“Malia and Sasha couldn’t be more different,” the former first lady, 55, admitted to the royal, 37. “One speaks freely and often, one opens up on her own terms. One shares her innermost feelings, the other is content to let you figure it out. Neither approach is better or worse, because they’ve both grown into smart, compassionate and independent young women, fully capable of paving their own paths.”
While her daughters are independent now, the Becoming author admitted that she has had to learn how to “let go” over the years. “Try as we [moms] might, there’s only so much we can control,” the Chicago native said. “And, boy, have I tried – especially at first. As mothers, we just don’t want anything or anyone to hurt our babies. But life has other plans. Bruised knees, bumpy roads and broken hearts are part of the deal. What’s both humbled and heartened me is seeing the resiliency of my daughters.”
Obama added, “Motherhood has taught me that, most of the time, my job is to give them the space to explore and develop into the people they want to be. Not who I want them to be or who I wish I was at that age, but who they are, deep inside. Motherhood has also taught me that my job is not to bulldoze a path for them in an effort to eliminate all possible adversity. But instead, I need to be a safe and consistent place for them to land when they inevitably fail; and to show them, again and again, how to get up on their own.”
She and her husband, former president Barack Obama, welcomed Malia and Sasha in 1998 and 2001, respectively. Had they been born boys, the Harvard Law School graduate told Meghan that she would have raised them “exactly the same.”
“When I was still in elementary school, my dad bought my brother a pair of boxing gloves, but when he came home from the store, he was carrying not one, but two pairs of gloves,” Michelle explained. “He wasn’t going to teach his son to punch without making sure his daughter could throw a left hook, too. Now, I was a little younger and a little smaller than my brother, but I kept up with him. I could dodge a jab just like he could, and I could hit just as hard as him, too. My father saw that. I think he wanted to make sure that my brother saw that as well.”
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