Wednesday, September 16, 2009

She Inspires Me: (Long Overdue) My Mom

Okay, I have a ton of pictures of this lady at home on my computer, but since I am at work, I am going to go ahead and type this up without any pictures. Maybe I will edit it later and add some pictures when (if) I have time.

This post has been marinating in my head for months. It started probably around Mother's Day. What kept me from posting then? Well, I don't know if you have noticed, but I tend to avoid following specific patterns for blogging. Even though I have created this ongoing inspirational women feature, don't expect me to do it at a specific time, like a Friday Feature or a Wordless Wednesday. Wordless Wednesday, really? Don't we blog so we can go on and on about our lives? Isn't a journal for writing lots of words? And seriously folks, a picture may be worth a thousand words, but it cannot speak for you. (Brooke may disagree with me there. I know she has tons of pictures that speak volumes on their own).

So, obviously no Mother's Day Tribute.

Did you know her birthday is in June? Perfect time to write about the beauty of the wonderful lady who gave me life. The woman who has sacrificed so much for my happiness. The woman who now celebrates her birthday with a touch of sadness for the loss of what would have been her first grandchild, born one day before her birthday 16 years ago. So much I owe her, so much I wanted to say about that.

And then this year she got one of the worst birthday presents ever. I am so sorry that I had to be the one to give her the awful news, but I am also grateful that it was me and not someone else who could not truly understand her pain. Four of my mother's six kids were brought into the world by a doctor who was good friends with my parents. He was the doctor my mother trusted, all these years, living in this small town so far away from family and friends. No matter what stresses were going on in my mother's life, what health issues were affecting her, Dr. Redd was always a comforting part of her life.

Needless to say, that tribute to my beloved mother did not happen in June.

And my blog has been somewhat neglected this past couple months. We have led a wonderfully busy life, but when I blog, it tends to be just trying to update you on the fun things we have done. And I know you would rather hear about our trip to Lake Powell a couple days after the fact, instead of a month later. I apologize. Still, at the end of every one of those catch up posts, I think, soon. Soon I will write about her.

Then I think how can I possibly cover it all? How can I truly recognize all that Gail Glover is to me? I know I won't do it justice, but here, while I have a minute, here is a bit about why my Mother Inspires Me.

I will start with the fact that she loves my dad. Unconditionally. Completely. I mean, she must. A city girl who was close to her family married him and moved thousands of miles from home to the middle of nowhere. I am not just talking Blanding, which is where they settled, but literally the middle of nowhere on the Navajo Indian Reservation. And then let's go back to Blanding. How many years have they lived her now? Thirty-something, and my mom is still a city girl at heart, and still loves her family, but Blanding is where she and my dad have stayed. As her daughter and now as a mother to my own children, I am grateful for this choice she made. To make the best of where she was put. I am glad to be able to raise my kids in Blanding, near their wonderful grandmother.

And when I say she made the best of it, I really believe that to be true. She served the community in many voluntary capacities, including PTA President and Relief Society President, while she had small babies and children (six of us!) and no family babysitters (I know how spoiled I am). She also served on the school board, and was always trying to make a difference where she could.

Then when I was in junior high, my mom went back to work. Let me just say, I know now how lucky we were to have our mom at home while we were growing up. How spoiled we were being able to call anytime and say, "I forgot my homework," or "I just fell on my face off the monkey bars and they think I broke my nose." And there she always was, ready to rescue us, or help us face the consequences of our mistakes. Spoiled as well in the full-spread breakfasts she laid out for us every morning (I really thought cereal was a treat). And then there were the full-course meals that included many options for her six finicky (I have no idea how to spell that) eaters. I remember Italian Place steak sandwiches, egg rolls, with homemade fortune cookies, baklava.

Well, things changed with my dad's position at UNDC, and my mom found it necessary to use her skills to help provide for the family. She even returned to BYU for two summers to complete a Master's Degree. Those summers were some of my fondest memories. I have a feeling, like my mother, I am a city girl at heart. But I can be happy wherever my man is. I realize now it wasn't easy for her, being away from her husband during those months, taking care of six still young teenagers and tweens, while attending classes and trying to study. But she has always been a life-long learner, always trying to improve herself. And she succeeded in her goals then and many others.

In time, she became the Dean of Administrative and Student Services at the College of Eastern Utah, where she began this working career. For many years, she worked alongside Kay Shumway, the other Dean at the college. They made a good pair, working together to do what they could to keep college operations running smoothly. It's never easy being a woman in what is still a man's world, which is true of most working environments even today. I remember studying about that (gender issues) in college, because it had been one of my mother's areas of expertise in one of her previous positions at the college. I remember thinking my professor blew the whole inequality thing way out of proportion, but I have seen since how true it can be.

One of my mother's dear friends whose acquaintance she made while working for the college was Grace Jones, an African American woman who had been selected as the president of CEU. This woman met a lot of resistance from the college community, in Price as well as in Blanding in her role as a leader. Those rose-colored glasses I had been wearing, trying to convince myself that gender inequality was not an issue in the world anymore, they started to crack. A few years later, I realized the glass had fallen out entirely as I watched my own mother's struggle with different issues at the college that related directly to her leadership role, and others' perception of it.

I won't go into details. I don't know all the details. I do know my mother served the college for 25 years, and now that the time has come for her to retire (truthfully, in many ways, it is earlier than she would have liked), she is not getting any real recognition for the work she did there. Compared to what was given to others who also recently chose retirement, I cannot help but be offended on my mother's behalf. I am afraid (though I do not know), my mother has been misrepresented to many in regards to the way she did her job. All I know is my mother has loved the college from the moment she was first associated with it. She has wanted the best for the college, always. For years, she never took any leave time. She just accrued more and more, but she never used it. It was like the college was her baby and she couldn't stand to leave it.

She was personally invested in the people who worked there. She cared about them, worried about them, did all she could to support them. She cared about the students. She did all she could in her role to help them succeed. I have witnessed this firsthand on many occasions. If my mother was guilty of anything, it was that she was too invested in her job. When something didn't work right, she took it personally. I think, even though she is completely helpless now, she still does.

I like to believe my mother has made a difference in people's lives in the work that she did at the college all those years. I hope one day I can have as much influence as she has had. And I pray that she will know, as my brother Worthy has said, that to those that truly matter (her family), she has made all the difference in the world. And for that, I thank her.

I love you more than I can say, Mom. You are amazing!

Just so you know, we (her family) are throwing a retirement party for my mom at the Edge of the Cedars State Park and Museum on Friday, September 18, from 7-9 p.m. A blogsite has been set up so people can leave a word of congratulations and encouragement. Go here to check it out, and be sure to check out the article I wrote about it which should be in this weeks Panorama and the San Juan Record. My mom is awesome!


Chrislynn said...

You should have done the blog for Mom. This was awesome. She inspire me too!

Worthy Glover Sr. or Gail Glover said...

Aw, shucks. I'm not all that, but thanks. I love you.

Tim and Nancy said...

Love ya.

Rachel+Co said...

i've never met your mom (that i can recall) but what a great tribute to her.

personally, i like to think of myself as a fair-weather-city-girl at heart who has made the best of a cold-weather climate to be with her man ;-).

happy retirement to your mom.