The Obamas' time as the first family of the United States is coming to an end, but the eight years they spent in the national spotlight won't be forgotten. Let's face it: Millions of people are going to miss the Obamas being our first family. They are American icons, both as a group and as individuals. And though they faced adversity and criticism during their time in the White House, they are set to leave the same way they entered: as a loving and united family.
Obviously, the Obamas are far from the first family to live in the White House together; Malia and Sasha are by no means the first kids to grow up there. But the combination of the 24-hour news cycle and the ubiquity of social media made the Obamas a daily presence in Americans' lives. In addition to watching them all grow older, the nation had a front-row seat to their many of their special family moments.
We saw Barack and Michelle mark their wedding anniversaries and steal offstage kisses, Malia and Sasha celebrate birthdays and attend music festivals, and all of them rub elbows with celebrities and everyday Americans alike. And we also got candid looks of the Obamas just being a normal family, outside of the orchestrated settings of press conferences and photo ops. With all of this newfound connectedness, the Obamas were truly our first family, and boy do we appreciate them right now.
Here are just some of the reasons we'll miss the Obamas come Jan. 20.
1. They were the United Sates' first black first family (and, for that matter, the first non-white first family in the nation's history).
2. They are never shy about showing their love for one another...
3. ... or showing genuine respect for those they may have disagreed with.
7. ... and invited hip-hop artists to the White House several times, celebrating rap and hip hop as aspects of American culture.
8. Obama even made June 2016 African American Music Appreciation Month.
9. Not to mention that Obama started his very own technology and music festival, South by South Lawn.
10. They used their off times to appreciate America's natural splendor and national parks...
11. ... while Michelle used her platform as first lady to inspire us all to get fit and eat right.
12. They are super photogenic...
13. ... and snappy dressers, too.
The best part of the holidays is the time we share with those we love. On behalf of Michelle, Malia, and Sasha, Merry Christmas everyone. pic.twitter.com/EznGyxluS8— President Obama (@POTUS) December 25, 2016
15. ... or wearing his infamous dad jeans.
16. And while Malia and Sasha became experts at showing poise while on the world stage...
17. ... they weren't above being embarrassed by their parents' dorky sides.
18. Michelle showed us she has some mom jokes up her sleeve, too...
19. ... but also was there to offer us encouraging words at the beginning of the school year.
20. Malia exemplified the supportive older sister...
this picture of malia totally cheering sasha on while she talks to ryan reynolds is just so darn cute pic.twitter.com/p7ykvHrYQv— shreeya (@loveblushed) March 12, 2016
21. ... while Sasha bucked expectations and got a summer job at a restaurant.
23. ... and when Malia caught flack for allegedly smoking marijuana, she responded to her haters in the best possible way.
malia obama wore a "smoking kills" shirt. the level of pettiness is inspirational to us all pic.twitter.com/86pLXbctbI— kate. (@gxblunt) September 5, 2016
25. ... told us all that Black Girls Rock...
26. ... encouraged us to pursue higher education...
27. ... dunked on the Miami Heat...
28. ... pulled off one of the best Mannequin Challenges of the year...
29. ... and slayed on every magazine cover she graced over the past eight years.
30. The Obamas welcomed Portuguese Water Dogs Bo and Sunny into the White House...
31. ... and were sure to include them in their family activities.
32. Obama serenaded the world...
33. ... time and time again...
34. ... and sometimes even busted out some dance moves.
35. Michelle also showed us she could get down on the dance floor...
36. ... showed us the evolution of mom dancing...
37. ... taught us how to Dougie...
38. ... and even joined James Corden and Missy Elliott for what may be the best segment of Carpool Karaoke ever.
39. Though Obama's mother, Ann Dunham, died in 1995, he continues to speak and write about his appreciation for her.
40. Obama talked about race and racism in the most personal of terms...
41. ... as did Michelle, who reminded the country that the White House was built by enslaved black people.
42. Both the president and the first lady are leaving behind a wealth of speeches to inspire us for years to come.
43. The Obamas have donated thousands of dollars to charities over the years and will most likely continue to do so after Obama leaves office.
44. They have invited everyday Americans to the White House to spend some time with them...
45. ... including the kid who was arrested for making a clock in school.
46. The first couple even once famously put their all into reading a group of children Where the Wild Things Are.
47. The Obamas ushered the White House into the social media age...
48. ... and weren't afraid to have some fun with it...
Hello, Twitter! It's Barack. Really! Six years in, they're finally giving me my own account.— President Obama (@POTUS) May 18, 2015
49. ... though, Malia and Sasha proved to be experts at keeping their social media accounts under wraps.
52. ... and dedicated it "To Michelle — whose fierce love and daily good sense have nourished such wonderful daughters."
53. Plus, all the proceeds go to scholarships for the children of soldiers killed or disabled in Iraq and Afghanistan.
54. Obama represented for kids with "funny names"...
55. ... kids who were raised by single mothers...
56. ... and kids who are bi- and multi-racial.
57. Obama and Michelle started the Let Girls Learn initiative.
58. Michelle teamed up with Dr. Jill Biden to start the Joining Forces initiative to support veterans and current members of the armed forces and their families.
59. Michelle wears outfits more than once like a normal person.
60. Obama encouraged action over heckling when he said, "Don't boo. Vote."
61. And Michelle gave us an anti-bullying mantra when she said, " When they go low, we go high."
62. Michelle shocked the United Kingdom when she put her arm around the queen, who reciprocated the affectionate gesture.
63. Obama and Michelle kept Sasha and Malia down to earth by giving them chores throughout their time in the White House.
65. When Obama is gone, Bo gets to sleep in Michelle's bed.
66. Michelle is a working mom who once brought baby Sasha to a job interview.
67. Michelle doesn't let attacks on Obama get her down. She told Barbara Walters, "The country has the responsibility—the right and the responsibility—to critique their president."
68. The first lady has great arms, and she isn't shy about showing them off...
69. ... and Obama isn't shy about them either.
70. Obama always brought the house down at the White House Correspondence Dinners...
71. ... like when he brought out his anger translator...
72. ... and when he dropped the mic with the words, "Obama, out."
73. Our hearts melted when Obama and Michelle danced with 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin.
74. Sometimes Obama, Michelle, Bo, and Sunny would surprise visitors to the White House.
75. Michelle once rolled her eyes at John Boehner, and we loved it.
76. For a BuzzFeed video, Obama showed how in many ways he's just like us.
77. Obama had BEYONCÉ sing at his second inauguration.
79. When Michelle was asked about Malia's and Sasha's being named two of Time's most influential teens, the first lady had the best response.
80. Obama started the My Brother's Keeper initiative, to focus on supporting black men and boys...
81. ... and the photo of 5-year-old Jacob Philadelphia touching Obama's hair will always bring tears to our eyes.
83. ... appointed the most gay U.S. officials...
85. The entire family traveled to Cuba this year, marking the first time a sitting president had visited the island in nearly 90 years.
86. And while they were there, Malia acted as her father's translator.
87. When he touched down on the island, Obama tweeted, "¿Que bolá Cuba?"
88. And when he visited Jamaica last year Obama famously said, "Wagwan."
89. The Obamas are always keeping their extended families involved, like when Obama cheered on his niece at a Princeton basketball game...
91. ... connected with distant relatives in Ireland...
92. ... and invited his nephews to take part in the annual turkey pardoning ceremony.
93. The family stunned in their annual Obama family Christmas cards.
94. Michelle completely redefined the role of first lady for the better...
95. ... while still making sure to chat with her girls over nightly family dinners.
97. ... as well as teens and preteens rocking braces.
98. Michelle and Obama stayed involved in the kids' school lives, without overwhelming everyone with their entourage too much.
99. Malia made sure to pester her dad about saving endangered tigers.
101. Obama was the first sitting president to ever visit a federal prison and meet with the inmates living there.
102. The Obamas shared their cherished family chili recipe with the world instead of keeping it a family secret.
103. The first family shared their choice playlists with us, including the president's summer playlist last year...
104. ... and this year...
105. ... his workout playlist...
106. ... and the First Lady's International Day of the Girl playlist, and they are all filled with bangers.
107. Besides music, the Obamas also showed their love for books by supporting independent bookstores.
108. They inspired us to read with the President's Summer Reading List...
109. ... as well as Obama's reading list for aspiring leaders.
110. Bo and Sunny were the White House's cutest pet pair. (Sorry, Socks and Buddy.)
111. Obama and Michelle always look genuinely happy to be together...
112. ... and the story of their love is heartwarming to the max.
114. ... and wrote an open letter to his daughters just before his first inauguration.
115. The whole family has major Chi-town pride and is bringing the Obama Presidential Library to the city's South Side.
116. Obama has a lighthearted impression of Sasha and Malia on their cellphones.
117. The Obama family came together to mark the 50th anniversary of the civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery.
118. The first couple know what it's like to be burdened by student loans...
119. ... and are working to ease that loan burden for other American students.
120. Obama shared the spotlight with the Kid President in 2013.
121. The Obama sisters showed some serious sisterly love in matching outfits at their dad's second inauguration.
122. Michelle refused to let a toy company profit off of her daughters' names and images.
123. Obama was the epitome of poised when he met with some guy who had spent the past eight years insulting him...
124. ... and Michelle was classy as hell while meeting with someone who famously plagiarized her.
125. Obama's reaction when he met a baby dressed as the pope was priceless.
126. Michelle emerged as a social media maven who used her Instagram to share precious family photos...
127. ... and candid moments between her and the president.
128. We got the chance to watch Sasha's and Malia's style evolutions over the years...
130. Obama proclaimed himself a feminist and explained why feminism is important.
132. Obama and Michelle are the reason we finally got to see Chance the Rapper's daughter.
133. The Obamas supported the arts in major ways.
134. Obama is so focused he can kill a fly with one swat...
135. ... and he isn't too proud to read some mean tweets about himself.
136. Obama's friendship with Joe Biden is a heartwarming one we won't soon forget.
137. When 8-year-old Mari Copeny wrote a letter to Obama about the Flint water crisis, he not only responded but went to visit her.
138. Obama's first job was just as unglamorous as the rest of ours were.
139. This infinitely useful GIF:
140. And this fun one:
142. Obama showed support for sexual assault survivors by recently signing the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Rights Act into law.
143. Michelle always kept it real about what it's like to be not only black, but a black woman, in America.
144. The Obamas planted a vegetable garden on the South Lawn of the White House, and Michelle took steps to make sure it will live on after they move out.
146. They made Europe and Asia like the United States a lot more.
147. The entire family has shown poise and grace in how they have responded to, or not responded to, the racism targeted at the Obamas throughout their time in the White House.
148. Despite partisan politics, the Obamas have encouraged the nation to unite as one.
149. Together, they have been examples to the world of the excellence, intelligence, and strength of black Americans.