"Becoming": A Conversation I'll Never Forget

I’m not even sure where to begin, but last night was a dream, yet again. I can’t seem to find the words to describe how thankful, moved, and inspired I am by Mrs. Michelle Obama. Last night, our family was overjoyed to attend Mrs. Obama’s book tour, Becoming – An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama, in Washington, D.C. There was a limited number of tour stops across the country, and D.C. was lucky to have two dates for Washingtonians and DMV folks. The arena was packed, y’all! Like, every seat was taken. I wasn’t the least bit surprised, though. This is Mrs. Michelle Obama, the First Lady of color, we’re talking about!

Before the show began, I had the opportunity to meet and speak with the woman of the night herself. Parker waited patiently until the fabulous First Lady walked into the reception, and she was overjoyed when she saw her! They were both excited to see each other, and I just looked on, teary-eyed, watching Mrs. Obama hold Parker on her hip as she did in March when they first met.

(Photo courtesy of Caroline Adler Morales)

“Is this real life?!” I wondered quietly.

There is something very magical and moving about seeing the two of them interact in person. I feel incredibly special to witness the connection and bond they share. Mrs. Obama eventually told Parker that she had to speak with other family and friends in the room. Parker understood and poignantly said, “Okay, I’m going to go with you,” and that’s exactly what she did. As Mrs. Obama made her way around the room, Parker stood by her side, held her hand, and greeted others who had come to the book tour conversation. I insisted that Mrs. Obama did not have to take Parker with her, but, of course, she smiled warmly and said it was fine. Just like all mamas do, she had her conversations and greeted others with a smiling, wiggly toddler, holding and pulling her hand. Unbelievable. Mrs. Obama is truly one-of-a-kind.

Watching their interactions was magical, but when Parker shared her great news regarding her recent deal with a major publishing house, I nearly melted. “We’re both authors now, Parker!” Michelle exclaimed, excited for our newest venture and happily sharing her support.

As we took our seats, I looked around and immediately felt humbled to be in the presence of so much intelligence, grace, humility, and honor. “It’s our stories, not our stats, that matter. Kids only dream what they can see,” Mrs. Obama shared, a quote I will remember forever.

Mrs. Obama candidly spoke about black fathers, how these special, deserving men do not receive enough credit, and she is absolutely right. Our First Lady’s father was always present. He, like many black fathers, was a wonderful example of fatherhood. He was always there, and he provided physically, with his time and attention, as well as emotionally. Her father did not have much money, but he was generous with priceless offerings – his time and his love. He was very involved in her life, and he was dependable, setting the bar extremely high for the men who would later come into her life. She also has a close relationship with her grandfather, having spent a great deal of time with him bonding over his love of music. This relationship was very special to her, and as she spoke about these fantastic men, I was immediately reminded of my father. My father was always present. He was always there for my sister and me, and he provided everything he possibly could. Of course, I thought of my husband, too. I am eternally grateful to have a husband who is an excellent father. He is loving, he dotes on our girls, he is dependable, and he provides for our family in the most selfless, joyful way. He makes sacrifices, and he always shows up, whether a dance recital, doctor’s appointment, or school function. This part of her discussion touched my heart as I was able to relate on a very personal level.

Parker’s favorite part of last night was seeing herself on the big screen during the pre-show montage. She squealed with excitement, and other attendees around us were just as excited. 

My biggest take away from last night, as a woman, mother, and wife, was that I cannot expect my husband to fill my “happy cup” as Mrs. Obama called it. I respect that our First Lady was so open about attending marriage counseling, too. I won’t ever be ashamed of the fact that my husband and I have had marriage counseling. We value our therapist’s presence in our life, and he has helped us weather some difficult storms. Marriage is not easy, as Mrs. Obama reiterated, and couples must continuously work on their bond as well as work on themselves. “Even a great marriage can be a vexation,” she shared.

The stories she shared and the talk she had with the moderator, her close friend, Elizabeth Alexander, hit home on so many levels. From marriage to relationships to motherhood to living in the public eye, she left no stone unturned. This spectacular woman continues to inspire my daughter and me, and, as I’ve said many times before, I could not be more proud that this is the person whom Parker has chosen to admire. Every word she spoke was bold, honest, hilarious, and heartfelt. What a phenomenal woman!

As we left the arena, we were met with endless smiles, words of encouragement, and admiration from other attendees. Ava happened to have fallen asleep during the talk with Mrs. Obama, but Parker was wide awake, past her bedtime, and engaged until the very end. Talk about a true supporter!

Michelle Obama’s Becoming not only has impacted the lives of millions of people around the world but has directly impacted my family’s life. The opportunities that have presented themselves to us after going viral and meeting her in March are never-ending, and I often find myself wondering how I will ever repay Mrs. Obama for inspiring my little girl and opening so many doors for her. I don’t know how I’ll repay her, but will one day, somehow.

“You’ve been with me on every stop of my tour in every city!” Michelle exclaimed referencing the pre-show montage that airs before the First Lady takes the stage.

Well, Mrs. Obama, Parker may have been with you at all of your book tour stops, but you will forever be in our hearts, today and every day. Thank you for endless inspiration, a genuine heart, and your willingness to remain transparent.