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Why did you decide to write this book?

Bush Hager: I wrote this book actually on maternity leave with my youngest baby, Poppy. Ask any nursing new mother–you’re very nostalgic, and you think about what you want for your children. With the rise of technology, the one thing I didn’t want to happen was for my kids to lose the appreciation for being outdoors and being creative.

Does Poppy have a great bond with her great-grandfather, whose childhood nickname was Poppy?

Bush Hager: My grandpa was really sick when I was pregnant with Mila, and we went to say goodbye. Really, we thought he wasn’t going to live. He touched my stomach and said, “There’s life, and then there’s death.” I thought my girls weren’t going to meet this man who is such an important part of my life. And then he did live and got to meet Mila and now has held baby Poppy. We’re going to spend his birthday in Maine, and we’re taking the girls, so they’ll get to hang out some more.

Mrs. Bush, you are a park fan yourself, right?

Bush: I am, and Mrs. Obama and I are the co-chairmen at the centennial celebration for the National Park Service. I hiked in a national park every year that we lived at the White House with childhood friends of mine. We still do it.

What were the ups and downs of leaving the White House?

Bush: It’s great to have your own house and be back in private life, but it’s such a huge privilege to get to live in the White House, and I know [the Obamas] think that. It’s hard to believe that we’ve actually been home almost eight years.


This appears in the June 06, 2016 issue of TIME.

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