The closer we inch to the end of Barack Obama's presidency, the more melancholy Americans get about the First Family. For the past eight years we've watched as the president's hair turned grey, as Michelle embraced pop culture greatness, and as Sasha and Malia were always reliably eye roll-ready for Obama's dad jokes at the annual turkey pardons. The transition into private life will surely be a change for the Obamas, but perhaps the most difficult adjustment for the president and the First Lady has less to do with leaving the White House than it has to do with their daughters growing up.
But Obama has remained rather good humored about it. In a recent interview on North Carolina radio station WDCJ, he was asked about his daughters dating, a concern shared by many parents. Obama said that he's "pretty relaxed about it," noting that it's been happening.
"One is, Michelle — she's such a great example of how she carries herself, her self-esteem not depending on boys to validate how you look... not letting yourself be judged by anything other than your character and intelligence," Obama said. "And hopefully I've been a good example in terms of how I've shown respect to my wife. I don't worry about it because they're really solid, smart girls — young ladies, now."
But Obama couldn't resist making a typical dad joke, saying in jest:
Another reason is because they have Secret Service. There's only so much these guys can do! These poor young men come by the house.
Humor aside, the Obamas have been a stellar First Couple, inciting equal parts adoration and envy over their seemingly perfect union. As the first African American family in the White House, the Obamas have already cemented their place in the history books.
In an interview in Essence magazine in October — accompanied by a photoshoot that almost made social media implode — the president and Michelle spoke of their legacy and their intention to further initiatives like Let Girls Learn and My Brother's Keeper. But they're well aware of the importance of their work in empowering African American communities.
"I think when it comes to black kids, it means something for them to have spent most of their life seeing the family in the White House look like them," Michelle told Essence. "It matters. All the future work that Barack talked about, I think over these last few years, we've kind of knocked the ceiling of limitation off the roofs of many young kids; imaginations of what's possible for them. And as a mother, I wouldn't underestimate how important that is, having that vision that you can really do anything — not because somebody told you, but because you've seen and experienced it. I think that will be a lasting impact on our kids."