The Washington Post offers an interesting perspective on how the Obamas are integrating Michelle's mother Marian Robinson and their Chicago friends and family into life in the White House:
To help him adjust to Washington, President Obama has lifted an entire network of unassuming friends and in-laws from the South Side into the capital's stratosphere. None of them has been more suddenly transported than Robinson, 71, who has moved from the walk-up home where she spent 40 years to the historic mansion at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She has a room on the third floor, one level up from the Obamas, with a four-poster bed, a walk-in closet, a television set and a small sitting area for guests. She can walk down the hall to visit Malia and Sasha in their playroom, where the girls will spend as much time with their Nintendo Wii as Grandma allows. Or she can step over to the solarium to read on a plush couch or gaze out the bay windows, with their sweeping views of the Washington Monument and the city beyond.
Robinson sometimes yearns for her anonymous life in Chicago, but she is committed to making the president and first lady feel at home. And she is hardly alone in that commitment. Kaye Wilson, godmother to both Obama daughters, will visit about once a month to cook family favorites and twist Malia's hair. More than a dozen other friends and relatives -- some of whom have never so much as visited Washington -- are scheduling spring sleepovers in the White House.
How well the group handles its rise to extended first family could foretell the president's happiness in his new job. Obama generally shied away from new friendships during his political ascendancy, preferring the company of the people who had babysat his daughters and thrown his birthday parties -- people who would retell familiar jokes. As the state senator became a U.S. senator and waged a successful campaign for the presidency, the extended network provided a cocoon of normalcy. Now, as extended first family, the friends and in-laws wonder: Can normalcy ever be re-created?
- Not everyone wants to be (or have) a mom like Michelle Obama's (New York Times)
- How the Obamas instill family values in their children (San Luis Obispo Tribune)