I tune in late at night when the kids are in bed and the spouse is hovering between wakefulness and sleep on the couch, the TV on low volume. My screen fills up with his presence. I watch for the next fifty minutes, my eyes glued to the laptop screen. Towards the end as his eyes seek out his beautiful wife and child, tears are streaming down my face. I don’t bother wiping them knowing what comes next will have me choked up with emotion.
There are few people around the world who cause me to have visceral reactions. President Obama tops that list. I first googled him after the 2004 DNC address. I read his speech, listened to it in awe. That he was a first class orator was a given, what mesmerized me was the fire in his words. No one can speak like that unless they felt from the gut. I devoured his memoir. I idolized the man. I read about the Michelle and her misgivings. I read about his little daughters. I exulted when he won in 2008. I watched with trepidation as the family prepared for a move to DC. Over the next eight years, I have watched him age as if in a time lapse video, the grey adding to his distinguished look. I have developed a fierce kind of loyalty to his wife, a role model to any woman in our times. I have watched her deflect criticism with elan, interact with children and dance away on TV. I watched her deliver one of the best speeches in her years as First Lady as she stumped for Hillary Clinton. I remember wishing with all my heart that she would one day be our President.
A week from now, the Obamas will fade from the limelight into civilian life. The legacy they leave behind however will be immortalized. President Obama will go down as one of the best Presidents we have had. As someone who loathes all things political, he reminded me that class and erudition is possible at the highest levels. He leaves office untouched by scandal showing it is possible to be a father and husband despite the unrelenting pressures that come with the job. The pictures from the White House show a man deeply in touch with his humanity. Someone who cherishes people from all walks for life. His pictures with children are my standard go-to when the world around feels overwhelming. His bromance with the VP Biden is one for the history books. Most of all, he has set a standard so high that it will be impossible for most incoming Presidents to even try and aspire to.
Goodbye my President, I wish you and your family much peace and joy. You will be missed.