The Matriarch, The Enforcer, First Lady, First Mom, Mom, and Ganny are just some of the names that the famous Barbra Pierce Bush went by. However, her most endearing and one of the more important to her was the wife of Former President George H.W. Bush.
“The Matriarch” ~ Susan Page gives the reader an inside look at the life of our “Nation’s Grandma.” Starting with growing in Rye, New York the 3rd of four children, to meeting a young George Herbert Walker Bush at a school Christmas party, to becoming not just the First Lady but also First Mom just 8 years later. Through it all never loosing track of what matter most to her raising beautiful, independent, self-sufficient children with her precious George by her side.
A few years after I was born in 1996 George W. Bush took the oath of office 2000. Back then I thought it was common that a son would follow in his father’s footsteps and become president. Come to find out it wasn’t as common as I once thought. In fact, beside George W. Bush there was only one other person to take the oath after his father and that was John Quincy Adams in 1825. His father was our 2nd president in 1797. Between the two families Barbara Pierce Bush was the only one to see both her husband and son start and finish their presidencies.
Before starting this book, I knew very little about the women that the nation nicknamed “Nation’s Grandma” and I only learned what I knew due to her passing just about 2 years ago. I had learned about the epic love story of George and Barbara Bush, and the family dynasty they had created together. The sad truth is that you always seem to learn about the greats after it is too late. Through this book I learn so much more about the women who deserves in my eyes more credit for the success of both her husband and son’s then she was given before her death.
I learned how devastating the diagnosis and loss of their 2nd child Robin of Leukemia at the age of 3 resulted in severe depression for the first lady. It was with never ending love and support that they had for each that they got through that tough period in their 73-year long marriage.
I also learned about the impact that she had while living in the White House. She was not just her husband’s biggest adviser and a big supporter of breaking the stigma with HIV/AIDS. Her work with literacy is something that I hold close to my heart as well. I feel that as important it is for this nation to grow in the world of technology, medicine and other areas, we won’t be able to do so without the key skill of learning how to read! Reading is what will get this nation to the next biggest discovery!
Even after leaving the White House Barbara was learning about the ever-changing world and learning how to except people for who they are. By learning about more about the LGTQ and transgender society. Also suggesting to her granddaughter and namesake (who had recently broken up with her boyfriend at the time) that there were other ways of starting a family on her own. Whether it would be through adoption or medical intervention. This taught me that even the older generations and have a newer outlook on life.
It was with the everlasting nurturing love, compassion, and trust that Barbara and George had for their family that the Bush family remains as close as ever. All the way up to the end Barbara was denying her family was a dynasty. Barbara was just humbled and incredibly proud of the family that she and the first boy she ever kissed created together!
“Somewhere out in the audience may even be someone who will one day follow in my foot steps and preside over the White House as the President’s spouse. I wish HIM well” ~ Barbara Pierce Bush (Wellesely College, 1990)