President Obama got adorably sentimental talking about his daughter, Malia, leaving for college.
Barack Obama may be the president, but at the end of the day he’s a doting, emotional parent just like the rest of us. He proved as much during his first appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show this week when he couldn’t stop himself from gushing over how much he loves and admires his daughters.
Ellen asked President Obama about his relationship with Sasha and Malia, including how he and Michelle will cope when Malia graduates from high school and heads to college later this year. The President frowned and admitted it will be an exceptionally difficult transition, even though he knows letting them grow up is a necessary part of being their dad. He said, “As Michelle reminds me, our job is to prepare them not to need us. Both my daughters are wonderful people, and Malia is ready to go, but I’m not ready for her to leave.”
The President went on to explain that Malia’s high school administrators gave him the option to speak at her graduation ceremony, but he doesn’t think he can do it. He says:
“I was asked if I would speak at her graduation and I said absolutely not because I’m gonna be sitting there with dark glasses, sobbing. She’s one of my best friends, and it’s going to be hard for me not to have her around all the time. But she’s ready to go. You can tell. She’s just a really smart, capable person. She’s ready to make her own way.”
Aww. Gosh, Obama. Did you really have to go and make us cry like that?
It just proves even the leader of the free world isn’t immune to cooing over old baby clothes and wondering where his cute little preschoolers went. You can almost picture him in the Oval Office sobbing over an old photo album as he prepares to head out to the graduation ceremony. That’s the hardest part of parenting, isn’t it? You go into it knowing they’re going to grow up faster than you could possibly imagine, and you tell yourself you’ll be prepared to let them go, but it’s still impossibly difficult. Every new phase comes with as much sadness as excitement.
What’s really exceptional about Obama’s comments is the way he refers to his daughter as his best friend, and how much pride he takes in the woman she’s becoming. The transition to college and the outside world can include a lot of growing pains. I know with my own parents it was filled with arguments and rough patches where I was fighting for independence they just weren’t ready to give me. President Obama seems at least more prepared than most to allow his daughter to blossom into an adult, and it’s really inspiring to hear him talk about that.
While it definitely is our job to prepare our kids not to need us, knowing that doesn’t make it any easier. It’s refreshing to hear the president be so vulnerable, and for him to share his feelings about something every single parent goes through. No doubt Malia has a bright future ahead of her, and she can attribute a lot of that to the spectacular support she gets from her mom and dad.