Dear Jenna Bush Hager,
I had the pleasure of sitting on the front row at your event, A Conversation with Jenna Bush Hager, yesterday. When you mentioned that you’ve heard Richmond is the new Austin, I was the one that gave a big clap. I, too, am originally from Texas, and I’ve enjoyed Mexican food at Chuy’s and Shady Grove many times over the years. For this busy, ambitious mom of three, your candid and inspiring discussion with Kay Coles James was nothing less than perfection. All at once, you made me feel totally normal, amazingly extraordinary, and incredibly blessed to live a life I am proud of and one that challenges me to grow every single day.
Throughout the course of your discussion, you made me remember the gift that my loving and encouraging husband is to me, even if he will always leave his boxers on the closet floor just inches from the hamper!
The stories you shared about your forward-thinking and independent grandmother and your equally independent but steadfast and nurturing mother reminded me that I, too, was raised with a mother and grandmother that were not afraid to use their voices for good and dared to be different. Perhaps your real super power is that you managed to inspire all these things in my heart in less than an hour!
We gathered at St. Catherine’s School to support the Virginia Women’s Monument whose purpose it is to acknowledge the genius and creativity of Virginia women and their presence and contributions to the Commonwealth. The first statue will honor Adele Clark Goodman and her contribution to women’s suffrage. This is indeed a noble and worthy cause.
After spending a morning with you, Jenna, I now know that you and I share more than a love of Mexican food and our Texas roots.
It’s clear that we are both part of a tribe of women that strive to be curious and compassionate as we raise our children—children that will know the valuable role women have played in the building and shaping of our nation because they have watched us be part of it. We are raising girls who will know their worth and face the world ready to play big and share their gifts. We are raising boys who will be confident and strong enough to love brave, bold girls and together, this future generation will rise up and do great things.
Based on your passionate responses to some of the questions asked, I know you are working hard to not just tell Mila and Poppy to be kind and brave; you are showing them every day by the choices you make and the interactions that you have with others. You made it clear that you are not doing #allthethings perfectly every day. And neither am I! Thank you for reminding us all that we rise by lifting up others and by letting go of judgment, the need to judge other women, and the harsh judgment of ourselves.
We launched the Richmond Moms Blog community a year ago for just this purpose. We seek to include every voice and welcome every perspective so that our tribe might grow stronger and our experiences might be enriched by seeing the world through one another’s eyes if only for a moment. When hate appears in the world, mothers rise up to love harder and stronger than ever, and love is the strongest force on earth.
Jenna Bush Hager, you are indeed a fabulously normal mother with an amazing career you love and a busy and rewarding personal life.
Thank you for visiting Richmond, and thank you for being so real with us. Thank you for making an ordinary mom like me feel like a member of your tribe yesterday, Jenna. The more women like you use their powerful platform to connect and uplift other women, the more progress we will make toward honoring the collective value women hold in this country and around the world.
With great respect,