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/ Source: TODAY
By Drew Weisholtz

It's official, Jenna!

Jenna Bush Hager took over as co-host of TODAY with Hoda & Jenna on Monday, and there were laughs, surprises and a few tears, too.

As the big day loomed, Jenna admitted she had a little trouble sleeping on Sunday night. But she was put at ease by an encouraging message from a guy who knows a few things about taking on big jobs — her dad, former President George W. Bush.

"You go girl," he wrote. But that wasn't at all. The former president also appeared in a videotaped message that left Jenna in tears.

"Hey, Jenna, your old dad here on film to tell you how much I love you and how proud I am of you," he said. "I know you'll do a fabulous job."

Hoda and Jenna are all smiles!Nathan Congleton/TODAY

Jenna's mother, former first lady Laura Bush, also sent a taped message along with Jenna's mother-in-law, Maggie Hager.

Well-wishes poured in from all corners of Jenna's world, with friends, family, a former student and even her own daughters, Mila, 5, and Poppy, 3, sending their best.

Mila and Poppy also got to be part of the live broadcast, rushing out to Studio 1A with their dad and Jenna's husband, Henry Hager.

Armed with flowers, the trio was all smiles as they surprised mom and wished her luck on this new chapter in her life.

Jenna's fourth hour predecessor, Kathie Lee Gifford, also took a moment to acknowledge the big moment.

Before she even sat down in the host's chair, Jenna received some words of encouragement from twin sister, Barbara, who recorded a message marveling how far Jenna has come since her days as a teacher.

"It's so incredible to me that she has found her voice, and loves using it ... she shows her real self every single morning, which is wonderful," she said.

Jenna, who joined TODAY as a contributor in 2009, is ready to leave her mark as she becomes Hoda's new partner.

Hoda Kotb is also ready to have her. As they opened the show, the pair talked about the importance of getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things.

"Why not swing for it?" Hoda asked.

"And that's what we're gonna do," Jenna replied.