In his farewell speech on January 10, after he professed his love and gratitude for his wife Michelle Obama, President Obama thanked his children, acknowledging what is surely one of the most unusual and rare upbringings one could imagine: growing up in the White House.
“Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances you have become two amazing young women. … Of all that I have done in my life, I am most proud to be your dad,” he said, directing his eyes to Malia. As if to prove she is being reared as normally as circumstances allow, Sasha was reportedly back in D.C. studying for a big exam. (Her absence sparked #WhereIsSasha, the younger daughter’s second major social media moment of the year; the first was when Obama dropped the news that Sasha tweets.)
Although Sasha and Malia have very much been a part of their father’s public image over his presidency—and a crucial one at that, completing the picture of a wholesome and happy family—the Obamas and their staff are protective of the girls’ privacy, and that includes photographs.
As Michelle Obama’s press secretary Katie McCormick Lelyveld told TIME in a recent interview, “What we determined was, if it’s a picture of the children at a public event, it’s fair game, or if it’s a picture that has their father in the frame. That was first tested in a photo with Sasha running down the colonnade after a Marine One landing. She was running to see her dad. It was a reminder that the White House is an office, a home and a museum. They live above the store, so to speak.”
Here are some White House-sanctioned photos of the girls growing up Obama.
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