Is there no market for joy? / by Christina Rosalie

Word has it, parent blogging is dead. This might be a good thing for me because I not sarcastic, ironic, or depressed enough to be a big-hitting, angst-driven, new-mommy blogger. I have, on occasion irritated people with my good nature and exuberance for life. Which is not to say that I'm a total Pollyanna. I've had my share of harsh and difficult times, where I felt derailed and anxious and depressed. There were dark, dark moments during the first weeks after Bean was born. Times where his crying shredded my nerves, and made me write in my notebook, "I want to just put him out on the back porch for a while so I can sleep" in February, when it was snowing. And before him, choices out of urgent necessity, that linger with me, hungry for acknowledgment and full of emotion I cannot name. And I lost my father to cancer; spent weeks before he died sitting with him, watching him become emaciated and ghostly. But even from inside those dark times, I feel a part of me reaching upwards, like a bean plant in a box, growing towards the light at the top.

There isn't quite the same market for exuberance as there is for sarcasm. Especially coming from a first-time mom. It's almost assumed my experience should be a miserable one, or that at the very least, I should dwell on those times. Except for a graceful few, most parent bloggers seem propel themselves through the day with one agitated post after the next. And, like the rest of the world, I'm somewhat enthralled by the daily trials and disasters of other parents bold and depressed enough to smear the messiness of their lives across the Internet. If I'm not mindful, I notice myself using a writing style that mimics the tone of the blogs I'm reading. Taking the things that irritate and spewing them out as in the form of a humorous caricature of my life. Twisted circus balloon, full of hot air.

Which isn't to say that there isn't a vitally important place for this. There is great comedy in these small tragedies, and I have certainly had my share of glycerin suppositories, sticky poop everywhere, and intolerable screams in crowded restaurants. But most days it isn't the bitter fragments that matter to me in the end. Rather, it is the small morsels of joy: rain falling fast and hard and then clearing to blue skies, the wild Queen Anne's lace growing along the railroad tracks, the cool of the lake after a run, that I gather up carry with me like a bag full of bright river stones.

Maybe this optimism for life is because I think of pain and sorrow as sacred things. I understand that I grow in response to change, and to grief. Yet it seems of late, sarcasm and bitterness are overdone just a bit, at least in realm of blogs. Our culture seem to be obsessed with the misery of others. The rubberneck factor on the highway, the headlines always announcing the latest deaths, famines, insurgencies. This is our world, for sure. And I am not suggesting we shy away from the messiness of it, or sink less deeply into our many moments of collective anguish. But lest I lose touch all together with the things that keep us whole, joy will continue to have it's place here.