In an interview about the possibility of living in the White House with young children, Michelle Obama said she thought it would be a “gift” for her daughters to grow up there, being witness to history and having the chance to meet world leaders.
As an adult, it probably is a gift and an amazing experience, but for a seven-year-old and a ten-year-old, I’m thinking — not so much.
Of course, I don’t know their kids, but I do have a third-grade daughter who is just starting to get to the stage where she couldn’t care less about what’s going on in her parents’ lives. PunditGirl has her own agenda these days and it doesn’t involve the imposition of our schedules, professional responsibilities or what we think are enriching learning opportunities. As far as she’s concerned, it should be no problem for us to shelve work or social obligations for ice skating, soccer or sleep-overs.
Malia does seem pretty self-possessed, but I have to imagine that the thought of leaving her school, her friends and the home she’s grown up in will be a bit traumatic — it would be for any child, no matter how exciting a move to a new city sounds. Sure they’ll get the run of the White House (though probably not as much as Sophie on the Disney show Cory in the House!) and they are getting a new puppy, but the first daughters are going to have a very different life when they get here.
Odds are, they’ll be attending one of the premiere private schools in D.C. Even though they’re used to a private school setting, tossing in a Secret Service presence can only make it awkward to make new friends, fit in and carve out their own space, especially in the middle of the school year.
PunditGirl has been friends with her classmates for four years and I shudder to think how she would take it if we told her that we were moving to a new town and a new school where she knew no one, the neighborhoods were unfamiliar and where we couldn’t see extended family often because the logistics would be too hard to manage.
I haven’t taken a poll of Amy Carter, Chelsea Clinton or the Bush twins, but I hope one of them reaches out to Malia and Sasha to prepare them as much as is possible for the irrevocable life change that’s about to befall them.
As for making new friends, I don’t have a lot of room for the Secret Service to hang out, but Malia and Sasha are welcome to come over and hang out with PunditGirl in her tree house anytime!