Too Short for a Blog Post, Too Long for a Tweet 146

Here are a few excerpts from a book I recently read, "Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life," by Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager.

Many times, though, my mom says the most without saying anything at all. When Barbara and I went off to college, she gave us each a photograph of her and my father as a young, newly married couple, before they had children. But it was not just any photograph. The snapshot, taken in their backyard, was given to an adoption agency after they had tried for years to conceive and had not succeeded in having a baby to love. When she handed the photo to me, my mother said, “Doesn’t this just look like two people who desperately want to be parents?” I still keep the framed picture by my bed. It was her way of reminding us that we were wanted long before we were born; that to her, we came first.

I sat on the dais and I listened as my dad spoke about struggling with alcohol, about how before he became a dad he might have been “slightly self-absorbed at times.” And then he said the lines that made me cry: “You see, what happened to me was alcohol was becoming a love. It was beginning to crowd out my affections for the most important love if you’re a dad, and that’s loving your little girls. And so, fatherhood meant sobriety from 1986 on.” I sat on a formal stage inside the New York Hilton, crying in front of strangers, because I realized that this was not a choice my dad had made once; it was a choice he made again and again, day after day. He was talking in a way I had never heard him talk before and revealing himself to me in a totally different way. In that moment, it didn’t matter that we were in public. It was just me and my dad.

For my entire time on this earth, I will share my birthday, and my life meaning, with one other person: my sister. There were three hearts inside my mama’s body before we were born—her heart, my heart, and the heart I know so well: Jenna’s.

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