30 Day Lady Challenge- Day 20

by - Sunday, February 02, 2014

Day 20- Someone who only gets more Beautiful with Time- Aunt Joanna

Heyo! I know you all thought this was dead, but it is not dead! Deal with it!

Without realizing it, I set this one up slightly dangerously. You don't want this to come off as a backhanded compliment. So Aunt Joanna, I hope I don't do you wrong here, but you know that I think you are all kinds of wonderful and beautiful, so I am hoping there is no wrong turn to take!

 My Aunt Joanna has always been adorable and very pretty in that quirky Greene-y way. I have noticed in the last few years, she looks extra glowy and lovely, so alas she wins this award! I am submitting this picture of her with her boys as definitive evidence of how beautiful she has gotten. I love this picture of her because of how happy and proud she looks. I just love this picture.

In the Greene Family, we love to look at slides. I have seen many many moments of my Dad and his two siblings' life. There have been an epic number of bad outfits, tragic haircuts, and oversized glasses. I mean, they were always cute, but they took some epically bad sartorial turns. As an adult, she always looked super cute to me, and I love early pictures of my Uncle Bob and her, but she didn't dress like she wanted to be noticed. I know from things she has said that maybe she didn't feel that pretty herself. Greenes often look a lot like themselves from start to finish, so maybe the change would seem subtle from the outside, but I think she looks better and better. I genuinely think she has more confidence now, and she treats herself that way, which is beautiful all on its own.

When I was a kid, I was always so excited when the Jones family came to town . If I knew my Aunt Joanna would be at Grammy's for lunch, I would want to be there by 9 (in fact, as an adult I still always feel antsy to see them when I know they are coming). I can remember bugging my parents to hurry up. I remember that when I was really little, Joanna was the one who would play dress up with me and I have so many happy memories of just being around her or going to see her in State College. She was always a person who made our time together feel really special and fun.

 I can see  that those talents, to make time seem meaningful and special have been put to great use in many aspects of her life. I am ealous of the children who have had her as a librarian; the library always feels like a magical space, but to have an adult who embodies that excitement and who treats time like it matters would make the experience even better. In her family, I think they balance order with a treatment of their time together as special and important. I love seeing their family traditions.

This may sound like a diversion, but bear with me. All three of the Greene siblings are very specific mixes of Greene rationality and ordered control with Binmore jolliness and "childlike whimsy" (both parties are proud of their geeky uniqueness, so you can't very well tie that to one branch of the family tree). My Grammy is magic, but one of the most special things about spending time with my grandparents is the way my Grampa looks at her, like he is all sparkly and grinny and despite all that New England reserve, you can see plainly that he loves her. In fact, as he gets older, he seems less and less able to hide his goofy smiley happiness at the things Grammy says and does, even if it also drives him crazy. Aunt Joanna, to me, is like the living manifestation of that really magical sparkle in his eye. She seems so Greene because she is so smart and practical, but she also seems less and less able to hide that sparkly love and pride and just happiness when she is happy, and I love that.

  Aunt Joanna looks like a smile you just can't quite contain.

So, my theory about Aunt Joanna is that so much of her beauty comes from love and pride that as her son's get older, and they give her so much to be proud of (because they are awesome), that love just fuels her beauty, and she glows. Their family is so strong, and they have been through some serious challenges, but they seem so resilient, and that is beautiful all on its own. I got to see this up close for four years while I lived in their neighborhood for college. They were so incredibly generous to me, and I was so lucky to get to spend that time with them.I got to see them without the fatigue of the drive to Franklin and (hopefully) the stress of entertaining a guest, and that more laid-back atmosphere revealed the fun and comfort of their home. I think seeing their family and especially their marriage made a huge difference in my life, because it showed me how possible and wonderful a happy long-lasting marriage can be. I miss those times so much now.

My Aunt Joanna is beautiful because she turns her love and caring into action, and with every act of love that beauty grows (so clearly, time is on her side). For my grandparents (and really the whole family), she turned Grampa's massive collection of slides into digital files. Then, so the grandkids didn't feel left out, she made a slideshow of us which still makes me tear up every time. Sometimes she sends me "just because" kinds of presents which I treasure. She learned tons of recipes for her son when he had celiacs, and she drove with him about a million times to Pittsburgh. She is an awesome mom. She is an attentive and engaged listener, and when we talk I always feel heard. This skill seems so important and rare. She is so thoughtful, and I really aspire to show others that I care with the same thoughtfulness and joy that she does.

She also has the silly, creative, funny, and slightly fretty personality from my Grammy. She has a beautiful smile, a great laugh (in doing this, I have realized this is the most important quality to be beautiful), and a fun, colorful wardrobe that also seems really practical? She keeps a great balance. She is also a really committed and devoted daughter, and it was really special to spend time with just the two of them when they came to visit a few years ago (look at all the plants!).

So here's to you, Joanna Jones, for being the perfect blend of organized and silly, for hating tomatoes with a passion, for all of the lunches we had, for knowing every great book way before I've heard of it, for loving the people she loves so very very much, for looking so beautiful every time I see you, for showing your happiness when you feel it, for getting excited about palm trees,  for being so smart and intentional in your kindness, for not needing to win at games, for still holding hands with your husband, for always learning new things and being so intelligent, for still being sweet and loving to my mother, for keeping a thankfulness paper chain, for showing me how to treat things like they matter and get excited about them, and for being the kind of person that I always like more for the new things I learn, that you always seem a little more beautiful to me every time I see you, probably partially because I miss you so much when I don't get to! You are beautiful!!!


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