July 28, 2016
Chelsea Clinton pays tribute to her mother, Hillary, during a speech at the Democratic National Convention.
It is such an honor for me to be here tonight. I'm here as a proud American, a proud Democrat, a proud mother. And tonight, in particular, and very proud daughter.
Mark and I can't quite believe it, but our daughter Charlotte is nearly two years old. She loves Elmo, she loves blueberries and above all, she loves Facetiming with Grandma. My mom can be about to walk on stage and it just does not matter, she will drop everything for a few minutes of blowing kisses and reading "Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo" with her granddaughter. Our son, Aidan, is five and a half weeks old. We are so thankful that he is healthy and thriving and we are biased, but we think he is just about the cutest baby in the world — a view I'm sure my mom shares. And every day that I spend with them as Charlotte and Aidan's mother, I think about my own mother. My wonderful, thoughtful, hilarious mother.
My earliest memory is my mom picking me up after I had fallen down, giving me a big hug, and reading me "Goodnight Moon." From that moment to this one — every single memory I have of my mom is that regardless of what was happening in her life, she was always there for me. Every soccer game, every softball game, every piano recital, every dance recital. Sundays spent together at church, the local library, countless Saturdays finding shapes in the clouds.
Making up stories about what we would do if we met a Triceratops — in my opinion, the friendliest looking dinosaur — although my mother would remind me that they were still dinosaurs. As a kid I was pretty obsessed with dinosaurs and the day that my parents took me to Dinosaur National Park, I didn’t think life could get any better.
Whenever my mom was away for work, which thankfully did not happen very often, she let notes for me to open every day she was gone. All stacked neatly together in a special drawer with a date on the front of each one, so I would know which note to open on which day. When she went to France to learn about the childcare system, I remember one was all about the Eiffel Tower. Another was about that ideas she helped to bring home to help the kids of Arkansas. I treasured each and every one of those notes. They were another reminder that I was always in her thoughts and in her heart.
Growing up, conversations around the dinner table always started with what I learned in school that day. I remember one week talking incessantly about a book that had captured my imagination, "A Wrinkle in Time." Only after my parents had listened to me talk, would they then talk about what they were working on: education, health care consuming their days and keeping them up at night.
I love that my parents expected me to have opinions and to be able to back them up with facts. I never once doubted that my parents cared about my thoughts and my ideas, and I always knew how deeply they love me. That feeling of being valued and loved — that is what my mom wants for every child. It is the calling of her life.
My parents raised me to know how lucky I was that I never had to worry about food on the table, that I never had to worry about a good school to go to. Never had to worry about a safe neighborhood to play in. And they taught me to care about what happens in the world. And to do whatever I can to change what frustrated me, what felt wrong. They taught me that’s the responsibility that comes with being smiled on by fate.
I know my kids are little young, but I'm already trying to instill those same values in them. There's something else that my mother taught me: public service is about service. And as her daughter, I've had a special window into how she serves. I’ve seen her holding the hands of mothers worried about how they will feed their kids, worried about how they will get them the healthcare they need. My mother promised to do everything she could to help. I have seen her right after those conversations getting straight to work. Figuring out what she could do, who she could call. How fast she could get results. She always feels like there isn't a moment to lose because she knows that for that mother, for that family, there isn’t.
And I've seen her at the low points, like the summer of 1994. Several people this week have talked about her fight for universal health care. I saw it up close. It was bruising. It was exhausting. She fought her heart out and as all of you know, she lost. For me, 14 years old, it was pretty tough to watch. But my mom, she was amazing. She took a little time to replenish her spirit — family movie night definitely helped. Dad, as all of you know, liked "Police Academy." My mom and I loved "Pride and Prejudice." And then she got right back to work. Because she believed she could still make a difference for kids.
People ask me all the time — how does she do it? How does she keep going amid the sound and politics? Here is how: she never, ever forgets who she is fighting for.
She has worked to make it easier for foster kids to get adopted. For 9/11 first responders to get the health care they deserve. For women around the world to be safe, to be treated with dignity, and to have more opportunity. Fights like these, they are what keep my mother going. They grabbed her heart. Her conscience. And they never let go. That is to my mom. She's a listener, a doer. She is a woman driven by compassion, by faith, but a fierce sense of justice and a heart full of love.
Come this November, I'm voting for a woman as a role model and a mother. A woman who has spent her entire life fighting for families and children. I'm voting for the Progressive who will protect our planet from climate change, who will reform our criminal justice system, who knows that women's rights are human rights, and who knows that LGBT rights are human rights. Here at home, and around the world, I'm voting for a fighter who never ever gives up and who believes we can always do better when we come together and work together.
I hope that my children will someday be as proud of me as I am of my mom. I am so grateful to be her daughter. I'm so grateful that she is Charlotte and Aidan's grandmother. She makes me proud every single day. And mom, grandma would be so proud of you tonight.
To everyone watching here at home, I know with all my heart that my mother will make us proud as our next president.