The Perfect Mother (from Skip Conover)

Dear Geneva,

I didn’t want to begin this tribute by referring to you as my “Mother-in-Law,” because you have always been the perfect Mother to me.  And, you can be quite satisfied that you have lived 80 years as the perfect archetypal image of the American Woman of our time.

When I imagine your early years, I see nothing but a Norman Rockwell painting of American life, with all its joys and sorrows.  I do that because I know that in the 25 years I have known you, that’s the way I’ve seen it in fact.

Looking back on that day 25 years ago, when Debbi introduced you to me, I am certain there must have been apprehension on your part.  That is natural for a Mother to feel that about her little girl’s intended.  But your welcoming hug never let on your doubts, and you have always seemed a Mother to me, and I cherish my time with you just as much as I did spending time with Jeanne.  I’m so pleased that you became such good friends during her lifetime, so that both of you could enjoy and learn from one another.

Looking back on the first 80 years of a perfect American life must be gratifying.  You were born into a time of struggle, but learned, like so many of your generation, to make the most out of each of God’s blessings.  It seems we have much to learn from your simple Faith that Happiness is all around us.  I don’t mean the giddy happiness of a 5-year-old’s birthday party, but the mature and stable Happiness that is informed by God’s grace and gifts.

You were Ivan’s Bride, and he was your Sailor, ready to make a place for you both in the post WWII stability that we all remember fondly.  It was a peace you both helped to preserve in the war, and you both helped to build for all of the years since.  You raised two brilliant children, both of whom have made outstanding contributions to society.  I know your Granddaughters and Great Grandchildren will always remember your stable model as they mold their own lives year by year.

Debbi and I have both cherished the years we have enjoyed together here in Annapolis, and we look forward to the day that you decide that you would rather not make that 10-minute drive home after a quiet evening together, and just join our household.  We will welcome that time, and we will be glad that we can have more leisure to enjoy being with you.

I am sure I have much more to learn from you.  I look forward to our continuing interactions on Faith, politics, Family, and Happiness, to name just a few of our many discussion topics.  It has been my great pleasure to be a part of your life, and I look forward to continuing that pleasure for many years to come.

Happy Birthday!

Love, Skip