Before news broke on Sunday of former First Lady Barbara Bush‘s decision not to seek further medical treatment despite her failing health, four generations of Bush women got together recently for a very special family portrait.
In Town and Country‘s preview of photographer Claiborne Swanson Frank’s new book, Mother and Child, the former first lady posed alongside her female family members in a gorgeous photo taken by the water in Kennebunkport, Maine.
The former first lady was joined by her daughter-in-law (and fellow former first lady) Laura Bush as well as Laura’s twin daughters, Barbara Pierce Bush and Jenna Bush Hager, and Jenna’s daughters with husband Henry Hager, Mila, 5, and Poppy, 2.
“You could tell Maine was their happy place,” photographer Swanson Frank told Town and Country. “Where they’re most free, most comfortable, where they take the time to enjoy each other and the focus is on the family.”
Barbara Bush, Laura Bush, Barbara Pierce Bush, Jenna Bush Hager and daughters Mila and Poppy
In addition to showcasing the loving portraits, the book also highlights some of the women’s best parenting advice.
One of the pearls of wisdom Laura Bush has to offer: “Take advantage of your life as it is,” she said in the book, which is in stores now.
“When Barbara and Jenna were born, their grandfather (George H.W. Bush) was already vice president,” Mrs. Bush explained during an appearance on Today earlier this year. “And one of the things they did as soon as they learned how to dial the phone was call the White House switchboard and prank call the White House. They got in trouble for that.”
“We kept calling over and over again,” Jenna recalled. “My mom came into our room and we were getting in trouble and we were afraid we were going to get spanked because this was the ’80s, people spanked back then.”
As a precaution for their potential punishment, Jenna said the girls “put hardcover books in our pants because we knew we were going to get in trouble and we were like, ‘Okay, we gotta protect our booties.’ ”
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While Jenna and Barbara never lived in the White House (they were 20 when their father, George W. Bush, began his first term as president), they may have gotten some karma for their prank calls after they experienced what they believed was a ghostly encounter in the historic home.
“We were in bed, dozing off, heard someone singing from the fireplace, like an opera-type singing,” Barbara recalled to PEOPLE last year. “Then we heard piano music, like creepy olden times piano music coming out of the fireplace.”
Jenna Bush Hager and Barbara Pierce Bush
The young women were so spooked they considered running into their parents’ bedroom — until they thought better of it. “We were too old!” Jenna said.
Barbara agreed: “We talked ourselves down and did not get in bed with our parents.”