Barack Obama opens up about parenting in sweet tribute

Former President Barack Obama reflected on his role as a parent in a touching Instagram post. (Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage)

The former president, 59, took to Instagram on Saturday to post a throwback photo of himself and wife Michelle Obama holding their two young daughters, Sasha and Malia, in their arms. But the sweet post was also a reflection on his own experience growing up with an absentee father.


“The fact that my own father was largely absent from my childhood helped shape my ideas about the kind of father I intended to be,” wrote Obama, who was raised by his mother and grandparents. “When Malia was born, I made a promise to myself that my kids would know me, that they’d grow up feeling my love keenly and consistently, knowing that I’d always put them first.”

“While serving as president, I made sure to have dinner with Michelle, Sasha and Malia every evening by 6:30. We’d eat some good meals and catch up on our days. That was one of the best parts of living above the store, as I sometimes called it,” he continued, referring to the family’s eight years in the White House.

Sasha and Malia, now 19 and 22, respectively, have progressed into adulthood. Sasha kicked off her college career at the University of Michigan last year, while Malia attends Harvard University.

“Seeing them grow up into the intelligent, strong and compassionate young women they’ve become has been the greatest joy of my life,” Obama continued. “I’m reminded constantly that there’s no place in the world I’d rather be than with Miche and our girls — and it’s why I’ve dedicated my memoir to them.”

The tribute came as part of Obama’s preparation for the release of his 798-page memoir, A Promised Land, the first of two volumes, which hits shelves on Nov. 17. In a second photo on the post, the dedication of the book reads, “To Michelle — my love and life’s partner and Malia and Sasha — whose dazzling light makes everything brighter.”

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Obama girls have temporarily left college to quarantine at home with their parents, Michelle Obama told Conan O’Brien back in September. While they were “all excited to be together” in the beginning, playing card games with their dad and even having a family painting night, that novelty seems to have worn off a bit. Since school started back up in the fall and the girls are in virtual classes, they are “no longer thrilled about being with us,” Obama said.

“Which was fine, ’cause we were pretty much sick of them,” she said jokingly. “And so the summer started happening, and then we could be outside a little bit more, and we came to [Martha’s Vineyard, where we still are, and so there’s more room to roam around … that was good, ’cause it helped us break it up.”

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