It’s the college-application season when a lot of moms starting feeling weepy about their emptying nest.
Not Michelle Obama.
“That’s the rub of teenagers — they’re bumping up against the limits of where they are because they’re ready for the next thing,” the former first lady tells PEOPLE in an exclusive at-home interview for the cover story in the new issue.
Mom to Malia, a 20-year-old Harvard sophomore, and high-school senior Sasha, 17, Obama adds: “That’s how I feel with my girls: if they are ready for college, then I want them to go and I’m happy for them.”
For the full interview with Obama and exclusive at-home photos, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE on newsstands Friday
Plus, she’s got plenty going on in her own White House afterlife: “I’ve got an initiative, I’ve got a book, I’ve got a husband I can see again.”
She says she is not weepy over Malia and Sasha leaving home “because I also have the resources that if I really get sad, I’ll go see them. Unlike my parents, who dropped me off at college and just had a phone call, I text with my kids. I can text [Malia] right this second and know exactly what she’s thinking. I don’t feel like she’s away, I feel like she’s off on her next adventure, so I’m excited about her.
“I don’t need my children to make me happy. I had them so that they’d happy.”