The Emotional Ways Kamala Harris Makes It Easier To Be A Mother, As Told By Sarah Meier
The former Metro magazine editor-in-chief reflects on the first time the White House is welcoming a woman as its vice president—and what this means for her as an immigrant, a woman, and a parent
US President Donald Trump has a little over a month left in the White House. US President-elect Joe Biden and incoming vice president Kamala Harris will take their oaths as the new leaders of the United States on January 21, 2021.
Former Metro magazine editor-in-chief Sarah Meier is counting down the days till then, savoring the relief, the uncountable joys, and the feeling of hope being restored that washed over her when history was made in November; the highest government positions in the US are now filled by a man of honor and, yes, a woman, too.
And not just any woman, either; Kamala Harris is America's first female vice president, a proud daughter of immigrants and a sturdy product of her own merit.
In Kamala Harris, Sarah Meier sees herself mirrored back. More than that, she sees the future she dreamed for her children rebuilt, one she was afraid had been snatched away and worried would never be returned.
"I exhaled to a fuller degree this morning. Felt contraction in my fascia, in my pelvic floor, release," she wrote on Instagram on November 8, the day it was announced that Biden and Harris were no longer just names on a ballot but elected leaders ready to make a nation whole again.
It's one thing to be happy about this as a responsible citizen. Celebrating this win as a mother of two young daughters is a whole other league of its own. She can relax now, or at least little by little she can, knowing that the society her girls will grow in can return to encouraging them to be their best, honor them, keep them safe, and give them fair, fighting chances to make it.
"To know that my girls can see both ways the pendulum swings, has been the most important part of this process for us. May the sight of Kamala in the White House be a first step in my daughters seeing themselves as part of the force that seeks the pendulum’s peaceful middle," continues Sarah.
She mirrors CNN host Van Jones who, in a tearful appearance live television, said what many parents exclaimed to high heavens post-election results: "Today is a good day. It's easier to be a parent this morning."
As she waits for January to come, Sarah reflects deeper on what 2021 can, and will be like, for her and her family. In an emotional essay, she talks more about the powerful ways she believes that Kamala Harris has helped moms and dads, their kids, all Americans, and ultimately every other person there is dreaming a seemingly impossible dream.
Read Sarah Meier's essay in full below:
I was never overtly political in the Philippines, corralled into disconnectedness by either fear or complacency, the latter of which, I’d argue, is a form of privilege.
Moving to America has encouraged involvement, inspired most by seeing a direct line between the people's desires and how policy is formed. There is a level of accountability baked into the American political system that was new to me, and a righteousness of the citizen that intimidated me. At first, anyway. Because once I started paying taxes in this country, and started parenting in this country, I became a little more cognizant of how personal the political really can be, and in turn, more brazen and more deserving to weigh in on the way things were being run.
Kaya was eleven years old when we left Manila for Brooklyn. I remember at the time she had asked me if I thought she should incorporate my last name (Meier) into hers as a hyphenate. Turns out she had picked up enough on Trump’s immigration stance to consider that having a white-sounding name in Trump’s America might be safer for her. This is one instance of the unique difficulty of parenting during the political climate here in the past four years.
Also, representation matters. I’ve realized this in a much more pressing way being a mother in a culturally and racially heterogenous society. To swing from an administration with a figure like the current president, to an administration with the first black, first South Asian, first child of an immigrant, first female vice-president—I cannot even begin to explain how much easier it is to even exist in America. The moment media outlets came together and announced Biden as president-elect, I felt a palpable release of tension in my shoulders. An unfurrowing of the brow. A calm in my chest. A sense of hope. Watching my daughters that evening, I felt like we’d woken up from a nightmare. And the nightmare was not political. The nightmare was having someone that did not speak a language rooted in love, dictate reality for your family.
I am thrilled that Kaya is coming of age in this climate. That once eleven-year-old girl, who moved to America, is turning fifteen next week. She has gone from seeking safety in conformity, to acknowledging her generation’s power to shape their future. It has been incredible to witness her evolution, her compassion, and her brand of activism.
Simultaneously though, I am thrilled that Juno won’t have to remember this time at all.
But nobody really knows what comes next, so instead of resting, all I can do is continue to show up for my kids in the way that they deserve, and lead by example within the home, regardless of what is happening in Washington D.C.—hoping that this will be foundation strong enough for them to form their beliefs and values based on continuous education, open-minded conversation, and their own experiences.
I looked at Juno the other day and realized she could be President. This must have been what it felt like for mothers that fought for women’s rights to vote. Suddenly, with Kamala Harris in office, the possibility for my daughters has become reality. The ceiling is shattered. We have started to feel like maybe we’re leaving our kids a world that is healing, along with the power for them to know, that they are equipped to lead it to a full recovery.
I want every single parent in the Philippines to know this feeling. But can an entire nation feel safe, and seen, and respected, simultaneously? (Only, methinks, when the rich and poor are able to sit at the same table, often, with curiosity and openness.)
Photos from @sarah_meier