Archive for the ‘Dorothy Rodham’ Category

All of the past week, as Hillary Rodham Clinton wound up yet another whirlwind tour of Asia,  my thoughts of her were centered on Mothers’  Day.   Your first Mothers’ Day without your mom is a tough one.  After that they all are, but that first one is especially raw and rough.  It is that worst Mothers’ Day that all your life you have known is coming.  If your mom was always your biggest champion and wisest advisor (mine was), you feel her absence on that day even as you rejoice that you were lucky enough to have had such a loyal (if biased)  mom as your cheerleader.  So it did not surprise me when, in closing out her official appearances for the week,  as she accepted yet another award at the New York Women’s Foundation Breakfast early Thursday morning, Mme. Secretary celebrated the woman who was her mother, Dorothy Howell Rodham.

Even though we are living in a world of virtual reality, nothing substitutes for personal relationships. Nothing can replace that caring from one person passed on to another and another and another.

I learned this lesson very early from my mother, and since we are approaching Mother’s Day, I’ve been thinking about her a lot, since I lost her last November. And I was always struck at how despite a life that was much more difficult than anything I’ve ever experienced – abandonment and abuse and just really unfortunate kinds of early experiences – my mother had a resilience and a commitment to her family that she worked hard on every single day. And I often wondered – how did that happen? How could it be that you would be abandoned by your young parents and given responsibility at the age of eight to get on a train in Chicago with your six-year-old sister and take her all by yourselves to California to live with your paternal grandparents? How do you emerge from that emotional turmoil, that vacuum that still today too many children are placed into?

And when I got old enough to understand I remember asking my mother – how did you do this? How did you really survive without being paralyzed or embittered, being able to find from somewhere within the love that you shared and gave to others? And I’ll never forget what she said. She said at critical points in my life somebody showed me kindness; somebody gave me help. (Applause.)

Sometimes it would seem so small, but it would mean so much – the teacher in elementary school who would notice that she never had money to buy milk, who every day would buy two cartons of milk and then say to my mother, “Dorothy, I can’t drink this other carton of milk. Would you like it?” Or the woman who gave her a job in her house when my mother was 13 or 14 because she had to leave her grandparents’ home, and so she went to work as a full-time babysitter. But the deal was that if she got the children up and ready to go to school, then she could still go to high school, and so that’s what she did. And then the woman of this house where she lived would notice that she had only one blouse that she had to wash every day. All of a sudden, the woman would say, “Dorothy, I can’t fit into this blouse anymore and I’d hate to throw it away. Would you like it?”

Now, we think of those things as the kind of just personal connection and kindnesses that we take for granted. And in a time back in the 1920s when there weren’t a lot of formal organizations doing this kind of work, that’s what really mattered. Well, certainly today we still are primarily dependent upon individuals and institutions that are conveying the same level of kindness and caring.

We know that our Hillary learned well the lessons Dorothy taught her, and I have never let a Mothers’ Day go by on this blog that I have not expressed thankfulness that this self-effacing woman gave us such a well-nurtured daughter whom so many of us see as the best, brightest, most capable of contemporary leaders.  This one shall be no different.  Thank you so very much, Mrs. Rodham.  I miss you as I miss my own mom.

We also know that our Hillary is an outstanding mom herself.  Like her friend and mentor Jackie Kennedy Onassis, she raised a special daughter whom she managed to protect from the glare of the spotlight even as she allowed her a natural space to bloom and excel.

I love this picture for the look on Chelsea’s face and for Hillary’s hand on her heart where it so often travels when she speaks of her daughter.

This year, Forbes has named our hard-working, very effective Secretary of State the Number One Power Mom.  Yes, despite all the miles she flies and summits, interviews, town halls,  and ministerials she attends, she still considers being a mom her number one job and the most demanding one she has ever held.

World’s 20 Most Powerful Moms

Jenna Goudreau, Forbes Staff

With Mother’s Day around the corner, ForbesWoman analyzed the annual list of the world’s 100 most powerful women—based on money controlled, decision-making power and multiple measures of influence—and teased out the moms who are at the top of their game. From spheres of government, business, entertainment and philanthropy, these 20 moms rule the roost–and the world.

This year, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, mom of daughter Chelsea, ranks No. 1. With one of the biggest jobs in the world, Clinton is still a mother first. Two years ago as Chelsea planned to walk down the aisle, Clinton used email to stay abreast of wedding preparations, review photos and offer support. Global diplomacy and duties as a mother-of-the-bride were both “serious, important and stressful” jobs, she said at the time.

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So this weekend, I once again thank God that Dorothy Rodham raised this awesome daughter, this leader, role model and tireless warrior for women, children, and girls.   I wish that daughter and mom a happy, if  bittersweet Mothers’ Day, a long, healthy life, and anything her heart desires for her future.

Happy Mothers’ Day to all the moms here!

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Not only on Thanksgiving, but every day, I thank God for making me a contemporary of Hillary Rodham Clinton.  I am thankful for her earnest and brilliant service,  her tireless dedication to our country, her courage, and her honest blue-eyed gaze right into our eyes when she speaks.   I am thankful too, daily, for her dear mother who gave us her exceptional little girl.

Mme. Secretary, this Thanksgiving, as every day, I will be saying a prayer for your continued good health and safety on your many voyages.  I know your mother will be watching over you, and we, here at this blog, will continue following your extraordinary work.

Happy Thanksgiving.  May the Lord keep you safe.  Hope you have a wonderful holiday with all of those you love.

To all the readers here:

Happy Thanksgiving!  Thank you for your faithful visits and wonderful comments!  I thank God for all of you, too, and your devotion to our wonderful SOS!

PYW sent me this YouTube of Chelsea speaking about her grandmother.  I thought it appropriate to add it in here.  Have a lovely holiday!

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There is no text or video available right now, but there are a few pictures to share.  I know the Hillary Network has been concerned for her and is missing her, so here is a brief  Hillary-Fix from her appearance this evening at the National Democratic Institute’s 2011 Democracy Awards Dinner in Washington.  She looks wonderful.

When my mom died, I needed to buy something to wear.  My sister told me that mom would want me to look pretty.  Our moms always want us to look pretty.   Hillary does.  Very pretty.  Beautiful, as always,  in fact.   As always, Dorothy is very proud of her .. I am sure.

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Hillary Clinton Attends Fundraising Event with her mother Dorothy Rodham and her niece Fiona Rodham.

When a parent dies, the siblings come together to perform the sad ritual of making funeral arrangements. There is something comforting in that democratic process. Sometimes, the children are surprised to learn that the parent already had arrangements in place. I suspect that may have been the case with Dorothy Howell Rodham who passed away early last Tuesday morning. She had lived with her daughter in the family’s Georgetown residence but was an independent soul who would not have wanted to burden her children with the task at such a difficult time.

As the weekend draws to a close, and the daughter prepares to return to her work week, and a new normal – one without her mother there to greet her after a long, hard day at work – it occurs to me that there is another task to be accomplished. Particularly when it is the mother who passed, that duty always falls to the daughter(s) of the family: dealing with the personal effects.

That house in Georgetown has all of Dorothy’s things in it. I know some cynical people, even among Hillary bloggers, who would brush this off by saying that Hillary has plenty of money to pay people to do this wrenching task, but it is one that I believe Hillary and Chelsea would want to do themselves.

When packing the clothing, you run across something, a dress, a coat a blouse, that might somehow fit into your wardrobe even if it does not exactly fit you, and you keep it. I kept some of my mother’s nightgowns, and even though she was shorter and stouter than I, one of her winter coats sort of fit. I kept it for years. Wearing it somehow made me feel like mom was hugging me, and I missed her so much. I admired a jacket on a colleague some years ago, and he told me it had been his dad’s and wearing it was a comfort. For that, I doubt that Hillary would relegate this job to strangers or servants.

There is also the jewelry which customarily is distributed among female family members and perhaps friends. This is a long, difficult, and taxing task. It is not one that is entered into immediately. For a time, you want to keep the essence of your loved one around and these effects help. But ultimately it must be done, and my mind has been on this today. My heart goes out to Hillary and Chelsea as this duty confronts them, and it breaks thinking of Hillary coming home on Monday night and not finding Dorothy home as she has been all these years.

Mme. Secretary, having been there, I know what you are facing, and I would hug you if I could. There are still, after 16 years, things of my mom’s that I cannot let go of. I loved your mom, too. I wish you comfort in the weeks ahead as you adjust to your new normal and consider when the time will be to begin to go through her things. I hope you find a robe, shawl, or coat of hers that can give you a hug from your mom when you need one.

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Jessica shared a link to this superb op-ed below the fold on today’s public schedule, and HuffPo picked up an option to publish it.  It is so special and beautifully written, that I really think the traffic should go directly to the original post at the author’s blog.   Mr. Anthony wishes he could have seen Mrs. Rodham just one more time.  I, too, wish he could have.  This was a special friendship lovingly celebrated in his post. A must read!  Masterfully written and touching.

My Friendship with Hillary Clinton’s Mother: The Influence of Observant, Worldly, Hopeful Mrs. Rodham

Dorothy Howell at the time of her 1942 marriage.

Dorothy Rodham with her husband Hugh bidding farewell to their daughter, before departing the White House after the 1993 Inauguration festivities.

By 2005, Dorothy Rodham didn’t need to walk to the National Zoo alone. After all, her son-in-law had been President and her daughter was then a United States Senator and an aide or companion could easily have been hired. The mother of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who died at age 92 on Tuesday this week, liked her time alone, she once told me, “just to think.” Even though she termed her walking by then “labored,” in one of the letters she wrote me over the years, she’d determined to make her trip a daily goal and kept at it steadily. Her treat in going to the zoo, however, was not in observing the exotic beasts behind bars: “I find myself watching the people more than the animals.”

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