Being honored with a Milestone Award at the Academy of Country Music Awards was sure to be a a big moment for Taylor Swift.
However, it was made all the more poignant by the fact that mother, Andrea, presented it to her.
"Like many of you out there tonight with children of your own, I am a very proud mom," Andrea Swift said at Sunday's awards show. "So I'd like to thank the ACMs for honoring [my daughter] in this way, but I'd also like to thank the entire music community for taking such good care of her. And to the fans... I know you love her as I love her, and for that, I thank you eternally."
It's been an emotional stretch for the Swift family. Earlier this month, the singer revealed on her Tumblr page that her mother had been diagnosed with cancer. She kept the details private, and explained that her mother's battle would prevent her from attending as many 1989 world tour dates as she'd like. However, it's clear that no matter how many miles apart they may be in the next few months, Andrea Swift is firmly in her daughter's corner.
"For many years, I was her constant companion, and I witnessed a young girl with very few friends become a young woman with many, learning to stand up for herself and the things she believes in," Andrea Swift told the crowd at the ACM Awards. "Being brave enough to explore her musical curiosity, having a voice against those who hate, and giving of herself to those in need."
The speech was punctuated by moments of levity too. At one point, she also told a humorous story about a situation that led to one of Swift's most famous songs.
"I've watched this milestone artist from the time she was a tangled-haired little girl growing up on our farm, full of imagination and creativity until right now, as she prepares for her next world tour, and ever since then, her favorite thing in the world to do has been to write a song, tell a story, play a guitar, or piano, and I've seen those things carry her through every emotion, every experience in her life, good or bad," she said. "Now, every once in a while her dad, her brother or I find ourselves to be the subjects of those songs. Sometimes we're merely the inspiration. Like the time she was 17 years old, and her dad and I strongly disapproved of a certain young man, and rightfully so. But she was mad. She was real mad, and she went to her room, and she closed the door, and she came out about an hour later with a song called 'Love Story.'"
Swift, like those in the crowd, was touched. Upon taking the stage, the "Style" singer embraced her mother before turning her attention to the audience.
"Somebody once told me that you truly see who a person is when you tell them something they don't want to hear. You truly see who a person is when you give them news that they weren't expecting," she said. "So to the country music community, when I told you that I had made a pop album and I wanted to go explore other genres, you showed me who you are with the grace you accepted that with. I will never forget it."
"I'm so happy, so happy that I learned how to write songs in a town like Nashville," she continued. "I'm so grateful that I learned what hard work is from my heroes who are all sitting here, and I'm so unbelievably proud that I learned to treat people with kindness and respect from country music. I love you so much. And to the fans... I'll see you right here in this exact stadium in a few months on the 1989 world tour. See you soon. I love you."