Kamala Harris on several occasions has spoken how her mother has inspired her, and when the 55-year-old vice-president elect spoke so fondly of Shyamala Gopalan Harris in her maiden address one had to stop and take note. Harris said in an appearance in Wilmington, Delaware, “I’m grateful to the woman most responsible for my presence here today, my mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris. When she came here from India at the age of 19, she maybe didn’t imagine this moment. But she believed so deeply in America where moment like this is possible.” Haven’t we all been able to achieve things in life just relying on our mother’s faith in us?
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Hearing Harris speak about her breast cancer researcher mother, who was a single parent, was very emotional to me. Harris during her speech acknowledged that her mother taught her not to sit and complain about things during the problems but do something to improve it. Haven’t we all heard our mothers saying that?
A bond like no other
Mother-daughter relationships are bitter-sweet, a mother can take the role of anyone in her daughter’s life. There are no geographical boundaries that can keep us apart. She is the 2 am friend and the nagging aunty who keeps getting under your skin, she is your caregiver, the cheerleader and the worst critique, but together we are formidable as a team. Remember how many tough situations you overcame just because you knew she was by your side? And how she stood by you when you faced failure? Perhaps as you grew up, like me you realised, how important it is for you to stand by her now as she is growing old. May be all that she needs from you is just a 10-minute phone call to hear her out.
In her memoir, The Truths We Hold: An American Journey, Harris wrote, “There is no title or honor on earth I’ll treasure more than to say I am Shyamala Gopalan Harris’s daughter. That is the truth I hold dearest of all”. According to a study released in 2016 in the Journal of Neuroscience, a mother-daughter relationship is the strongest of all parent-child bonds. The study was conducted on 35 families, showed that the part of the brain that regulates emotions is more similar between mothers and daughters than any other intergenerational pairing.
Harris says that inspired by her mother “I devoted my life to making real the words carved in the United States’ Supreme Court, Equal justice under law. And 30 years ago, I stood before a judge for the first time, breathed deep, and uttered the phrase that would truly guide my career and the rest of my career, Kamala Harris for the people.”
Harris’ mother passed away due to complications from colon cancer in 2009. She was 70.
Toxic mother-daughter relationships
Yes, there are toxic mother-daughter relationships too. Sometimes mothers get too caught in their daughters’ lives but mothers are also human beings and not come programmed in top-notch parenting skills, but there can be ways to come around. A mother-daughter relationship always has conflict but both must learn how to handle this. Sometimes it increases as the daughter grows up and they cannot bridge the generation gap. However, constantly making each other guilty about their respective shortcomings is not going to bridge the already increasing gap.
Lack of trust may be an issue during your teenage but as you mature you can overcome this. There may be no solution to some conflicts because you are different people even if you are an extension of her. It is possible to keep channels of communications open and tell each other that there are many other reasons why you still love each other. Remember all we need is to stay in touch, we needn’t wait to be the Vice-President-elect to give her a shout out.
The winning moment:
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PC: India Abroad
The views expressed are the author’s own.