With sister Malia off studying at Harvard, 18-year-old Sasha Obama headed off to college at the University of Michigan last fall, leaving parents Barack and Michelle Obama with a very empty nest. In a chat with Oprah Winfrey during her Vision Tour 2020 in Brooklyn on February 8, the former First lady revealed that it was only after Sasha settled in her new dorm and pared down her wardrobe for her smaller space with mom’s help – "I had to tell her, girl, you cannot keep all these clothes, and these shoes!" laughed Michelle – that the onetime first couple “bawled like babies.”
The shock of Sasha’s departure only settled in later for mom and dad as they returned home from dropping her off. “When the emotions come is when we're getting in our cars and getting on a plane and leaving our babies and they're going somewhere where they now live. That's when it hits you,” Michelle reflected.
“We all start choking up. We all try to hold it together... and then me and Barack , we bawled like babies. You know, Barack, has that ugly, loud cry... he did that at Malia’s graduation. We're sitting there, he had his sunglasses on, and speeches are happening, and then you hear [sobbing sounds]," she laughed.
It is not the first time Michelle had opened up about empty nest syndrome. During a Today show interview with Jenna Bush Hager, she talked about the melancholy she experienced when she realized that Sasha and Malia are no longer “the little girls that would sit on your lap and listen to your every word.”