Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush, no strangers to life after the White House, have told Malia and Sasha Obama that after Inauguration Day on Jan. 20, they will, “Be writing the story of your lives, beyond the shadow of your famous parents.”
The very personal advice from the twin daughters of President George W. Bush was written to the daughters of President Obama in an open letter published in full by Time magazine.
Bush Hager and Bush, 35, shared the letter just days before the Obama daughters will join what Bush and Hager call the “rarified club” of former First Children, describing it as a club with membership that Malia and Sasha didn’t seek and “one with no guidelines.”
“But you have so much to look forward to,” they wrote, also telling the Obamas, “you will always carry with you the experiences of the past eight years.”
Malia and Sasha, now 18 and 15, respectively, were also welcomed to the White House in 2009 by the Bush twins, both with a personal tour and a letter.
The 2009 letter from the then 27-year-old Bush twins gave the then 10-year-old Malia and 7-year-old Sasha advice like finding loyal friends, sliding down the banister of the White House solarium for fun and taking part in every White House engagement and trip they could.
Their current letter to Malia and Sasha reflects on all the sisters had done during the eight years of their dad’s presidency, from standing with President Obama at the gates of the cell where Nelson Mandela was once imprisoned, to hiking in national parks, and traveling to Liberia and Morocco with their mom, First Lady Michelle Obama.
“We have watched you grow from girls to impressive young women with grace and ease,” Bush Hager and Bush wrote.
When Obama leaves office on Jan. 20, Malia will continue her gap year before attending Harvard University in the fall. Sasha will remain with her parents in Washington, D.C., to finish high school.
“Enjoy college. As most of the world knows, we did,” the Bush twins wrote, acknowledging the occasional news they made as undergrads during their dad’s administration. “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.”
Bush Hager, now a correspondent on NBC’s “TODAY” show, and Bush, co-founder and the CEO of Global Health Corps, ended the letter with a reminder of the bond they share with the Obama girls.
“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,” they wrote. “As always, they will be rooting for you as you begin your next chapter. And so will we.”