Dear Mr. & Mrs. Obama,
Even though I knew the day would come when you'd leave the White House, I'm still "in my feelings."
I feel like someone ripped the Band-Aid off my knee before the scab healed. I feel like the kid who ate all the cereal in one sitting only to find no prize at the bottom of the box. I feel like I got dropped off at that one babysitter's house I despise, except this time mommy and daddy won't be back to get me.
I feel a sharp sense of loss, but also one of sincere gratitude, because for eight years I witnessed you recalibrate American culture. I saw you love out loud in front of the world. I saw a couple, although whipped with malice, never buckle at the knees. I saw your strength when tragedy crippled our country. I saw your courage in the midst of skeptics. I saw you laugh on purpose in the face of opposition.
I'm even more grateful to have witnessed your auras and eloquence in living color. Whether it was at the Congressional Black Caucus Convention, or at the Edmond Pettus Bridge in Selma, or on the floor of the Democratic National Convention, I was always fascinated by your composure, passion and orations. It was in those moments I was assured of just how special you both are. I was reminded of my own dreams and motivated to push for them harder than I ever had. I understand people thanking you for all you've given to this country and black culture is customary, but it won't stop me from following suit.
We'll never know what it took, but we know God chose you for a reason all His own. Your journey wasn't perfect, but if nothing else, it gave black boys and girls a tangible excuse to dream. You were a force, launching Black Love and Black Magic into a pop culture phenomenon. At least for eight years, melanin was cool again. Unscathed by controversy, yet smeared with slanderous remarks often reared in racist rhetoric, you persevered with grace and humility.
Mr. Obama, I'll never know the price your wife paid to warrant the tears you shed at that podium during your farewell speech in Chicago. I don't know how it felt for her to balance her Black Girl Magic with anchoring your ambition. I didn't see how you both convened on how to cover your uncertainty and fears with the noblest of game faces. I can only hope to be a great example of symbiotic integrity and valor as you have. I can only hope the world is moved to change, because you showed them it was possible. I can only sit in awe, astonished by your impact and forever inspired by your resilience.
So, as you move into the next phase of your lives, here's to a good night's sleep, smooth flights to some of the coolest vacation spots known to man and a life filled with continued service and excellence. Cheers to morning jogs with clear minds, naps in the afternoon and evenings of boredom spent on the couch free from the grips of media mongers and criticism. After all, you deserve it.
I'll close with the phrase I used to glue the words in this letter together: Thank you.
Thank you Mr. and Mrs. Obama for answering the call. Thank you for displaying dignity daily. Thank you for giving us permission to do whatever it takes to live our best lives and be great.
Check out some shining moments from The Obamas over the years!