People often ask me whether being President has made it more difficult to spend time with Michelle and our girls. But the surprising truth is that being in the White House has made our family life more "normal" than it's ever been.
人们常常问我,当总统是否让我和米歇尔及我们女儿相聚成为了一件更难的事情。但现实却令人惊讶,住进白宫让我们的家庭生活变得比以往任何时候都更加“正常”。

贝拉克·奥巴马:总统一职让我成为更好的父亲

When Malia was born, Michelle and I were fortunate enough to spend a blissful three months mostly at home with our baby girl. But then Michelle went back to work part time, and I returned to my schedule of teaching at the University of Chicago law school and serving in the state legislature. This meant that I would often be away in Springfield for three days at a time. Even when I was home in Chicago, I had papers to grade and briefs to write and evening meetings to attend.
玛利亚出生的时候,我和米歇尔非常幸运,足足三个月的时间,我们与宝贝女儿一起待在家里,体验初为父母的喜悦之情。之后米歇尔回到她的兼职工作岗位上去,而我在芝加哥大学法学院的教学工作和我在州议会的工作也同时回到正轨。这就意味我得经常去斯普林菲尔德,并且每次都要待上三天。即便我回到芝加哥的家里,我也得继续工作:改试卷、写案情提要,有时晚上还要开会。

Things didn't get any easier when I was elected to the Senate and had to commute back and forth to Washington every week. Then our lives were thrown completely out of balance during a presidential campaign that kept me on the road almost constantly -- leaving Michelle to carry an even heavier load for longer stretches of time.
我当选为参议员后,工作变得更加复杂,我每周必须往返于芝加哥与华盛顿之间。总统大选之际,我几乎时时刻刻都在路上,这使得米歇尔不得不长期承受更重的负担,那时我们的生活完全失去了平衡。

That's why I call her the rock of our family -- because she is. She always has been.
这就是为什么我称她为我们家庭的基石——因为她确实是的,并且一直都是。

贝拉克·奥巴马:总统一职让我成为更好的父亲

But to our surprise, moving to the White House was really the first time since the girls were born that we've been able to gather as a family almost every night. Michelle and I can go to parent-teacher conferences together. I've been able to make Malia's tennis matches and Sasha's dance recitals. Sasha let me help coach her basketball team -- the Vipers. They won the title. I've even experienced what all dads dread: watching my daughter go to her first prom. In high heels.
出乎我们意料的是,搬进白宫使得我们终于能够每天晚上都能全家相聚,自打两个女儿出生后,这还是第一次。我和米歇尔可以一起出席家长会。我也能够出席观看玛利亚的网球比赛和萨沙的舞蹈演出。萨沙让我担任她所在篮球队——毒蛇队的助理教练,她们在之后的比赛中夺得了冠军。我甚至还经历了所有父亲都害怕的事,那就是看着女儿穿着高跟鞋出席了她人生的第一场舞会。

So it's not always easy being a father of teenage girls. But it is pretty good to live above the store.
所以说做十几岁女孩的父亲可不是一件容易的事情。但是每天和她们生活在一起是一件令人高兴的事。

贝拉克·奥巴马:总统一职让我成为更好的父亲

Even with our jam-packed days, Michelle and I work hard to carve out certain blocks of family time that are sacrosanct. For example, at 6:30 p.m., no matter how busy I am, I leave work to go upstairs and have dinner with my family. That's inviolable. My staff knows that it pretty much takes a national emergency to keep me away from that dinner table. As a night owl, I'd rather stay up late reading briefings and working on speeches after everybody has gone to bed anyway.
即使在我们非常忙碌的日子里,我和米歇尔也会腾出“神圣不可侵犯”的家庭时间。比如说,不管多忙,傍晚6时30分我都会准时上楼与家人共进晚餐,这段时间是“不可侵犯的”。我的职员们都知道,几乎只有全国紧急事件才能让我离开晚餐餐桌。作为一个夜猫子,我宁愿在其他人都上床后熬夜看简报、准备演讲。

So for an hour or so at dinner, my focus is not on my day, but on theirs. I ask Sasha and Malia the usual annoying parental questions: How was school? What are your friends up to? Have you done your homework? What are you thinking about? In return, they spend a lot of time teasing me about my big ears or stodgy suits -- and Michelle is always happy to join them.
所以晚餐时间一个小时左右,我把注意力从我的工作转移到她们身上。我会问萨沙和玛利亚一些问题,无非是家长常“唠叨”的问题:“今天在学校过得如何?”“和朋友们相处得怎样?”“作业完成了吗?”“在想什么呢?”而萨沙和玛利亚大部分时间都在调侃我的大耳朵或者古板的西装——米歇尔也经常会加入,她们其乐融融。

The highlight of my day is just listening to their thoughts about the world and seeing what smart, funny, kind young women they've become. That hour recharges me and gives me perspective. And those moments where I can just be Dad -- even if it's "Daaaaaaad" -- well, there's nothing better.
我一天中最重要的事情就是聆听她们对世界的看法,看着她们慢慢变得聪明、有趣、善良。那一小时让我重新充满能量,对未来充满希望。那个时候我仅仅扮演一个父亲的角色,或者说“老爸”,没什么比这更美好的了。

贝拉克·奥巴马:总统一职让我成为更好的父亲

Michelle does her best to preserve that time, and it has made a huge difference. Like I said, she's our rock. Whatever comes up, I know that they'll be there for me. And I will always be there for them. These days, the girls occasionally miss a night because they're so busy with school and activities. And like many parents of high school juniors who are excitedly touring college campuses, I'm already dreading that empty seat at the table when Malia goes off to school next fall. I can feel myself lingering at the table a little longer, trying to stave off the passage of time. But for as long as possible, I'm going to enjoy every minute of finally having us all together under one roof.
米歇尔每天都会为此尽力腾出时间,这使我们的家庭生活发生了巨大的改变。就像我所说的,她是我们家庭的基石。不管发生什么,我知道她们都会支持我,而我,也会永远陪在她们身边。最近,孩子们偶尔一个晚上会缺席,因为她们忙于学习和学校的活动。中学生们兴奋地参观大学校园,像很多中学生的父母一样,我已经开始害怕玛丽亚明年秋季上大学后餐桌边的那张空椅子,我能感受到我在餐桌边多停留了一会儿,想让时间慢点走。但是我将尽可能长地享受我们在同一个屋檐下共处的最后时光,享受每一分钟。

First Lady Nancy Reagan once wrote, "Nothing can prepare you for living in the White House." She was right, of course. Nothing can prepare you. But your family can sustain you.
第一夫人南希·里根曾写道:“在白宫里生活,你无法预计会发生什么。”她说的对,无法预计会发生什么,但是你的家庭会一直支持你。

Vocabulary
brief: (法律)案情摘要
recital: (常指舞蹈学员表演的)舞蹈演出会
prom: (为中学生举办的)毕业舞会
jam-packed: 拥挤的,塞满的
carve out: 凭自身努力获得
sacrosanct: 神圣不可侵犯的
inviolable: 不可违反的,不可侵犯的
pretty much: 几乎,差不多
stodgy: (衣服等)不时髦的,式样难看的
stave off: 延缓

(英文来源:赫芬顿邮报 译者:向亚芳GXUN 编辑:许晶晶)