Reflections: Life After the White Houseby Barbara Bush
Not since Abigail Adams has one woman been both the wife and mother of presidents. Barbara Bush's prominent place in American history is matched only by her/b>
"There is a myth in the United States -- you've heard it many times. It says that all American mothers hope that their child will grow up to be President of the United States...." -- Barbara Bush
Not since Abigail Adams has one woman been both the wife and mother of presidents. Barbara Bush's prominent place in American history is matched only by her extraordinary popularity: Republicans and Democrats alike appreciate her wit, her compassion, and her devotion to her family. Dignified, loyal, and unpretentious, the former First Lady defied skeptics to become one of the most admired first ladies in history -- and she remains a beloved public figure today.
In this inspiring follow-up to her number-one bestselling memoir, Mrs. Bush covers the momentous eight years between President George H. W. Bush's leaving office and President George W. Bush's 2001 inauguration. Reflections comprises Mrs. Bush's diary entries, travelogues, family photographs, even secret recipes. She discusses her experiences in the White House, on the campaign trail, and in the public eye, as well as her own views about such controversial issues as her husband's resignation from the NRA, the caning of an American student in Singapore, and -- in her candid epilogue -- her family's reactions to September 11, 2001.
Throughout, the extraordinary amount of love and pride Mrs. Bush feels for her husband, five children, and fourteen grandchildren is always clear. Reflections will delight Barbara Bush's millions of admirers with her touching anecdotes and personal revelations from the past decade of a full and fascinating life.
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Read an Excerpt
January 20, 2001
There is a myth in the United States you've heard it many times. It says that all American mothers hope that their child will grow up to be President of the United States. In my case that certainly is a myth. I never dreamed that any of ours would; there were days when I hoped that they'd just grow up!
I did hope for our children to be happy. I also hoped they would be decent, responsible, independent, and caring. Besides that, I hoped they would believe in a greater being, God. All our children have achieved those dreams.
But on January 20, 2001, even without having wished that one of our children would grow up to be president, there we were sitting on the west side of the United States Capitol, waiting for our son, George W., be sworn in as the forty-third president of the United States of America. Can anyone understand how we felt? I'm not sure we did. Afterward, I wrote down my thoughts during the Inauguration:
In a few moments our son will walk down the steps, take a seat and at noon will be sworn in surrounded by family, friends, the [Supreme] Court, the incoming Cabinet, the Congress, the outgoing president and Vice President, and many others. We are thrilled to see former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn Carter sitting on the platform. Rosalynn had written me such a nice card:
Congratulations! How proud you must be.
As a mother, I can feel the exhilaration you are experiencing having a son become president of the United States. Jimmy and I will be thinking of you and George and be in prayer, too, for George W. as he assumes this most powerful position.
We are happy for you and know our country is in good hands.
Merry Christmas to all your family,
We received hundreds of cards and letters after that very painful election finally ended. These messages came from Democrats and Republicans alike. I believe that this card meant more to me than all the others we received about the election and the final results. I thought that was most generous of her and meant a lot coming from someone who knew exactly what the job entailed...
I know I should be thinking marvelous deep and lofty thoughts, but I find myself thinking of Al Gore and what he must be feeling. He walked down the steps with a broad smile on his face and I saw him shaking hands with Coretta Scott King and other friends. His step faltered a little when he came to Jim Baker. He shook his hand and moved on. Jim Baker, a longtime Bush family friend and distinguished former Secretary of State, was George W.'s lead lawyer in Florida. Jim certainly acted as a statesman throughout the whole hideous vote recount debacle. He is credited by many of us, along with 50-plus lawyers, with seeing that the recounts were honest. The V.P. walked down the steps and took his seat one over from the Supreme Court. I'm sure that Al Gore has no love for them after their vote to stop the recount. And, if one can believe many of the speculative stories about why Al Gore lost the election, he is sitting next to the man who he believes lost the election for him, Bill Clinton. I'm sure he thinks he won the race, and although I don't, I do feel sorry for him. He is gracious, and a minute ago came over to shake our hands and to meet Jenna and Barbara, George and Laura's twin daughters. We've lost and losing is not easy.
This all took me back eight years ago to January 20, 1993, when many of the same cast of characters were on the same Capitol steps the difference being that my George and Dan Quayle were sitting in the seats where Bill Clinton and Al Gore were sitting that day, and where George W. Bush and Dick Cheney would sit in a few moments. What an incredible eight years it had been...
Copyright © 2003 by Barbara Bush
Meet the Author
Barbara Bush was born in Rye, New York, and married George H.W. Bush in 1945. She was the First Lady of the United States from 1989 to 1993. She has five children, including President George W. Bush and Florida Governor Jeb Bush, and fourteen grandchildren. She is the founder of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy. She lives in Houston, Texas, and Kennebunkport, Maine.
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