We can all agree that 2020 has not been what any of us expected — and a calendar in Jenna Bush Hager's TODAY dressing room that was awaiting her return reminds her of that.
"Somebody gave me this calendar, which I think now is hilarious," Jenna says as she gives Rach a dressing room tour. "It says, '2020: Cheers to an exciting year ahead.' And I was like, 'Dang, if they only knew.'"
So how has Jenna and her tight-knit family been coping during the coronavirus pandemic? Much like a lot of us have — with lots of Zooming!
"In March and April, we would do a Zoom every other Sunday with my whole extended family — cousins, aunts, uncles, parents," the Everything Beautiful In Its Time author tells Rach.
As for quarantine arrangements, "My sister [Barbara] and her newlywed husband have been quarantining with my parents." (You know, former president George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush.) "My sister's like, 'Dang, I don't know if Craig was up for this.'" LOL!
"But they've been all together, and we've been here," Jenna says. "I'm back at work, so we've been in the New York area, back in the city, with my three kids. I think that's one of the hard parts of this time. I hope I'm going to be home with them over Thanksgiving, but I just don't know if that's going to be possible."
Before Thanksgiving, though, comes election night, on November 3rd — which Rach reminded Jenna she and her sister usually spend together. Will they be Zooming instead this time?
"I think [Barbara will] be back here in New York, so actually … thank you for reminding me," Jenna tells Rach. "She wrote me yesterday. We have also a tradition of trick-or-treating, because she doesn't have kids. So she's the auntie that loves to really dress up." But they're not sure if a traditional Halloween is happening this year, of course.
Regardless, they might still be able to continue their tradition of spending election night together.
"You just reminded me that we can do the other tradition, which is watching the results together," Jenna tells Rach. "It's always nice to have a sister to do that with."
"Things are so different," she continues about life during the coronavirus, "but you do have to find the joy."
"I spent uninterrupted time with my children and did simple [things], like walking in the woods and staring at the moon, beautiful things," Jenna adds. "But I will tell you that somebody gave me the best advice and it made me crack up. Renée Elise Goldsberry, who played Eliza in Hamilton said, "Here's the thing. If you feel like you had so much to do and you didn't do it, don't worry about it. All you were supposed to do was survive 2020."
Now, Jenna might not be quarantining with her dad like her sister is, but she does have a special piece of him at home with her.
"At home, I feel so lucky," Jenna tells Rach. "[My dad] painted this really beautiful, big owl, because Mila's — my oldest's — favorite animals are owls." (If you know Rach, you know that it's her favorite animal, too! In fact, she was called "Little Hoot" as a kid, because she's a night owl.)
"It's so convenient to have a father who's second job was painting, because I can't buy something, but he'll paint me beautiful things," she adds. "And he's so talented, and more than anything, he's so happy."