Hope, Change and Malia Obama

In four short years, a girl can grow into a young woman, and a country can transform for the better.

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“I just wanted to build a fence around her and keep her away from all the ugliness of the world so that she would continue to be as beautiful as she is,” joked a friend of mine upon seeing Malia wave to the Chicago crowd on Tuesday. “She’s just as poised and humble as she could be. Thank God Michelle is her mama.”

The president has continually echoed that same praise, and for her part the first lady has fought to keep the family dynamics’ status quo at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Last year she told Today.com that White House staffers should expect Malia and Sasha to make their own beds and clean their own rooms.

“We fight for their normalcy,” she said. “I find myself checking with friends: ‘How did the girls seem?’ And they’ll say, ‘No, they’re the same kids. They’re the same girls.’ I’m like, ‘OK, good. Just tell me if you see anything. Just let me know.’ “

On Tuesday the entire country knew two things about the Obama girls: They had most definitely changed, and somehow stayed the same.

In keeping with the new theme of the campaign, there’s much to look forward to in the next four years of the Obama administration. Immigration reform, energy independence and education reform were all on the agenda in the president’s victory speech. All the while I imagined high school, first dates and college applications filing up those four years, too. And I became even more hopeful about the way forward.

Helena Andrews is a contributing editor at The Root and author of Bitch Is the New Black, a memoir in essays. Follow her on Twitter. 

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