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Michelle Obama's mom makes White House her new home

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama's mother-in-law lived her entire life in Chicago, so it was only natural that her move to the White House came with some resistance. Try it for three months, her son-in-law says the family suggested.

A year later, it seems Marian Robinson is here to stay.

She spends a lot of time looking after granddaughters Malia, 11, and Sasha, 8, but has been carving out a new life for herself, too.

In the words of the president, she's become "quite the lady about town." Robinson, a widow, has made friends and has had friends over to the White House. She goes shopping on her own, enjoys visits to the Kennedy Center and takes Malia and Sasha to and from school just about every day - all while enjoying a level of anonymity that has Obama and her own daughter, first lady Michelle Obama, feeling both pleased and a bit envious.

Robinson has given few interviews since moving to the White House. But she has made it clear that she was cool to the idea and that she only did so reluctantly. She left several siblings behind in Chicago.

"They're dragging me with them, and I'm not comfortable with that," Robinson, 72, told CBS' "Sunday Morning" last year.

"But I'm doing exactly what you do: You do what needs to be done." Michelle Obama recently said her mother seems content in her new home.

"She wasn't completely kicking and screaming, but it was clear that her preference would be to remain in her old life, and that this new White House, all this stuff, she could just hear about," the first lady said.

"So I'm happy that she's really settled in and feels like this is home for her, as well," Michelle Obama said.

Robinson took her first trip abroad last year, flying aboard Air Force One with the family to Russia, Italy and Ghana.

With the family, she got to meet the pope, tour Rome's ancient Colosseum and inspect a former slaveholding compound on the coast of Ghana.

Her bedroom is on the third floor of the White House (the first family occupies the second floor), and she doesn't eat dinner with the Obamas every night so that "Michelle's family" can have their own time together.

Robinson's other three grandchildren live out West, where son Craig is the head men's basketball coach at Oregon State University. Her husband, Fraser, who worked swing shifts at Chicago's water plant despite crippling multiple sclerosis, died in 1991.

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