's just too bad his came on a day when he had a 103 fever and felt like shit.

I walked out of the room for a few minutes.

When I walked back in I couldn't believe what I was seeing.  TR had joined her sick brother.  She'd gone to him, sat down next to his feverish body on the couch, wrapped her arms around his neck in a huge hug to comfort him. Then she began bawling.  RC gripped her in a bear hug and his eyes welled up too.  Seeing them together like that, brother and sister, comforting each other when they were both feeling so down tugged at my heart strings.

That's when it hit me.  Long after Briefcase and I have gone to The Big Beach In The Sky, they will have each other.  

And you know what?  That's a very good thing.

©  Twenty Four At Heart

84 Responses to “When Life Goes Splat on the Windshield”

  1. Frogdancer

    My 4 are really close (particularly the last 3.)
    I know that’s no guarantee (my sister and brother were really close when they were kids, and then he married a woman who can’t stand my sister….) but when I see my boys happily enjoying each others’ company… I feel so happy for the future. I feel like I made their best friends… what a mother!!!

  2. Frogdancer

    My 4 are really close (particularly the last 3.)
    I know that’s no guarantee (my sister and brother were really close when they were kids, and then he married a woman who can’t stand my sister….) but when I see my boys happily enjoying each others’ company… I feel so happy for the future. I feel like I made their best friends… what a mother!!!

  3. Frogdancer

    My 4 are really close (particularly the last 3.)
    I know that’s no guarantee (my sister and brother were really close when they were kids, and then he married a woman who can’t stand my sister….) but when I see my boys happily enjoying each others’ company… I feel so happy for the future. I feel like I made their best friends… what a mother!!!

  4. Jan

    Oh, poor RC! I hope he feels better soon, if nothing else.
    My kids are very, very close as well. I’m with you – when I’m gone, they’ll have each other and that’s a GOOD thing.

  5. Jan

    Oh, poor RC! I hope he feels better soon, if nothing else.
    My kids are very, very close as well. I’m with you – when I’m gone, they’ll have each other and that’s a GOOD thing.

  6. Jan

    Oh, poor RC! I hope he feels better soon, if nothing else.
    My kids are very, very close as well. I’m with you – when I’m gone, they’ll have each other and that’s a GOOD thing.

  7. Deidre

    my first choice 6 years ago and sometimes thinking about it still makes me cry. I got the rejection letter on the same day that my grandfather went in for quintuplet bipass surgery.
    Remind him that he can always transfer into it if he doesn’t like where he ends up going! I wish someone had reminded me.

  8. Deidre

    my first choice 6 years ago and sometimes thinking about it still makes me cry. I got the rejection letter on the same day that my grandfather went in for quintuplet bipass surgery.
    Remind him that he can always transfer into it if he doesn’t like where he ends up going! I wish someone had reminded me.

  9. Deidre

    my first choice 6 years ago and sometimes thinking about it still makes me cry. I got the rejection letter on the same day that my grandfather went in for quintuplet bipass surgery.
    Remind him that he can always transfer into it if he doesn’t like where he ends up going! I wish someone had reminded me.

  10. Deidre

    Ahem – I got rejected from my first choice…
    Now none of you are surprised, I mean jeez! Can’t even comment in full sentences.

  11. Deidre

    Ahem – I got rejected from my first choice…
    Now none of you are surprised, I mean jeez! Can’t even comment in full sentences.

  12. Deidre

    Ahem – I got rejected from my first choice…
    Now none of you are surprised, I mean jeez! Can’t even comment in full sentences.

  13. sometimessophia

    This post makes my heart ache for all of you. Sometimes it’s so difficult to deal with the way our lives unfold. It seems so unfair and arbitrary… certainly beyond our scope to comprehend. Neither of my sons got into their first choice of colleges. The first one excelled before he transferred, then couldn’t handle the course work after the switch. After eight years he still doesn’t have his degree. The younger one ended up at his 3rd choice, and it is the perfect program for him. Tell RC that it isn’t the end of the world… things will work out for the best.
    Obviously, having kids who are close to one another means you’ve done something right, Mom… You should be truly proud of that. 😉

  14. sometimessophia

    This post makes my heart ache for all of you. Sometimes it’s so difficult to deal with the way our lives unfold. It seems so unfair and arbitrary… certainly beyond our scope to comprehend. Neither of my sons got into their first choice of colleges. The first one excelled before he transferred, then couldn’t handle the course work after the switch. After eight years he still doesn’t have his degree. The younger one ended up at his 3rd choice, and it is the perfect program for him. Tell RC that it isn’t the end of the world… things will work out for the best.
    Obviously, having kids who are close to one another means you’ve done something right, Mom… You should be truly proud of that. 😉

  15. sometimessophia

    This post makes my heart ache for all of you. Sometimes it’s so difficult to deal with the way our lives unfold. It seems so unfair and arbitrary… certainly beyond our scope to comprehend. Neither of my sons got into their first choice of colleges. The first one excelled before he transferred, then couldn’t handle the course work after the switch. After eight years he still doesn’t have his degree. The younger one ended up at his 3rd choice, and it is the perfect program for him. Tell RC that it isn’t the end of the world… things will work out for the best.
    Obviously, having kids who are close to one another means you’ve done something right, Mom… You should be truly proud of that. 😉

  16. di

    So I take it you had to wash your car again? ugh.
    Di
    The Blue Ridge Gal

  17. di

    So I take it you had to wash your car again? ugh.
    Di
    The Blue Ridge Gal

  18. di

    So I take it you had to wash your car again? ugh.
    Di
    The Blue Ridge Gal

  19. dogmother

    Jeez..thanks for making me cry this early in the morning…oh hell..that’s all I ever do anyway since menopause set it. Raising kids…the most challenging profession of all!

  20. dogmother

    Jeez..thanks for making me cry this early in the morning…oh hell..that’s all I ever do anyway since menopause set it. Raising kids…the most challenging profession of all!

  21. dogmother

    Jeez..thanks for making me cry this early in the morning…oh hell..that’s all I ever do anyway since menopause set it. Raising kids…the most challenging profession of all!

  22. Lori

    I love your anology of the butterflys going splat on the windshield of the car being like life. So true. So much of life is like this.
    How precious for you to see your children comforting each other like this. That’s a beautiful thing for us mothers to witness. My children are all close too and it brings such joy to my heart when I see them together, whether it be talking about past memories, laughing or a consoling hug.
    My brother and I became best friends when I was a young adult and he in his late teen’s and we are still best friends today. He was my “man of honor” when I got married a few years ago. I will be his “best woman” when he gets married this fall.
    Great post!

  23. Lori

    I love your anology of the butterflys going splat on the windshield of the car being like life. So true. So much of life is like this.
    How precious for you to see your children comforting each other like this. That’s a beautiful thing for us mothers to witness. My children are all close too and it brings such joy to my heart when I see them together, whether it be talking about past memories, laughing or a consoling hug.
    My brother and I became best friends when I was a young adult and he in his late teen’s and we are still best friends today. He was my “man of honor” when I got married a few years ago. I will be his “best woman” when he gets married this fall.
    Great post!

  24. Lori

    I love your anology of the butterflys going splat on the windshield of the car being like life. So true. So much of life is like this.
    How precious for you to see your children comforting each other like this. That’s a beautiful thing for us mothers to witness. My children are all close too and it brings such joy to my heart when I see them together, whether it be talking about past memories, laughing or a consoling hug.
    My brother and I became best friends when I was a young adult and he in his late teen’s and we are still best friends today. He was my “man of honor” when I got married a few years ago. I will be his “best woman” when he gets married this fall.
    Great post!

  25. Sarah

    I am crying like a baby after reading that!!! Thats all you want isnt it? That they are happy and healthy and that they will love each other? : ) Great post!!

  26. Sarah

    I am crying like a baby after reading that!!! Thats all you want isnt it? That they are happy and healthy and that they will love each other? : ) Great post!!

  27. Sarah

    I am crying like a baby after reading that!!! Thats all you want isnt it? That they are happy and healthy and that they will love each other? : ) Great post!!

  28. Alan

    Great post! Brothers & sisters ALWAYS stick together…doesn’t matter how much they pretend to hate each other! 🙂

  29. Alan

    Great post! Brothers & sisters ALWAYS stick together…doesn’t matter how much they pretend to hate each other! 🙂

  30. Alan

    Great post! Brothers & sisters ALWAYS stick together…doesn’t matter how much they pretend to hate each other! 🙂

  31. Lo

    aw crap. you made me cry!!! i’m so glad that your kids have that relationship- a lot of siblings don’t. too bad about the college…. life knows when to kick you, you know? they’ll be okay. it turns out okay. it just really, really fucking sucks sometimes.

  32. Lo

    aw crap. you made me cry!!! i’m so glad that your kids have that relationship- a lot of siblings don’t. too bad about the college…. life knows when to kick you, you know? they’ll be okay. it turns out okay. it just really, really fucking sucks sometimes.

  33. Lo

    aw crap. you made me cry!!! i’m so glad that your kids have that relationship- a lot of siblings don’t. too bad about the college…. life knows when to kick you, you know? they’ll be okay. it turns out okay. it just really, really fucking sucks sometimes.

  34. Kelly

    Awwwww … how sweet. And now I’m all teary too. Loved this post. You always surprise me when I come here. Even after so many months of reading you.

  35. Kelly

    Awwwww … how sweet. And now I’m all teary too. Loved this post. You always surprise me when I come here. Even after so many months of reading you.

  36. Kelly

    Awwwww … how sweet. And now I’m all teary too. Loved this post. You always surprise me when I come here. Even after so many months of reading you.

  37. Christine

    You have impeccable timing, 24. I think I’m ready to hear (read) those kinds of things, because it is hard to remember that things do get better, especially when you’re at a point where you feel like they can’t get any worse. (Knock on wood, please don’t let me jinx myself.)
    Thanks for the hugs.

  38. Christine

    You have impeccable timing, 24. I think I’m ready to hear (read) those kinds of things, because it is hard to remember that things do get better, especially when you’re at a point where you feel like they can’t get any worse. (Knock on wood, please don’t let me jinx myself.)
    Thanks for the hugs.

  39. Christine

    You have impeccable timing, 24. I think I’m ready to hear (read) those kinds of things, because it is hard to remember that things do get better, especially when you’re at a point where you feel like they can’t get any worse. (Knock on wood, please don’t let me jinx myself.)
    Thanks for the hugs.

  40. Hallie

    I totally teared up at the end. Siblings really DO make a difference.
    Hallie

  41. Hallie

    I totally teared up at the end. Siblings really DO make a difference.
    Hallie

  42. Hallie

    I totally teared up at the end. Siblings really DO make a difference.
    Hallie

  43. Mad Woman

    Ugh. You’re an awful person making me cry first thing in the morning.
    What a beautiful post….and how great that they could be there for each other.

  44. Mad Woman

    Ugh. You’re an awful person making me cry first thing in the morning.
    What a beautiful post….and how great that they could be there for each other.

  45. Mad Woman

    Ugh. You’re an awful person making me cry first thing in the morning.
    What a beautiful post….and how great that they could be there for each other.

  46. Pseudo

    Is the boyfriend gone for good?
    How blessed you are to have a son who works so hard to get into a great college… Mine started HS with a 4.0 first two years and last report card was 3.0. He shrugged it off. I’m worried sick that someday he will regret putting surfing and skating and girl chasing ahead of keeeping his 4.0….

  47. Pseudo

    Is the boyfriend gone for good?
    How blessed you are to have a son who works so hard to get into a great college… Mine started HS with a 4.0 first two years and last report card was 3.0. He shrugged it off. I’m worried sick that someday he will regret putting surfing and skating and girl chasing ahead of keeeping his 4.0….

  48. Pseudo

    Is the boyfriend gone for good?
    How blessed you are to have a son who works so hard to get into a great college… Mine started HS with a 4.0 first two years and last report card was 3.0. He shrugged it off. I’m worried sick that someday he will regret putting surfing and skating and girl chasing ahead of keeeping his 4.0….

  49. Kristan

    Oh gosh darnit, now I’m all teared up!
    But seriously, it’s a beautiful image, your son and daughter hugging each other and crying together in their mutual-but-unrelated pain…
    (On a note for your son: I was an excellent student, very well-rounded in my activities, etc. But I got rejected from 8 out of 12 schools. Seriously makes no freaking sense. However, I did get into 3 good ones and was waitlisted by my dream school. Of course I sent follow-up materials to my dream school and waited anxiously all summer hoping I’d get pulled in, but no go. So I ended up attending what was actually my least fave choice when I started the admissions process, and I had one of the best college experiences of any of my friends. I loved it, with all my heart, and even met my boyfriend there, who I now live with. Meanwhile, a friend who went to my dream school hated it so much he almost transferred. So you’re right: your son will end up where he’s supposed to be, and things happen for a reason. I know it won’t help him now — god how I cried at those rejections — but maybe it will help you to know. And someday he’ll be posting a comment like this on someone else’s blog. ;P)

  50. Kristan

    Oh gosh darnit, now I’m all teared up!
    But seriously, it’s a beautiful image, your son and daughter hugging each other and crying together in their mutual-but-unrelated pain…
    (On a note for your son: I was an excellent student, very well-rounded in my activities, etc. But I got rejected from 8 out of 12 schools. Seriously makes no freaking sense. However, I did get into 3 good ones and was waitlisted by my dream school. Of course I sent follow-up materials to my dream school and waited anxiously all summer hoping I’d get pulled in, but no go. So I ended up attending what was actually my least fave choice when I started the admissions process, and I had one of the best college experiences of any of my friends. I loved it, with all my heart, and even met my boyfriend there, who I now live with. Meanwhile, a friend who went to my dream school hated it so much he almost transferred. So you’re right: your son will end up where he’s supposed to be, and things happen for a reason. I know it won’t help him now — god how I cried at those rejections — but maybe it will help you to know. And someday he’ll be posting a comment like this on someone else’s blog. ;P)

  51. Kristan

    Oh gosh darnit, now I’m all teared up!
    But seriously, it’s a beautiful image, your son and daughter hugging each other and crying together in their mutual-but-unrelated pain…
    (On a note for your son: I was an excellent student, very well-rounded in my activities, etc. But I got rejected from 8 out of 12 schools. Seriously makes no freaking sense. However, I did get into 3 good ones and was waitlisted by my dream school. Of course I sent follow-up materials to my dream school and waited anxiously all summer hoping I’d get pulled in, but no go. So I ended up attending what was actually my least fave choice when I started the admissions process, and I had one of the best college experiences of any of my friends. I loved it, with all my heart, and even met my boyfriend there, who I now live with. Meanwhile, a friend who went to my dream school hated it so much he almost transferred. So you’re right: your son will end up where he’s supposed to be, and things happen for a reason. I know it won’t help him now — god how I cried at those rejections — but maybe it will help you to know. And someday he’ll be posting a comment like this on someone else’s blog. ;P)

  52. jennster

    AND.. i think it was NO coincidence that your stupid comment verification had STD in it. LOL

  53. jennster

    AND.. i think it was NO coincidence that your stupid comment verification had STD in it. LOL

  54. jennster

    AND.. i think it was NO coincidence that your stupid comment verification had STD in it. LOL

  55. vodkamom

    that was lovely. Even WITH the dead butterflies.

  56. vodkamom

    that was lovely. Even WITH the dead butterflies.

  57. vodkamom

    that was lovely. Even WITH the dead butterflies.

  58. Elaine at Lipstickdaily

    That’s a VERY good thing. And who knows, getting rejected from his top pick school could wind up being the best thing that ever happened to your son . . . I have a dozen stories like that in my own life as does most everyone else. Just the start of that great learning experience for him!

  59. Elaine at Lipstickdaily

    That’s a VERY good thing. And who knows, getting rejected from his top pick school could wind up being the best thing that ever happened to your son . . . I have a dozen stories like that in my own life as does most everyone else. Just the start of that great learning experience for him!

  60. Elaine at Lipstickdaily

    That’s a VERY good thing. And who knows, getting rejected from his top pick school could wind up being the best thing that ever happened to your son . . . I have a dozen stories like that in my own life as does most everyone else. Just the start of that great learning experience for him!

  61. Helena

    That’s a great reminder what brothers and sisters are for. My brother and I don’t always get on but when our parents are gone he will be the one I can trust.

  62. Helena

    That’s a great reminder what brothers and sisters are for. My brother and I don’t always get on but when our parents are gone he will be the one I can trust.

  63. Helena

    That’s a great reminder what brothers and sisters are for. My brother and I don’t always get on but when our parents are gone he will be the one I can trust.

  64. Midlife Mama

    That’s wonderful. I have a brother and I can’t stand him. Never have, never will. When my folks go to the Big Round Up in the Sky? I’ll probably never see him again. If I’m lucky.
    I am So going to hell. *sigh*

  65. Midlife Mama

    That’s wonderful. I have a brother and I can’t stand him. Never have, never will. When my folks go to the Big Round Up in the Sky? I’ll probably never see him again. If I’m lucky.
    I am So going to hell. *sigh*

  66. Midlife Mama

    That’s wonderful. I have a brother and I can’t stand him. Never have, never will. When my folks go to the Big Round Up in the Sky? I’ll probably never see him again. If I’m lucky.
    I am So going to hell. *sigh*

  67. Peggy

    Dammit, my 1st comment didn’t go thru…stupid captcha!
    I said something to the effect of I did not cry like a little baby while reading this post but I did make the awww, sad/happy choked up face (NOT the 😮 face!)…
    Thank you for the kind reminder that my kids who currently kick, slap and bite each other may, one day, actually be friends who are able to lean on each other in times of need.

  68. Peggy

    Dammit, my 1st comment didn’t go thru…stupid captcha!
    I said something to the effect of I did not cry like a little baby while reading this post but I did make the awww, sad/happy choked up face (NOT the 😮 face!)…
    Thank you for the kind reminder that my kids who currently kick, slap and bite each other may, one day, actually be friends who are able to lean on each other in times of need.

  69. Peggy

    Dammit, my 1st comment didn’t go thru…stupid captcha!
    I said something to the effect of I did not cry like a little baby while reading this post but I did make the awww, sad/happy choked up face (NOT the 😮 face!)…
    Thank you for the kind reminder that my kids who currently kick, slap and bite each other may, one day, actually be friends who are able to lean on each other in times of need.

  70. Kristen

    Hi! This is my first comment. RC should totally pull an “Orange County” (the movie) and go get the president of the dream school high so he will accept him. hehehe. Jack Black can help.
    I was also rejected by my top school, but went to my second choice and I am marrying the man I met there in two weeks! So there ya go, I made lemonade!

  71. Kristen

    Hi! This is my first comment. RC should totally pull an “Orange County” (the movie) and go get the president of the dream school high so he will accept him. hehehe. Jack Black can help.
    I was also rejected by my top school, but went to my second choice and I am marrying the man I met there in two weeks! So there ya go, I made lemonade!

  72. Kristen

    Hi! This is my first comment. RC should totally pull an “Orange County” (the movie) and go get the president of the dream school high so he will accept him. hehehe. Jack Black can help.
    I was also rejected by my top school, but went to my second choice and I am marrying the man I met there in two weeks! So there ya go, I made lemonade!

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