Thirty-six-year-old Today correspondent Jenna Bush Hager is looking back at the touching memories she has shared with her late grandmother and former first lady Barbara Bush. Bush passed away last April at 79-years-old, leaving behind a loving husband as well as children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
According to Today, Hager wrote an emotional essay as a tribute to her grandmother in the December issue of Southern Living magazine. In the essay, Hager recalls the effort her grandmother went to in order to ensure every little detail of Christmas was perfect for her family. She even meticulously hand-stitched Christmas stockings for Hager’s daughters, 5-year-old Mila and 3-year-old Poppy.
“When I imagine my Ganny, I think of her hands busy (usually her mouth too) as she meticulously needlepointed. She worked on many projects, but her most precious were stockings for her great-grandchildren,” Jenna wrote. The stockings were made with care, specifically for each individual child. Mila’s stocking included her name stitched in cursive with poinsettias, while Poppy’s had a cat watching Santa.
Hager joyfully remembers wonderful Christmases in her youth, when she and her twin sister would visit her grandparents in the White House. The family would often drive to Camp David where they would gather in cabins and escape the stress of their busy lives. “On Christmas Eve, we drove to Camp David, the Presidential retreat in Maryland. The cabins, named after the trees in the area (Aspen, Red Oak, Maple, Elm), were just the right size for each of our families,” she wrote. “We gathered in the main cabin, Laurel Lodge, for good food and plenty of laughter,” she added.
Although Hager has plenty of treasured memories with her grandmother, she knows this Christmas will be bittersweet. It will be the first holiday of her life she hasn’t spent with her grandmother. She notes that while the holidays are filled with love, the loss of a loved one becomes even more difficult during this time of year.
Hager also shared a few lines of letters her grandfather had written her grandmother long ago. After losing their three-year-old daughter Robin, former president George H.W. Bush began affectionately calling Robin their “Christmas angel.” Hager says she is now finding comfort in knowing that her grandma is now reunited in Heaven with the beloved daughter she lost.
While Barbara Bush left an evident hole in the Bush family unit, Hager rejoices in the many memories she got to enjoy with her.