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Mother’s Day at the White House

The White House is no stranger to generations of mothers, and this year, it even houses a grandmother.

On Friday, Michelle Obama hosted a Mother’s Day Tea at the White House along with mothers, daughters and granddaughters who previously resided there, and she got briefly emotional as she described the “beautiful experience” of raising her daughters in the historic home alongside her mother.

“The opportunity to have three generations living in the White House, it’s beautiful,” the first lady said, after introducing “my mommy,” Marian Robinson, sitting nearby. “And I’m pretty sure the president is happy about it, too,” she added — to laughter from a group that surely included a few mothers-in-law.

“This woman who tries to take absolutely no credit for who I am for some reason, she is my rock,” Mrs. Obama said of her mother.

The multi-generational group included First Lady Rosalynn Carter and her granddaughter Sara; Mrs. Obama noted that four generations of Carter women were expected, but Mrs. Carter’s infant great-granddaughter “got a little fussy, and mom was like, ‘She’s got to go home.’”

Mrs. Obama said she has lunch with Mrs. Carter whenever both are in town, and called her “a wonderful support and a source of knowledge for me.”

Recalling that Mrs. Carter’s pet cause in the White House was mental health, Mrs. Obama, whose priorities include working with military families, said the former first lady has written a new book and the two of them will be working together on post-traumatic stress disorder.

Recognizing Tricia Nixon Cox, one of Richard Nixon’s two daughters, she told Mrs. Cox, speaking of herself and daughters Malia and Sasha, that in the White House “our favorite picture is your wedding picture that is in the colonnade downstairs.” Mrs. Cox had a Rose Garden wedding on June 12, 1971.

“We all stand and look at that and think about the wedding,” Mrs. Obama said to laughter, then added: “They’re not thinking about marriage, by the way. Don’t write that down on a blog. They just like the picture.”

She also referred to another photo — of Dwight Eisenhower meeting with black civil rights leaders in 1958 – in introducing his granddaughters Susan and Anne Eisenhower. It now hangs in the Oval Office of the nation’s first African-American president, elected 50 years later.

Other invitees included spouses and mothers of members of the military, in observance of Military Spouses Appreciation Day on Friday, as well as young women who are part of a White House Leadership and Mentoring Initiative.

“Even though we live in the White House, we know that our day-to-day family interaction isn’t really different from families living in Atlanta or Sioux Falls or Tucson, because everyone is busy,” Mrs. Obama said. “Ours is just televised.”

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