Michelle And Barack Obama's Relatable Reaction To Daughter Sasha Leaving For College

Michelle and Barack Obama have a tight-knit bond with their daughters, Malia and Sasha. "The love of being a father was not something I had to work on," the former president said on his podcast with Bruce Springsteen, per Popsugar. "The attachment to my children I felt entirely and completely." While both parents felt a strong connection to their daughters, Michelle noted the importance of respecting their autonomy while building a relationship with Sasha and Malia. "Being a mother has been a masterclass in letting go. Try as we might, there's only so much we can control," Michelle explained to British Vogue in 2019. "My job is to give them the space to explore and develop into the people they want to be."

By the time Sasha, their youngest daughter, was ready to leave home for college, the family kept this balance in mind. "There were [tears],” the former first lady said on "Today" in 2019. However, the family tried to play it cool while dropping Sasha off at the University of Michigan. "We didn't want to embarrass her because she had roommates," Michelle recalled. "We said that final goodbye ... We got into a car, me, Barack, and Malia, who was there with us ... Then Sasha drove off on her own and said that last goodbye, that's when we were like [crying noise]." But this wasn't the first time the Obamas were tearful when one of their kids left home.

The Obamas were also sad when Malia went to college

The tears started even earlier for Barack Obama as he mentally prepared for his oldest daughter Malia to graduate high school. "My daughter leaving me is just breaking my heart," he admitted during a 2016 speech. "If there are any parents here, I hope you can give me some pointers on how not to cry too much at the ceremony and embarrass her."

After taking a gap year to travel and intern to gain professional experience, Malia studied filmmaking at Harvard, her parents' alma mater. While Barack compared the experience of dropping her off at college to "open-heart surgery," he endeavored to hold back his emotions until after they said goodbye, just like he would two years later with Sasha. "I was proud that I did not cry in front of her," the former president reflected. "But on the way back, the Secret Service was off, looking straight ahead, pretending they weren't hearing me as I sniffled and blew my nose. It was rough."

Michelle has also expressed the bittersweet aspects of having grown children. "I'm excited for my girls to grow up and to become independent," she acknowledged on "Today." However, despite her pride in her grown daughters, she also noted, "I feel a little melancholy that they will never be the little ones that sit on your lap and listen to your every word and look at you adoringly."

Malia and Sasha have a close relationship

Now that their daughters are adults, Michelle and Barack Obama continue to enjoy a close bond with Malia and Sasha. Now 24 and 22, respectively, both sisters continue joining in their family's annual trip to Hawaii — Barack's home state. The former president and first lady also reveled in unexpected closeness when their daughters quarantined with them during the COVID-19 pandemic. "Those recaptured moments have meant the world to us, and I think they've made our relationships with our children even stronger," Michelle informed People. "If you sit around the dinner table, me and Barack, we can't get a word in edgewise, and we like it like that," she said on "Good Morning America." "We want to hear their thoughts and their opinions."

Although Malia and Sasha eventually got sick of quarantining with their parents, the sisters apparently enjoy living together in Los Angeles. Malia was already living there and working in the entertainment industry when Sasha moved in after transferring to the University of Southern California. "To see them in that place where they're one another's support systems and they've got each other's backs, it's the thing that a mother would want." Michelle said on another episode of "Today." However, the former FLOTUS notes she and Barack are compelled to text parental advice occasionally. "You have these weird panic thoughts that your girls are out living in this messy world," she explained to People. "You think about crazy things you want to make sure you tell them."