CAMBRIDGE (CBS) – Last month, former President Barack Obama was spotted dropping off daughter Malia during move-in week at Harvard University. Now we’re learning just how much that moment meant to him.

“It just happens so fast,” Obama said at a fundraising event Monday for a foundation for Beau Biden, the late son of former Vice President Joe Biden. “I dropped off Malia at college and I was saying to Joe and Jill that it was a little bit like open-heart surgery.”

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Video of Obama’s remarks were shared by Delaware Online.

The ex-commander-in-chief could be seen waving to onlookers in Cambridge last month, but Obama says the emotions hit as he was driven away.

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President Obama was spotted at Harvard. (Image Credit: Jason Corey/Facebook)

“I was proud that I did not cry in front of her but on the way back the Secret Service was all looking straight ahead, pretending they weren’t hearing me as I sniffled and blew my nose,” he said. “It was rough.”

As the one-time leader of the free world, Obama has had life experiences few will ever know. But he said it’s the moments familiar to many parents that will stick with him.

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President Barack Obama hugs his daughter Malia on her birthday during an Independence Day Celebration for military members and administration staff on July 4, 2016 in the East Room of the White House in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

“At the end of our lives, whatever else we’ve accomplished, the thing that we’ll remember are the joys that our children and hopefully – way later – our grandchildren bring us,” he said.