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To Her Stepchildren, Kamala Harris Is "Momala"

"They are my endless source of love and pure joy," she's said.

las vegas, nevada   april 27  democratic presidential candidate us sen kamala harris d ca speaks at the national forum on wages and working people creating an economy that works for all at enclave on april 27, 2019 in las vegas, nevada six of the 2020 democratic presidential candidates are attending the forum, held by the service employees international union and the center for american progress action fund, to share their economic policies  photo by ethan millergetty images
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Senator Kamala Harris, the former prosecutor and California attorney general who is Joe Biden's pick for vice president in the November 2020 election, has a loving and supportive family. Her husband Douglas Emhoff has two children, Cole and Ella—to them, Harris is "Momala," because "Cole, Ella, and I agreed that we didn’t like the term 'stepmom.'" Harris has spoken publicly about her close bond with her stepkids and how much Cole and Ella mean to her. Now, given her new role and increased visibility, we'll likely going to hear more about them (and, perhaps, a sighting on the virtual campaign trail? TBD).

Kamala Harris was careful and thoughtful about meeting Cole and Ella.

Cole and Ella are named after John Coltrane and Ella Fitzgerald. As Harris wrote in ELLE, being the child of divorced parents herself, she was very careful about her relationship with them both when she and Emhoff first started dating.

"I was determined not to insert myself in their lives until Doug and I had established we were in this for the long haul. Children need consistency; I didn’t want to insert myself into their lives as a temporary fixture because I didn’t want to disappoint them. There’s nothing worse than disappointing a child."

But she needn't have worried. The initial meeting went well, and Harris fell in love with the two kids. "Cole and Ella could not have been more welcoming. They are brilliant, talented, funny kids who have grown to be remarkable adults. I was already hooked on Doug, but I believe it was Cole and Ella who reeled me in." Harris says she even has a great relationship with Emhoff's ex, Kerstin.

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Now, Cole and Ella are an important part of her life.

Emhoff and Harris officially got married in 2015. To the kids, Harris is now "Momala":

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Grateful every day to be Momala to Ella and Cole.

A post shared by Kamala Harris (@kamalaharris) on

In Yiddish, "mamaleh" means "little mama"—in fact, the couple honored Emhoff's Jewish faith at their wedding. On top of that, it's a sweet combination of "Kamala" and "mom."

When Harris made the decision to run for president, she explained: "They are my endless source of love and pure joy...I can say one thing with certainty, my heart wouldn’t be whole, nor my life full, without them."

Obviously, their schedules (especially Harris') are crazy, but it's pretty clear they still try to make time for each other:

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Family Selfie!

A post shared by Doug Emhoff (@douglasemhoff) on

They may not do it anymore, but for a time the family would gather for Sunday dinners. Cole works at Plan B after graduating Colorado College, and Ella is a student at Parsons School of Design. At the moment, both of them have public profiles and seem to be in really happy places:

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Harris is also a supportive aunt.

Harris' sister Maya—the two women are close both personally and professionally—also has a daughter, Meena. Maya recently posted this pic of the three of them:

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Family night out at #cbcfalc19!

A post shared by Maya Harris (@mayaharris_) on

And Meena just posted her support for her aunt:

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Crying again.

A post shared by Meena Harris (@meena) on

Which is utterly adorable.

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