One day after writing a heartfelt letter to Malia and Sasha Obama with her sister, Barbara Bush, Jenna Bush Hager shared rare photos of the Obama’s first White House visit on Today.
Jenna shared the wonderful memories she and her sister made while living at the White House, but also how life after the world’s most famous home turned out to be “really terrific.” She said she hoped that Malia and Sasha will have similar experiences.
“It’s just amazing how fast eight years go by and how they’ve become these really unbelievable women,” she said. “We just wanted to make sure they knew.”
The Bush sisters shared an inside look at the first time the Obama daughter’s experienced the wonder of their new home, including a chance to slide down the banister of a solarium.
Jenna, 35, got emotional Friday on the show while discussing the letter she and her sister wrote to the Obama teens as they prepare to leave the White House.
“Of course I’m tearing up. It’s just amazing how fast eight years go by and how they’ve become these really unbelievable women, and we just wanted to make sure they knew,” she told Today co-hosts Matt Lauer and Meredith Vieira with tears in her eyes.
The women also read the letter in a pre-recorded video for Today, marking a rare moment in the spotlight for famously private Barbara Bush.
“In eight years, you have done so much. Seen so much,” the women wrote, adding, “We have watched you grow from girls to impressive young women with grace and ease. And through it all you had each other. Just like we did.”
In their letter, the two recalled taking time off their jobs in New York and Baltimore to travel to Washington, D.C. and give a tour of the Obama’s new home.
“To show you the Lincoln Bedroom, and the bedrooms that were once ours, to introduce you to all the people—the florists, the grounds-keepers and the butlers—who dedicate themselves to making this historic house a home,” they wrote.
The Bush sisters encouraged Sasha and Malia to “never forget” the White House staffers who lived and worked alongside them during their residence there, and to stay in touch with the Secret Service members who guarded them tirelessly.
They also shared some helpful advice about future endeavors.
“Enjoy college,” they advised. “As most of the world knows, we did. And you won’t have the weight of the world on your young shoulders anymore. Explore your passions. Learn who you are. Make mistakes — you are allowed to. Continue to surround yourself with loyal friends who know you, adore you and will fiercely protect you. Those who judge you don’t love you, and their voices shouldn’t hold weight. Rather, it’s your own hearts that matter.”
They concluded their letter by reminding them of the pressures of life in the spotlight that Sasha and Malia have already overcome.
“You have listened to harsh criticism of your parents by people who had never even met them. You stood by as your precious parents were reduced to headlines. Your parents, who put you first and who not only showed you but gave you the world. As always, they will be rooting for you as you begin your next chapter. And so will we.”