On Friday, Michelle Obama will turn 50. In my opinion, there has never been a first lady as relatable as she is.

Through her agenda and her actions, she has shown her concern for the same things that concern many of us in our day-to-day lives: health, food, and most importantly, children. Not everyone agrees that the policies she’s helped to put into place will solve the problems we’re most concerned with, but it would be hard to argue that she doesn’t genuinely care about people and finding solutions to their problems.

Through her energy and vibrant personality, Michelle Obama has made the White House a more welcoming place for all of us — whether we’ve had the opportunity to visit in person or whether we simply feel 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is less intimidating because we know that, from time to time, Michelle plays with hula hoops on the White House lawn.

How else has she made the White House feel accessible? Here are just a few:

1. Surprising White House visitors

Sometimes the first lady surprises people on the White House tour by greeting them. In this video from 2012, Michelle, along with first dog Bo, spent over an hour saying hello and giving hugs to tourists as they passed through the White House.

2. Embracing social media

Michelle has taken to social media to interact with people on Twitter, Pinterest, Google+ and Facebook. Sure, sometimes she has her staff update her social media accounts, but she's a busy woman. (You know when an update is from the first lady herself because she always ends them with –M.O.)

3. Sharing the bounty

The bounty from the White House garden that she helps plant and harvest is shared with White House guests, school children and the hungry. One-third of the food harvested goes to Miriam’s Kitchen, a place where the homeless in Washington, D.C., can go for a homemade meal.

4. Charming both kids and adults

She behaves just like the rest of us hope we’d behave if we were interviewed by Jimmy Fallon, Jay Leno, Jon Stewart or Elmo. Michelle has a great time in her interviews and television appearances.

5. Making a difference

Michelle Obama is having a blast during her time in the White House, but she’s not sacrificing hard-work and effectiveness for the fun. She’s leading our country in the fight against obesity, she's encouraging people to move more, she's changing the way food gets marketed to children, she's helping to eliminate food deserts, she's helping make school lunches healthier and so much more.

Happy birthday, Michelle Obama, and thank you for all you do for your country!

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Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

5 ways Michelle Obama has made the White House a more welcoming place
In honor of her 50th birthday, we celebrate the first lady and her ability to lead by example — and to make us all feel at ease.