The Light We Carry – lessons in life

Eida Edemariam in The Guardian:

One afternoon not long after the Obamas had moved into the White House, Michelle organised a playdate for her youngest daughter, Sasha. The children were at their new school and she was worried about how they were settling in. So, in a move recognisable to parents everywhere, she hovered unseen nearby, listening intently, “quietly overcome with emotion any time a new peal of laughter erupted from Sasha’s room”. When it was over she did, again, what any parent of a small child might do, and went out to meet the new friend’s mother. She wanted to chat about how the playdate had gone and maybe make a new friend for herself – at which point all relatability abruptly ended: a rustling surrounded her as her Secret Service detail, who hadn’t planned for this, talked urgently into their wrist microphones. The mother’s car was swiftly encircled by a Counter Assault Team. Hey there, Obama said. The woman, “eyeballing the guards clad in helmets and black battle dress … very, very slowly opened the car door and got out”.

It’s a funny anecdote. But like every story in The Light We Carry, and in Obama’s previous book, her memoir Becoming, it is told in the service of a serious point, which in this case is that making sustaining friendships requires effort and intention.

More here.