Among the many challenges that Sasha and Malia Obama are about to face as the youngest members of the First Family, none may be harder than sharing their dad with the world.
Instead of reading them bedtime stories, daddy might be busy reading national security briefings; instead of playing dolls with his girls, President Dad might be busy talking with generals or heads of state.
Lest they wonder why their father chose to look after the free world when they need nurturing, too, Barack wrote his daughters a letter explaining his choice.
U.S. & World
Stories that affect your life across the U.S. and around the world.
"As excited as you both are about that new puppy, it doesn't make up for all the time we've been apart," Obama wrote in a letter, which was published today in Parade magazine.
"I know how much I've missed these past two years, and today I want to tell you a little more about why I decided to take our family on this journey. ... I realized that my own life wouldn't count for much unless I was able to ensure that you had every opportunity for happiness and fulfillment in yours. In the end, girls, that's why I ran for President: because of what I want for you and for every child in this nation."
In the letter Obama talked about his own life as a young man, saying he was self-involved but that his two girls changed all that.
"When I was a young man I thought life was all about me---about how I'd make my way in the world, become successful, and get the things I want," Obama wrote. "But then the two of you came into my world with all that curiosity and mischief and those smiles that never fail to fill my heart. And suddenly, all my big plans for myself didn't seem so important."
What is important to Obama, he wrote, is that his daughters blossom into successful, loving women who care for the world around them.
"I hope both of you will take up that work, righting the wrongs that you see and working to give others the chances you've had. Not just because you have an obligation to give back to this country ... There are things that I want for you---to grow up in a world with no limits on your dreams and no achievements beyond your reach, and to grow into compassionate, committed women who will help build that world."
The girls' father-in-chief ends the letter by telling the girls he's proud of them and grateful for their poise and grace.
He signed it: Love, Dad