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  • Mrs. Obama: Hello everyone, and thank you so much for joining us here at the

  • White House as we gather to celebrate Mother's Day and honor

  • all of the extraordinary women in our lives.

  • Today is also Military Spouses Appreciation Day,

  • and we have some of the spouses and mothers of military members

  • who are here with us, so let's give them a round of applause.

  • (applause)

  • We are forever grateful for your service and inspired by your strength.

  • So we -- as always, Jill and I remain supportive.

  • We will continue to do everything we can to support

  • your efforts.

  • And I know Jill is here.

  • Where is Jill?

  • There you are.

  • (laughter)

  • There she is.

  • Let's give Jill a round of applause, too.

  • (applause)

  • I also want to thank former First Lady Rosalynn Carter for

  • being here.

  • Mrs. Carter, where are you?

  • I can't keep up with everyone.

  • (applause)

  • Mrs. Carter, you have been just a wonderful support and a source

  • of knowledge for me during my time here.

  • You have been so generous.

  • We try to have lunch together whenever you come into the city,

  • and I just have to say that the time that we spend together

  • means a great deal.

  • So I cannot tell you how much I appreciate your support.

  • As many of you know, Mrs. Carter is an advocate for mental health work.

  • She's just written a book, and we're going to be doing more

  • work together on post-traumatic stress disorder and mental health.

  • So she hasn't stopped moving yet.

  • (laughter)

  • You can't keep her down.

  • Mrs. Carter -- yes?

  • Audience Member: (inaudible)

  • Mrs. Obama: Thank you.

  • Thank you.

  • And Mrs. Carter is also joined by her granddaughter, Sara.

  • And we thought we were going to have Mrs. Carter's

  • great-granddaughter, Josephine.

  • We were going to have four generations of Carter women,

  • but she got a little fussy --

  • (laughter)

  • -- and mom was like, she's got to go home.

  • (laughter)

  • But maybe next time I'll get to see her.

  • I'm also pleased that Tricia Nixon Cox is here,

  • President Nixon's daughter.

  • Please stand.

  • (applause)

  • And Susan and Anne Eisenhower who are President Eisenhower's

  • granddaughters, they are here, as well.

  • Susan and Anne, please stand.

  • (applause)

  • Thank you all for being here.

  • It means so much.

  • We have -- the girls' and I, our favorite picture is your wedding picture --

  • (laughter)

  • -- that is in the colonnade downstairs.

  • We all stand and look at that and think about --

  • (laughter)

  • -- the wedding.

  • They're not thinking about marriage, by the way.

  • (laughter)

  • Don't write that down on a blog.

  • (laughter)

  • They just like the picture.

  • (laughter)

  • And of course there's the photo of President Eisenhower meeting

  • with Civil Rights leaders that --

  • in 1958 that is in the Oval Office.

  • So there is much history in this room today and I'm so pleased to

  • welcome these generations of women back to the White House.

  • It is just an honor to have you all.

  • If you look around the room, really that's sort of the theme

  • here today.

  • We have many generations here this afternoon: We've got

  • teenagers and retirees, we've got family members and friends,

  • we've got Cabinet Secretaries, and students,

  • and everything else in between.

  • And many of you came with a woman who means a great deal to your life.

  • Yes -- oh, really?

  • (laughter and applause)

  • So mothers, daughters, granddaughters, mentors,

  • mentees, sisters, best friends, it's sort of a wonderful

  • combination of women who are important to us.

  • The people here today showcase just how crucial women are in

  • guiding our families, and in our neighborhoods,

  • and in our country, as well.

  • They're the shoulder that we lean on as individuals,

  • but collectively these are the shoulders that form the

  • foundation of our communities.

  • They're our friends, our teachers, our mentors,

  • our bosses.

  • They find time to drive community projects and car pools.

  • (laughter)

  • They lead our businesses and our birthday parties.

  • Our lives and our communities are blessed by everything,

  • big and small, that mothers and mother figures give us every

  • single day.

  • And that's really what Mother's day is all about: showing our

  • gratitude for all that they do.

  • And it's about attempting to give back just some of the love

  • and the care that these women have given us.

  • And that's really a big ticket to fill on just a single day.

  • I mean, when you think about it and try to do the math, I mean,

  • do 15 or 20 sleepless nights during high school equal a

  • bouquet of flowers?

  • (laughter)

  • Maybe some chocolates or a brunch?

  • (laughter)

  • I don't know, I don't know.

  • (laughter)

  • See, the mothers with teenagers really laughed at that one.

  • (laughter)

  • I don't quite know that yet.

  • The answer is really there's no way to quantify just how

  • important these mothers, these women are in our lives.

  • And there's no way that I could ever fully measure all that my

  • own mommy has done for me.

  • This is my mommy.

  • (applause)

  • This woman who tries to take absolutely no credit for who I

  • am for some reason, she is my rock.

  • She has pulled me up when I've stumbled.

  • She's pulled me back when I've run out of line,

  • talking a little too much.

  • She'll snap me up.

  • She really does push me to be the best woman that I can be,

  • truly, as a professional, and as a mother, and as a friend.

  • And she has always, always, always been there for me.

  • And as our family have grown, she's managed to expand her love

  • for all of us.

  • And raising our girls in the White House with my mom --

  • oh, not going to do this --

  • (laughter)

  • -- is a beautiful experience.

  • And the opportunity to have three generations living in the

  • White House, it's beautiful.

  • And I'm pretty sure the President's happy about it, too.

  • (laughter)

  • In this world there is so much going on,

  • we know that we're blessed, the Obamas.

  • We are.

  • Even though we live in the White House,

  • we know that our day-to-day family interaction isn't really

  • different from families living in Atlanta or Sioux Falls or

  • Tucson, because everyone is busy.

  • Ours is just televised.

  • Everyone is doing the best job that they can to raise their kids.

  • Everyone is looking for support.

  • And in his Mother's Day proclamation in 1979,

  • President Carter wrote: "In this time when the family is

  • subjected to many new pressures, the job of nurturing future

  • generations is often both more difficult and more important

  • than ever."

  • And it's as true today that proclamation as it was 31 years ago.

  • Really, one person cannot do it alone.

  • And for any of us who think we can or should,

  • we should just get over it.

  • We all need the support of someone in our lives.

  • For as singularly as important as my mother has been in my

  • life, there are so many other women who have also played

  • significant roles in my development.

  • The new perspectives that I learned from teachers and

  • co-workers has really helped to shape me, too.

  • So it doesn't always have to be a mother or a grandmother.

  • We each have those people in our lives who have given us a sense

  • of ourselves by giving us a piece of themselves.

  • And that's one of the reasons why we started the White House

  • Leadership and Mentoring Initiative here,

  • even with our busy schedules.