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barbara bush

Barbara Pierce Bush   White House Portrait by Herbert E. Abrams

I imagine in the coming days stories of the former First Lady Barbara Bush will fill the airwaves and spread across the internet. This week her family informed the public the Bush family matriarch is no longer pursuing medical care for her life-threatening illness. Instead, she is choosing to spend her days in comfort care and to be among her family. More likely, she’ll be the one providing comfort.

So, there’s no better candidate today to profile than everyone’s favorite First Lady, dubbed fondly “First Mom.” For as long as she has been in the public eye, Barbara Bush has been the epitome of the perfect mother and wife. She is blessed with family-oriented values, refined, unquestioning, strict, and loving.

Besides those admirable qualities, during her tenure in the White House she was a champion of literacy, something that evolved from her own love of books and the Pierce family’s obsession with reading. And, she is an author.

bush memoir

Barbara published her memoir in 2015, telling the story of her life. The book covers her early years, growing up in Rye, New York, meeting and falling in love with George Herbert Walker Bush, standing by her husband in good times and bad through political campaigns and the White House years, and starting life again when the two left the Washington.

As a member of the Greatest Generation, the former First Lady was witness to many milestones in our country’s history and folklore. In her book she mentions the Charles Lindbergh baby kidnapping, Amelia Earhart’s flight, the Hindenberg disaster, and World War II. Her focus, however, was her family and her beloved lifelong companion, George.

Barbara credits her mother with advice that sustained her throughout her own, saying “You have two choices in life. You can like what you do or you can dislike it.” Barbara says she chose to like it.

Many would say it wouldn’t be hard to like what you do being brought up in the rarified atmosphere of Rye and in a home with a staff. Then again, as the saying goes, privilege and wealth can’t buy happiness.

“We always lived in happy homes,” Barbara says.

I wish the First Mom much happiness in her remaining days.