Michelle Obama says it was ‘a little emotional’ to drop her youngest daughter, Sasha, off at college this past August, and she and Barack miss their girls quite a bit — but they’re also enjoying having more time alone together since becoming empty-nesters.
Just over two years ago, the former first lady, 56, and her husband, former President Barack Obama, dropped their oldest daughter Malia, 21, off at Harvard University.
Now that 18-year-old Sasha is off at the University of Michigan, Michelle says it’s ‘tough’ not to see their kids all the time, but she and Barack, 58, are ‘remembering what brought us together.’
Missing her kids: Michelle Obama has opened up about being an empty-nester since her daughters Sasha (left) and Malia (right) went off to college
Cover star: The former first lady was named one of People’s 2019 People of the Year
Michelle has been named one of People’s 2019 People of the Year, snagging one of several covers of the special issue.
Speaking to the magazine, she reflected on moving Sasha into her Michigan dorm room at the end of August — after having kept the teen’s college choice successfully under wraps until her classmates began spotting her on campus.
‘It was of course a little emotional to drop Sasha off,’ she said. ‘But like so many experiences in the past 10 years, we wanted to make it feel as normal as possible.
‘So 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 out children is the freedom to find their own way in the world,’ she went on.
All grown up: She said it was ’emotional’ to move Sasha, 18, into her dorm at the University of Michigan, but they tried to make it as normal as possible
Ivy League:Oldest daughter Malia, 21, is a junior at Harvard University, having taken a gap year after high school
Parenting techniques: Michelle said she and Barack try to ‘honor the unique flame each of them has inside … they’ve got to have room to breathe and explore’
‘We let her take care of herself. As a parent, one of the most important things we can give out children is the freedom to find their own way in the world,’ she said
‘With Sasha and Malia, [we try to] honor the unique flame each of them has inside. They are their own people, and that’s what I love about them. And they’ve got to have room to breathe and explore.’
Older sister Malia enrolled at Harvard in the fall of 2017, after taking a gap year to relax and complete internships.
Now that she and Barack are on their own again, for the first time in over two decades, they’re adjusting to being a household of two instead of four.
‘We’ve rediscovered all these little pockets of time, just me and Barack, that have been filled with school events or sports practices,’ she said.
‘We’re simply spending time with each other and remembering what brought us together. Sometimes I’ll get a glimpse of him and just go, “Hey you! Where have you been for 21 years?” It’s been fun.
One-on-one: Now empty-nesters, the couple has ‘rediscovered all these little pockets of time, just me and Barack, that have been filled with school events or sports practices’
‘We’re simply spending time with each other and remembering what brought us together,’ she said
Though she’s now published a bestselling memoir, she says there is no book competition between her and her husband
‘The tough part, of course, is missing our girls. 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.’
The magazine also asked the former first lady if there has been any competition between her and her husband since she published her bestselling memoir, Becoming.
Barack has published three books of his own: Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance (in 1995), The Audacity of Hope (in 2006), and Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters (in 2010).
‘I don’t think Barack’s got anything to worry about,’ Michelle answered. ‘He knows what he’s doing when it comes to writing books.
‘He always ends up with something thoughtful and profound, as only he can.’