Oprah: So when did it hit you?
Michelle Obama: I don't think it has. Everything's been moving at the speed of light. The whole process of transitioning here, the inauguration, all the protocol, seeing to it that the girls are doing well—I've really just been trying to make sure everything gets done.
Oprah: I can't imagine what the inauguration was like for you. For me, it felt like a moment in time that had been coming since time began.
Michelle Obama: I definitely sensed that, standing on the Capitol steps. But I would love to see a tape of what was going on down on the Mall. Because when you hear from people who were there, they talk about the emotions and the calm and the fact that you had more than a million people descending on this very small city with no incident, all love—I long to know that feeling as well.
Oprah: What was your prayer the night before you moved into the White House?
Michelle Obama: That we stay whole as a family through this process. And when Barack and I talked, he said he wanted to get through the day with everyone intact, everyone who attended—he said he would feel good when every last visitor left safely. And fortunately that happened.
Oprah: Every last visitor. Every train. Every bus. There were so many people. And all of them had their eyes on you. Were you in your body?
Michelle Obama: Oh, I was in it. And it was pretty cold.
Oprah: One of my favorite, favorite moments was during the parade—the two of you getting out of the car and walking, and your arms are linked and your head is sort of on his shoulder. I loved that. But I wondered about the conversation before you got out. Did you just suddenly say, "Look, we're going to walk for a while now"?
Michelle Obama: We were trying to see if the girls wanted to get out. They were like, "No"—they wanted to stay in the car. And while we were out, they were partying in there—when we got back in, they had the music blaring. But Barack and I felt that walking outside was a natural extension of the campaign: "Okay, we can't come over to you, we can't hug you—can't do that—but we can be out here waving." Of course, then there was a point where we felt like, "Whoa, three blocks is long." My feet started hurting.
Oprah: How did your feet feel at the seventh ball that night?
Michelle Obama: What a good workout, right? I just remembered that even though it was the seventh ball for me, it was the first ball for everyone there. I thought about that during the parade, too. I thought, "I'm going to stand here and cheer for every last person, because this is why they came—to walk in front of the president of the United States."
Oprah: Weren't you freezing?
Michelle Obama: I was a little cube of ice. My coat had layers, but from the legs down, I was cold. I would have loved to be wearing a pair of warm, toasty boots.
Next: Michelle Obama's first week at the White House