When I was a kid, my cousins were a source of amusement, wonder, and bewilderment. There were so MANY of them, all in one family! There were always more babies around – their own babies, my aunt’s in-home day-care babies, foster babies. My brother and Micah were well matched, right from the start. Only a few months apart in age, those two had perfect personalities to play together from the time they were toddlers until, well, now that they’re in their mid-twenties. My cousin Jennifer was three years my senior and totally COOL, as far as I was concerned. She was brainy, smart-mouthed, funny, and pretty – long, dark brown hair and big piercing eyes. I thought she was the reigning queen of tweendom (although I’m pretty sure no one had ever heard of tweens back then). She didn’t always want her dorky little cousin tagging along, but there were a few good years where we played, talked, and hung out together.

So she was 11 or 12 – in that awkward stage of not little kid, not real teenager, with all its requisite huffing and pouting, sighing, and complaining. Tween angst. And I idolized it, I really did. My own tweenybopper revolution years later was carefully patterned off the glimpses of hers I had spied on our visits. She would complain and mope about something or other and her mom would remind her, in a tone of voice that was a carefully balanced composition of compassion, pity, sarcasm, and reality-check, that whatever she had was better than nothing. Eventually it turned into a shorthand of sorts between them.

Jennifer: eyeroll
Aunt Linda: B.T.N….
Jennifer: grimace of resignation

So in that spirit, I bring you:

The Something’s Better Than Nothing Post of the Day

The last few nights, I have fallen asleep with the words of a newly-crafted blog post drifting through my mind. That’s good, I think, I’m sure I’ll remember that in the morning. And then I fall asleep -and am woken up by my toddler who apparently thought, Sleeping through the night? Tried it. Didn’t like it. Won’t do it EVER AGAIN., and then I fall asleep again – and am woken up by Gruff’s alarm and hustle-bustle to get out the door at 4:00 a.m. – and then I fall asleep again. When I wake up, with that cool white light of wintery morning streaming in through the blinds, and the beautiful words that loved the night before are gone.

In the absence of a really GOOD idea for a post, I’ve simply not posted. (I know, I know – I’ve had this problem before and you’ve given me good advice about keeping on with it; writing through the blah spots and the rough times.) I don’t want to have weeks and weeks without a word here, though, so this morning I pulled myself up by the bootstraps and opened my Internet browser. For lack of a better topic, let’s just catch up a bit, shall we?

My interview at the Big Chain Learning Place was disappointing. The manager loved me – she told me so! She said that I was perfect for their site, would be a great fit with their programs, was perky and energetic and would hit it off with their students. Then we discussed scheduling, and it all fell apart. Basically, she needs someone who is “flexible in her availability.” Since I want to work only when Gruff is home to be with Smooch, I’m just not flexible enough, and I can’t work enough afternoon/early evening hours. So that prospect is officially off the table.

Our extended families are going through interesting times right now. On Gruff’s side, a family member was just diagnosed with breast cancer. The tumor was removed with clean margins, and the lymph nodes are negative – all good news – but the tumor was larger than they’d first thought, so it looks like she will be facing both radiation treatments and chemotherapy in the near future. It’s hard on Gruff – who’s in the midst of clinical research on this very subject – because family members keep calling to ask him questions about her condition, her surgery, her treatment options. For one thing, he can’t really make medical suggestions to them (primarily because he’s not yet fully licensed – he’s a resident and operates under his hospital’s license; secondarily because it would be a breach of ethics to be giving medical advice to a family member) and for another thing, it’s one matter to research data and figures and have abstract knowledge about a subject – it’s another beast entirely when that disease is affecting someone you love. I’ll be re-visiting WhyMommy’s awesome list of suggestions, because I want to DO something for her, even though we live so far away. It’s hard being here, while they are there (about 8 hours to the south).

On my side of the family, we have the other end of the emotional spectrum. My brother proposed to his girlfriend last night, and she said yes! We are in full-on giddy mode, with phone calls back and forth to every possible combination of family members. Thank goodness we live in the digital age, or I’d have had to wait who knows how long to see pictures of the beautiful custom-designed ring he gave her. I’m so excited for them, and I can’t wait to hear about all the wedding planning details. I’ll have a new sister! And Smooch will have a new cousin (she has a two-year-old son from a previous relationship)! And my brother is going to be a husband and a stepdad! That’s wild. You know, no matter how old he gets, part of me will always remember him frozen in time at 7 years old – back when he had a thick black mop of hair that refused to lie down flat, and big plastic-rimmed glasses, and short shorts; back when he tortured G.I. Joes and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by laying them on the big pile of construction dirt in our front yard and burning holes in their plastic bodies with a magnifying glass; back when his favorite game with the neighborhood boys involved sitting in a trash can and spraying each other with a hose.

So that’s been my week. For better and for worse, with nary a literary moment in sight. Maybe not my best post ever, but…



4 Responses to B.T.N.

  1. Heather says:

    You know, I kind of like these kinds of posts because it lets us readers know more of the person than the strongly scripted posts do.

  2. Mrs. Chicken says:

    BTN, indeed. I was missing you. Once again we are in sync – I can’t seem to write anything of note lately.

  3. Waiting Amy says:

    Yes, me too. I’m all out of cleverness and good ideas.

    I’m sorry about Gruff’s family member. WhyMommy’s list is indeed very helpful. I promise if I find any great ideas to send them your way as we look to be in the same boat on this topic.

    Glad you are doing okay! Some update is better than none!

  4. fizzledink says:

    Thanks, y’all. I do think it’s interesting that the blogosphere seems to be cyclical with its slumps and surges. If nothing else, it’s a lovely reminder that we are not alone, right?

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