A Mom’s Open Letter to Astronauts, Christina Koch and Jessica Meir

Dear Christina Koch and Jessica Meir,

First of all, congratulations on a seriously major achievement!

Second, how’s everything in space? I have no immediate plans to visit, but since I grew up a child of the 90s with Nickelodeon fueled dreams of Space Camp, I remain curious.

But that’s not the real reason for my letter. The real reason is this girl right here. My daughter, Norah.

This Halloween, Norah was an astronaut. And honestly, at least once a week she is an astronaut given her affinity for this costume.

Little girl in astronaut costume

I don’t know if she will grow up to be an astronaut one day, though she is considering it.

She is also considering becoming a superhero, a doctor, a dancer, a macaroni and cheese taste tester, and a duck. At 3 years old, the world is her oyster.

Yet so often I find that Norah will refer to every construction worker, truck driver, or police officer as “him.”

I point out women working in different jobs, look for books with diverse representation, and I sometimes change the words in stories to mix things up, but the fact of the matter is she repeats what she most commonly sees out in the world.

But a couple of weeks ago while I sat with her and her brother on the couch watching you both walk through space, she heard your voices and your names.

We missed the part where the momentous occasion was recognized, but I think that was totally fine. Better even, because she saw you doing your job in a way that felt so normal. Or as normal as space travel really is.

That means something.

Maybe it will end up meaning everything.

This little astronaut, superhero, or duck(?) is going to grow up in a world where she will see herself when she looks to the stars, and never for a second doubt she could be among them.

That is in large part because of you. It’s because of your hard work, your perseverance, and your dedication to your dreams. It’s because you paved the way, and then got it done.

Christina and Jessica, the work you are doing in space is important and will impact us all. But I wonder if maybe it will impact one little girl more than most.

And I simply can’t thank you enough.

With love,
A Mom here on Earth

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