Obama Says He Got Very Emotional When Malia Started College

Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images.
We've seen Malia Obama grow from a little girl into a brilliant young woman, and it's evidently hard for former President Barack Obama to see her leave the nest. The 44th president revealed on Monday how emotional he was after saying goodbye to his eldest daughter when she went away to Harvard University this year.
"For those of us who have daughters, it just happens fast," he said in remarks at a reception for the Beau Biden Foundation, according to a clip posted by WDEL radio. "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."
Malia, 19, decided to take a gap year after graduating from high school. She interned at the Weinstein Company in New York City this spring, where she was praised for being a great assistant. And the couple of times her father visited her, well, New Yorkers absolutely lost it.
After vacationing together as a family over the summer, the Obamas were seen helping Malia move into her Harvard dorm in late August, when she officially joined the class of 2021.
"I was proud that I did not cry in front of her," Obama jokingly told the crowd about the experience. "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."
He then added that the moment was "a reminder that, at the end of our lives, whatever else we've accomplished, the things that we'll remember are the joys that our children — and hopefully, way later, our grandchildren — bring us."
Ugh, can we just hug him (and Michelle, too)? And if it's any consolation, we know Malia might be enjoying this new chapter in her life, but we bet she misses her parents, too.
Related Video:

More from People

R29 Original Series