Goodbye Obamas

don’t get political here, Shannon
*saves another draft of ramblings in google docs*

no one wants to hear you complain, Shan
*saves draft to google docs*

Watching Obama’s farewell address this week was bitter sweet. Ok, it was mostly bitter, but there was some sweet. While he spoke, my social media feed erupted with praise for his character and accomplishments. Lots of Mizzou friends shared photos of the speech he made on campus right before the 2008 election. Here’s mine. 

Taken five days before voting in my first election.

Barack is a skilled speaker and he was in fine form sharing his greatest hits.  It meant a lot to hear him speak about some of his shortcomings too. While Barack Obama hasn’t been the perfect president (have we had one of those yet? umm no), he’s been a leader and a role model in my adult life.

I kept it together until he started talking about his wife and kids. The last eight years we watched his family and how he treats and interacts with them. In case you missed it…

Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion.  You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily.  Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad. 

Still getting full body shivers over here.  I love that a father figure, maybe the most powerful dad since Danny Tanner, proclaimed to the world that the most important thing about his daughters wasn’t the way they looked or their smarts, but they way they act and treat people. That’s Feminism with a capital F. That’s what we should be telling our kids of either gender. No amount of As, looks, awards, money or fame should make a parent proud. Instead, we should set an example for our kids to be kind, thoughtful and full of passion.

Obama walked the walk, especially when it came to his family. I saw this with George and Laura Bush too. Granted, a president’s job is not to be a rock star dad, but it’s pretty cool when we get two for the price of one. We didn’t hire him to watch him raise kids or kiss his wife, we hired him to run a powerful country and he made time to show us both.

The press captured tender moments between Barack and Michelle and candids of the whole family on vacation. The rest of us at home thought, they are real people. People like us, who work hard and still find time to be moms, dads and daughters.

The way he and Michelle talk about each other set an example for marriage that operates as a partnership. Two highly educated and accomplished people join forces to support each other. He lovingly jokes that she’s the boss without making her sound like a nagging b*tch. She supports his work, but maintains her own sphere of influence. They appear together and apart in the news and entertainment worlds, but always maintain a unified front.

The Obamas let their kids go to concerts and meet celebrities, but Sasha also missed the farewell address for a test. Real Mark and Lynne move, if you ask me. Instead of picking silly fights or defending himself to his critics, Barack, and Michelle too, kept working. They showed their actual kids and this nation full of kids that people are always going to dislike and distrust you, but you have to keep doing what you think is right. They could have got into petty shouting matches on social media, but the Obamas are above that mess.

They both are avid readers and share their picks.  They advocate for health, education and the environment, all relatively voiceless causes. They milked their celebrity to shout about people in need and improvements to be made instead of personal attention. Whether or not you agree with his politics, Barack Obama has displayed nothing but character and personal integrity in the last eight years.

Luckily, the Obamas will probably remain in the spotlight and we’ll get to continue to watch.