Every parent can attest that watching your child leave the nest for the first time brings about so many emotions. Such was the case when former President and First Lady Michelle and Barack Obama sent their youngest daughter, Sasha, off to college.
“Time just goes so fast. But like so many experiences in the last 10 years, we wanted to make it feel as normal as possible, given our family’s circumstances,” Mrs. Obama told People. “It’s an adjustment to see each other for a weekend here, a holiday break there, but the moments we do spend together feel extra special because of it,” she says.
Though the Obamas chose not to disclose which school their 18-year-old is enrolled, they did share that move-in day with Sasha was a breeze. “We were there, just like most parents, helping her unpack and make her dorm room feel like home…But by and large, we let her take care of herself. As a parent, one of the most important things we can give our children is the freedom to find their own way in the world.”
While Sasha settles in at her new campus, her older sister Malia is in her third year at Harvard University (which is also Mr. and Mrs. Obama’s alma mater.) She tells People that while their daughters are off at school, she and Mr. Obama want them to gain valuable life experience.
“Barack and I try to make sure that our daughters know that there’s no limit to what they can be or what they can achieve,” she said. “They don’t learn that if their parents treat them like delicate little ornaments, set aside so they won’t break. Girls need to have the chance to create and explore and skin their knees from time to time, too.”
During her keynote speech at Essence Festival 2019, our forever FLOTUS gave us a more intimate picture of what life is like for the Obamas post-White House. While she admittedly worries about her daughters’ lack of privacy as they venture into adult still, but says she and Barack are still enjoying being empty-nesters.
“The Obama family is fine,” she said in her address. “Because we have our health and we have each other. We sleep well at night.”