For the last eight years, the Obamas have called the White House home.
To them, it’s a place where Sasha and Malia grew from girls to impressive young women. It’s the only home their playful dogs have known. And it’s the place where the family’s happy memories will live on long after they leave.
“The memories that last ultimately are the family memories,” President Obama said.
President Obama and Michelle opened up in an exclusive interview in our historic October issue and reflected on their favorite memories from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue—and beyond.
1. Playing on the Lawn
The Obamas know that it would be shameful not to take advantage of the expansive South Lawn. “Watching your kids play with their dog on the South Lawn of the White House, whether it was sledding down the South Lawn on a food tray with the girls or seeing them play on the swing set that was erected here on the day we moved in,” Mrs. Obama said.
2. Taking the Dogs on a Walk
The entire country went googly-eyed when the Obamas announced that they had gotten Bo and later Sunny, two adorable Portuguese Water Dog. It took the dogs a while to get acclimated to their new lives, but they eventually settled in just fine. “[We would walk] the dogs around the South Lawn…trying to get Bo to move because sometime’s it’s hot,” President Obama said.
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3. Visiting with Special Guests
Over the last eight years, the Obamas have welcomed some of the biggest names in music and Hollywood. “We’ve had a lot of great entertainment here, everyone from Stevie Wonder to Prince to the cast of Hamilton and Beyonce, right in front of George and Martha Washington,” Mrs. Obama said. “And for every one of those events, were able to do something special for kids, locally and nationally, so they could enjoy some of that celebration for themselves.”
4. Taking the Girls on International Trips
The First Family has gone on their fair share of international trips, but one in particular sticks out in their minds. When President Obama first took office, the family went on a diplomatic trip to Russia (President Obama says Sasha was wearing a trench coat that made her look like a pint-sized secret agent). It was the girls’ first taste of presidential life. “That was their first real international trip…where you sleep upon the plane and then you’re up and have to go somewhere,” Mrs. Obama said. “We sat in the limousine and Malia was like, ‘I don’t think I’ve ever felt this bad in my life.’ That’s what jet lag feels like, baby.”
5. Talking with Sasha and Malia
Perhaps the most valuable memory, however, was simply being with Sasha and Malia and watching them grow. Whether it was taking walks across the South Lawn or watching Fourth of July fireworks, those are the memories that President and Mrs. Obama will cherish. “Being up on the roof and watching the fireworks on the Fourth of July and it’s Malia’s birthday, and they’ve all got their friends here,” President Obama said. “And even though by that time she didn’t believe me that I’d arranged all this for her birthday—just knowing that those memories would last them.”
Be sure to pick up a copy of our historic October issue featuring an exclusive interview with President and Mrs. Obama, on newsstands Friday!