G is for Grandmothers

Friday, June 10, 2016

Pre- Brooklyn Half Marathon Selfies
Meet Jennifer Connor. Jen and I met when she worked with the Souderton Independent and I worked at The Reporter. Two young and broke journalist, we bonded over unusual news assignments and cheap pizza dates to Main Street Pizza. We always gossiped and chatted about life, movies, and music. We were both born to be entertainment and lifestyles reporters. Sadly, myself first and Jen to follow, we both moved away from our journalism careers and Jen has since landed in the Big Apple for the last several years. She moved there taking on the role as the Social Media Program Officer at the Fulbright Student Program Outreach at Institute of International Education. I hope we can put another race on our calendars again! Bring me back to Brooklyn please.

G is for Grandmothers
By Jennifer Connor

“This is the story of Joy, as told by her grandmother.”

On an average Wednesday night in New York City, my boyfriend and I sat watching Joy, the recent movie starring Jennifer Lawrence, about Joy Mangano, a young single mother, who attempts to patent and manufacture an innovation on the common mop.

Instantly, this movie resonated with me.

Many who know me from personally to professionally know I have a special relationship with my grandmother. From weekend sleepovers as an elementary school kid, when we would stay up late drinking root beer floats and playing Rummy, to weekend escapes to her house in the beautiful Bucks County from my new home in NYC – we’ve shared many moments together.

After watching Joy, I was curious if there was a reason Joy’s grandmother narrated the story. A few Google searches later the only conclusion I came to was that this character was meant to present the only unconditional love Joy had lifting her up.

There’s something about grandmothers – their comfort, their inspiration, their grit, their love – that brings a sweetness to this world. It’s a love that’s universally understood. In some commentary I found on Joy this was the reason for her grandmother’s narration – a way for those young and old, American or not, to grasp the kind of love that Joy had.

For a 26-year-old, I’ve seen a bit of the world, seeking adventure that may have originated in my Grammy’s inability to have the profession of her dreams as a flight attendant. I believe it was her eyesight that took this dream off the table for her, so she moved on raising two kids and building a home in Bucks County with my grandfather. But, though I’ve gone rather far, I’ve always come back to the comfort of her home, and the oasis I find there.

It’s a house full of love, that while my grandfather was living and my grandmother was more nimble, they poured their sweat and creativity into. From planting dogwood trees in the front yard that continue to bloom to this day to adorning the house with oodles of Christmas decorations to make the holidays magical – it was their home that they shared with all of us.

The past six months have been rough for my grandmother. She can’t catch a break, health-wise, and is restricted from going home. Our family continues to visit her regularly, attempting to keep her spirits up and to navigate the health issues that arise. Through all of this, I’ve done a lot of processing of my relationship with her and it’s moments like those opening lines of Joy that bring it home.

We are blessed to have the relationship we do, through thick and thin, tough love, and even arguments – we’ve been there for one another. Lifting each other up, and reminding the other that with tomorrow comes another day. This unconditional love will carry me through life – giving me strength to continue to chase my dreams, always remembering where that strength comes from.

G is for Grandmothers.

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