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President Obama in full dad mode, enjoying parenthood

The president attended Malia’s high school graduation and celebrated Sasha’s birthday

“Family over everything” is a widely held belief — even if it does sometimes throw work/life balance out of whack. So it’s fitting that President Barack Obama reminded us that before anything else, he’s a father and a husband.

While the rest of the country was watching the greatest of all time of the boxing world being laid to rest, the president was just being dad. He declined to speak at Muhammad Ali’s memorial service because he had to fill his dad shoes.

Almost eight years after Obama’s entrance into office, Malia Obama graduated from Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., on Friday.

Nothing can prepare a father for those bittersweet moments.

“Michelle and I are way too young to have daughters who are both almost in college now. So as a parent, I was a little freaked out,” Obama said when Malia first went to high school.

A Jan. 5, 2005 file photo shows Vice President Dick Cheney, right, administering the Senate oath to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, during a mock swearing-in on Capitol Hill as his wife Michelle, center, and children, Malia, front left, and Sasha look on.

On Jan. 5, 2005, Vice President Dick Cheney (R) administering the Senate oath to Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., left, during a mock swearing-in on Capitol Hill as his wife Michelle, center, and children, Malia, (front left) and Sasha look on.

AP Photo/Lawrence Jackson

Walking into a commencement ceremony as the president of the United States is one thing. But walking into a high school graduation as a father of one of the graduates brings on a whole new set of emotions.

Obama admitted in past interviews that he’d dread the day his firstborn would graduate from high school.

“I do a lot of commencements around this time of year — which I love doing, although my older daughter is graduating this week and I will not be able to handle that well,” Obama said at the Democratic National Committee fundraiser in New York last Wednesday.

“Malia, who will be graduating this week, is very eager to get out of there [the White House]. I’ve got some sunglasses … one more example of the president crying,” he said on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon last Thursday.

During the midmorning ceremony, the Obamas were a high-profile family there to watch their daughter’s commencement. The White House staff requested that no photos be taken of the Obama’s special moment. The president was asked to speak at the graduation but he knew before the event, he would be overcome with emotion — so he declined.

“She’s one of my best friends,” Obama told talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres of Malia during a Feb. 12 broadcast. “It’s going to be hard for me not to have her around all the time, but she’s ready to go. She’s just a really smart, capable person and she’s ready to make her own way.”

Malia was accepted into Harvard University and has chosen to take a gap year. She is expected to arrive on campus in 2017.

The first family also celebrated Sasha’s 15th birthday on the same day.

Kelley Evans is a digital producer at Andscape. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic Southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.