At Wednesday’s inauguration, Kamala Harris is going to have the whole crew of people she calls family surrounding her. It may not be the most conventional idea of family to some, but honestly, it’s just another thing to admire about her. Not only will husband Doug Emhoff and his two kids, Ella and Cole, from his first marriage be there — so will his ex-wife, Kerstin Emhoff. Yes, the new wife can be friends with the first wife and she’s included in the historic event on Wednesday.
Her stepchildren famously call her “Momala” and she relishes that role, so why not include the woman who gave birth to them in the monumental celebrations? Even if divorce is difficult, Doug and Kerstin learned to co-parent amicably, realizing that their job as parents is to put their kids’ needs first. When Harris joined the fray in 2014, she became an influential part of Ella and Cole’s lives.
Harris has always been ruled by the idea that family doesn’t have to be dictated by blood, but “the family you choose,” as noted in her Democratic National Convention acceptance speech. It’s an idea brought forth by her late mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, who raised Kamala and her sister Maya alone after she divorced her husband. When Maya got pregnant as a teen, it was the three women who came together to raise Meena.
That’s the beauty of what Americans will see on the stage on Wednesday — people coming together as a family. That works just fine for Doug and Kerstin’s daughter, who is proud of her blended family. “It’s not one of those things you can bring up casually,” she said at the Democratic National Convention. “Like how do I normally say, ‘Yeah, my dad’s a lawyer. My mom’s a producer. My stepmom’s… the vice president.’”
Things will probably be less casual come Wednesday since they are going to be thrust onto a national, and sometimes an international stage. But Harris and her family of choice are going to be representing something bigger than what traditions told us for years was “normal,” and that’s exactly the way she wants it.
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Before you go, click here to see all the celebrities who have opened up about the struggles of co-parenting.