I am proud to be a member of the Institute for a Democratic Future, a 6-month leadership training program for progressives in Washington state. There was an application process, an interview, and a tense week of waiting but then–I became a Fellow. This was the kickoff weekend, and I got to hear from inspiring speakers with enlivening personal stories and provoking calls to action.
But the moment that stuck with me visually is this one:
Washington State Representative Jessyn Farrell joined us to give a legislative preview. She brought her son, and for the entire talk–technical bill reviews, why she chose to run, what transit means to a progressive King County–she kept an eye on him, holding him for the second half after he started fussing.
Professionals’ motherhoods have been invisible for much of the 20th century. I benefitted from a Mom who took me with her to work on my sick days, sat me beside her in meetings with the Bishop through her work for the Episcopal Church, showing me what it means to be a woman who changes the world. But since I was that child, I was that example of a great working Mom and kid, I have not seen it very often with my own eyes.
Not seeing leads to not believing. That’s what I was grateful to Representative Farrell. During her presentation, I felt a nub of anxiety on my heart start to wear down. Watching her sooth her son, giving him measuring spoons to play with, talking about ST2 and ST3 and McCleary funding, I too felt soothed. It was a confirmation of something I have known since I was a child, but tend to forget.
It felt good to remember.
“Americans are fighters. We’re tough, resourceful and creative, and if we have the chance to fight on a level playing field, where everyone pays a fair share and everyone has a real shot, then no one – no one can stop us.” — Elizabeth Warren