Being my father’s only daughter, I have often been called a Daddy’s Girl, which is why I recognize in Michelle Obama the ultimate Daddy’s Girl. Fraser Robinson III was a Chicago water-department employee who volunteered to knock on doors—with young Michelle tagging along—to encourage his neighbors to vote. That he suffered from multiple sclerosis made every extra effort that much more heroic. He needed his daughter as much as she needed him, leading to a kind of symbiotic bond I too experienced when my father spent nearly a year dying from a crippling lung disease.
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From both the strength and vulnerability of adored fathers, one cannot help but learn resilience and empathy and a reluctance to complain. After her father died, Michelle Obama left a high-powered job as an intellectual-property lawyer. “I am constantly trying to make sure that I am making him proud,” she said. “What would my father think of the choices that I’ve made, how I’ve lived my life, what careers I chose, what man I married?”
She certainly sought a man like her father. “That was the kind of guy my sister was looking for,’’ Craig Robinson has said. “We used to joke as a family, ‘She’ll never find a guy like that, because they don’t exist anymore.’ ’’