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Michelle Obama on her daughters being best friends: ‘They’ve got each other’s backs’

The former first lady shared how Sasha and Malia have become one another's support system now that they are living together on their own.

Michelle Obama's proudest achievement is not breaking historic barriers or inspiring many others.

It's seeing the close bond daughters Sasha, 21, and Malia, 24, have forged now that they live together as they enter young adulthood.

"The thing that I love the most is that those two girls are each other’s best friends," the former first lady told Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush Hager on TODAY Monday.

The two had their battles over the years like any siblings, but they share the rare connection of being sisters who had to grow up in the public eye as children of a president during their father's eight years in the White House.

"There was a period of time when they couldn’t stand each other, and I said, ‘You wait, you are going to wake up one day and you’re going to look over at that other person, and you’re going to know that you two share something very unique,' especially given what they’ve been through," Obama said.

"To see them in that place where they’re one another’s support systems and they’ve got each other’s backs, it's the thing that a mother would want."

While Obama was determined to push multiple initiatives during her time as first lady, she knew she had to build a strong foundation in her own family first. She writes about that time in her new book, "The Light We Carry."

"When I first came into the White House, when people asked me what my agenda was going to be, I said what I thought was not a controversial thing was that my first job is being 'mom-in-chief,''' she said on TODAY. "If I couldn’t raise my children, make sure they got through that experience whole, how could I help anyone else?"

In a demanding position that can be overwhelming at times, Obama started by concentrating on her family.

"When times are tough, I try to focus on what I can control," she said. "Being a good mother to my girls was my first job, and then I can reach out and help every girl in the world. But my two had to be solid first."

Obama has also enjoyed watching her girls' forays into adulthood, which included recently inviting her and former president Barack Obama over for martinis and a cheese plate.

"We were going to take them to dinner, and they said, 'Why don't you come over to our spot for cocktails?'" Obama said. "And we were like, 'OK let's see what this is going to be like.'

"The martinis were a little weak. I don’t think they really knew what it was."

She could only smile when her daughters made a specific request during the visit.

"When we got the glasses they were like, 'Use a coaster,' and I'm like, 'You never used a coaster in my house,'" she said. "So now when it's your stuff, you want to take care of it?"

Obama also shared a parenting lesson she learned over time after being inspired by comments from Toni Morrison. The late literary legend talked about how she lamented that she would often meet her kids with "a critical eye," always telling them to fix their hair or straighten their clothes.

"What I have learned and she had learned is that kids are looking for that light," Obama said. "You want to greet them with your gladness because that’s what they want most in life."