Malia Obama, the oldest daughter of Barack and Michelle Obama, is starting college this year. Last year, she deferred her enrollment for a gap year. But this year she’s attending her parent’s alma mater, Harvard, ready for all those freshman experiences like bringing your own pepper to the cafeteria, sticking your red Solo cup in your sleeve so it won’t get stolen and getting so drunk at Halloween you end up in someone else’s costume. Okay, it’s possible Malia and I will have different frosh memories. But nonetheless there is one she’s already had that stays with a person for a lifetime – saying goodbye to her parents. Barack, The Former President of the United States (FPOTUS – the F is silent) was in Delaware on Monday at a reception for the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children. He was there to support his friend and former VP, Joe Biden and the foundation, named after Joe’s son Beau. He gave a short (no really – under five minutes!) speech in which he found a way to work in saying goodbye to Malia and casually suggested it was somewhat like open-heart surgery.
Watching kids leave for college is difficult for any parent—including former President Barack Obama.
The former commander-in-chief revealed how emotional it was for him to send his eldest daughter Malia Obama, 19, to college this year during a short speech at an event for the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children in Delaware.
“For those of us who have daughters, it just happens fast,” the 44th president said in a video published by WDEL 101.7FM. “I dropped off Malia at college, and I was saying to Joe and Jill [Biden] that it was a little bit like open-heart surgery.”
However, Obama was able to hold back the waterworks until he and his wife Michelle Obama left the campus.
“I was proud that I did not cry in front of her,” Obama said, “but on the way back, the secret service was looking straight ahead pretending they weren’t hearing me as I sniffled and blew my nose. It was rough.”
True story, my father would get so emotional over my departure for school, he’d picked a fight with me every time I returned for the Fall semester. Then he’d feel terrible and call me after I got there and say something beautifully sentimental that would just ruin me. Dads are messes. If you watch the video, it really seems like FPOTUS walked his speech around the block just so he could tell that story about Malia. As if the pain is still so raw, he’ll find a way to work her into every conversation. Like, Michelle will be talking about something that happened at the grocery store and all of a sudden FPOTUS will look off wistfully and say, “remember when Malia was so small she sat in the cart? ”
I feel for FPOTUS, I really do. Because you know what else felt like open-heart surgery? Watching the Obamas walk out of the White House. Only that was more like a transplant where the replacement heart went missing and now the country is lying on the surgery table with a giant, gaping hole where the heart is supposed to be and can’t fight off infection no matter how hard we try …
But this isn’t about us. This is about the Obamas and Malia’s exciting future at Harvard.
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