Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Bush, former President George W. Bush’s twin daughters, penned a letter to Malia and Sasha Obama offering the first kids some words of wisdom on what life is like after leaving 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
“We saw both the light and wariness in your eyes as you gazed at your new home,” the Bushes wrote. “When you slid down the banister of the solarium, just as we had done as 8-year-olds and again as 20-year-olds chasing our youth, your joy and laughter were contagious.”
Reflecting on the many rare opportunities afforded to first children, as well as the challenges of constant public scrutiny, the Bush twins urged the Obamas to seize the chance to make lives of their own.
“Now you are about to join another rarified club, one of former First Children—a position you didn’t seek and one with no guidelines. But you have so much to look forward to,” reads the letter. “You will be writing the story of your lives, beyond the shadow of your famous parents, yet you will always carry with you the experiences of the past eight years.”
Both Bush daughters have forged successful careers outside the realm of politics. Jenna is a correspondent for NBC’s “Today Show,” and Barbara is the co-founder and president of Global Health Corps, a nonprofit supporting “emerging global health leaders.”
The Bushes also encouraged the Obamas to enjoy themselves in their post-White House lives.
“Enjoy college. As most of the world knows, we did,” the Bush twins advise, winking at their citations for underage drinking in 2001. “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.”
The Obama family plans to remain in Washington while Sasha finishes high school. Malia, meanwhile, is set to attend Harvard University this fall after a gap year between high school and college.