Michelle Obama opens up to Oprah about her new 'empty-nester' life with Barack
via WW / YouTube

The Obama family has been a big part of the American cultural fabric for over a decade and a half. We seen them mature as a couple and their children grow from elementary school kids to college students.

Where has all the time gone?


Malia Obama is now her third year at Harvard University and Sasha just started at the University of Michigan last fall.

So now the Obamas are entering another phase of their marriage: empty-nesters. How are they handling this new phase of life? Michelle Obama sat down with Oprah Winfrey in Brooklyn, New York, as part of Oprah's 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus tour, and told her all about their new life.

The conversation starts at 15:15.

www.youtube.com

When Oprah asked Michelle what it's like to be empty-nesters, she replied with an emphatic, "It is so good, y'all!"

"Parenting takes up a lot of emotional space," she continued. "I put a lot of time and energy into parenting these girls but right now we are trying to make their lives normal — so that means weekends were a pain," she said.

Raising teenagers while living in the White House was no easy task for Barack and Michelle.

"Because you had to worry about what parties they were going to, whether there was alcohol, who was doing what, I had to know who the parents were. So you're trying to do that as first lady, every weekend for me was hard," the mom of two explained.

Oprah then asked if the couple has more time for one another with both girls off to college.

"We have more emotional time, emotional energy," she said. "It's just me and him and [the family dogs] Bo and Sunny and dinner. And they don't talk, the dogs," she laughed.

Michelle was honest about the ups and downs of marriage.

"Marriage is hard and raising a family together is a hard thing. It takes a toll," she said. "But if you're with the person, if you know why you are with them, you understand that there was a friendship and a foundation there—it may feel like it goes away during some of those hard times, but it's something that we always come back to. And we're coming back to that point where we see each other again."

The Obamas have gone through a lot over the years, having spent a huge part of their marriage living in the White House as president and first lady. But according to Michelle, they're still the same people they were when they met back in 1989.

"We went through a tough time," she said of their time in the White House. "We did some hard things together. And now we're on the other end of it and I can look at him and I still recognize my husband."

After nearly 28 years together, she believes that Barack has held up his end of the deal.

"He's still the man that I fell in love, with who I value and I respect and I trust. ... He has been who he promised he would be to me," she said.

True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."

In the autumn of 1939, Chiune Sugihara was sent to Lithuania to open the first Japanese consulate there. His job was to keep tabs on and gather information about Japan's ally, Germany. Meanwhile, in neighboring Poland, Nazi tanks had already begun to roll in, causing Jewish refugees to flee into the small country.

When the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania in June of 1940, scores of Jews flooded the Japanese consulate, seeking transit visas to be able to escape to a safety through Japan. Overwhelmed by the requests, Sugihara reached out to the foreign ministry in Tokyo for guidance and was told that no one without proper paperwork should be issued a visa—a limitation that would have ruled out nearly all of the refugees seeking his help.

Sugihara faced a life-changing choice. He could obey the government and leave the Jews in Lithuania to their fate, or he could disobey orders and face disgrace and the loss of his job, if not more severe punishments from his superiors.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Sugihara was fond of saying, "I may have to disobey my government, but if I don't, I would be disobeying God." Sugihara decided it was worth it to risk his livelihood and good standing with the Japanese government to give the Jews at his doorstep a fighting chance, so he started issuing Japanese transit visas to any refugee who needed one, regardless of their eligibility.

Keep Reading Show less