For Jenna Bush Hager, dropping her two eldest kids off at summer camp was quite the emotional experience. The Today host confessed that she held back tears while saying goodbye to her daughters, Mila and Poppy, recently.

“Little tears under my big sunglasses,” Jenna, 42, told cohost Hoda Kotb during an episode of their talk show on Monday, July 8, in which a photo of her with her daughters flashed on the screen.

“Poppy was like, ‘But what about the spiders in the bathroom?’ and I was like, ‘You’re going to become friends with the spiders in the bathroom,’” the former first daughter recalled. “She’s like, ‘But what about the heat?’ I’m like, ‘It’s going to become normal to you’ … it’s hot there.”

Jenna went to the same camp when she was a child, so it was a nostalgic experience seeing her girls off.

“Mila was totally like, ‘OK, so here’s what you do, Poppy. I know you’re going to want a Sprite, but Sprite’s make you feel nauseous on the first day because you’re not used to the heat. And here’s what else you do. Wake up early to use the restroom because if you don’t have your own space, I’m not sure how you’re going to be able to do it.’ Just all of these sort of big sister things,” Jenna said.

When Hoda, 59, asked Jenna how she felt after sending the girls off to camp, she had a very touching answer. “Two of my three hearts are far away from me,” she said.

“The first year I dropped Mila, I had a real issue,” the doting mom told the audience. “I felt like something was wrong. I’m just so happy they’re going to have a great [few] weeks”

Jenna Bush Hager Holds Back Tears Dropping Daughters at Summer Camp
Courtesy of Jenna Bush Hager/Instagram

On the flip side of the conversation, Jenna revealed that when she was a kid and she was dropped off at summer camp with her twin sister, Barbara Bush, their parents had a completely different reaction.

“Were your mom and dad crying?” Hoda asked Jenna of her parents, former President George W. Bush and former first lady Laura Bush.

“No — they high-fived each other because both of us were gone,” Jenna confessed. “I even wrote them letters like, ‘Dear mom and dad, here are my friends’ and I wrote all the people in the cabin. And then the next letter was, ‘Dear mom and dad, that last letter was a lie. I have zero friends.’”

Jenna said that she “prayed” for her parents to come pick her up but they never came. “My first year was just rough because I was an odd child,” she said.

Last year, Jenna, who also shares son Hal with husband Henry Hager, reflected on welcoming Mila, 11, back home after her time away at camp.

“My weekend was great. I went down to Texas and we got our girl back!” she told Hoda before showing a video of Mila leaping into her arms.

Her eldest child had a great time at camp in 2023. She was later seen in the video sharing a sweet hug with Poppy, 8.

“She loves it. She’s probably one of the only kids from the Northeast,” Jenna said. “It’s a lot of Texans and it’s really hot. There’s no air conditioning and she loves it. It’s so fun to go see her and feel that independence. Sleepaway camp is a right of passage.”