On Saturday May 19th at three o’clock in the morning, I lethargically rolled out of my bed to join the largest wedding watch party I’d ever been compelled to be a part of. In my robe and with my hair a complete mess, I sat on my sofa alone in the dark to watch as history unfolded. I knew that both Meghan Markle and Prince Harry, now the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, would make a lovely couple. However, it wasn’t them I was anxiously waiting for. By four o’clock I had coffee in hand, and I watched and waited for the moment when Doria Ragland, Meghan Markle’s mother showed up on the world’s stage. It was roughly six o’clock when the burgundy Rolls Royce carrying the Mother of the Bride and her lovely daughter was captured on film by CNN’s chitty chat heads.
Since the engagement of Meghan Markle to Prince Harry, my interest was really peaked about her mother, and what she must be thinking as her one and only child makes history. Based on articles I read and heard, I knew that she raised Meghan primarily as a single mother. If you know nothing else about me, know this, I love single mothers. Single mothers are the least touted humans, and some of the most targeted for negative stereo-typing, but the most worthy of praise and public support. Being a single mother myself, I know what it is to feel unsupported, so I wanted to support Doria and Meghan, but Doria first, and I wanted to see what I could learn from her. After all, she did raise a smart and talented daughter who is making history.
Doria showed us "how-to" keep our cool. As the mother of the Bride Doria was the epitome of a dignified woman and mother. When my daughter was married back in 2012, I was a mess. I realized at the last minute that I was no longer going to be her next-of-kin, and that I was not going to be in control of her fate, health or happiness anymore. I panicked. At one point I even changed my mind. I didn’t want to give my daughter away. She married a great guy and I love him like my own son, but initially I was scared. What I saw in Doria’s eyes as she watched her daughter and her new son-in-law make history, brought me to tears because I know what it feels like to watch your daughter pledge her life (the life you gave her, nurtured and supported), to another human being. It’s hard, but Doria held it together like a pro. But when she did tear-up, I teared-up with her, a salty sweet mix of joy, pride and fear.
Doria also showed us "how-to" be ourselves. As a woman of color, Doria showed up as herself and not a pressed and curled imitation of herself. As a woman of color in America, I’ve been struggling for years with how to show up as myself in the corporate space. Doria showed all of how to do it. I watched her as one single mother watches another for life altering hints and how-tos, and she certainly delivered. The first thing I noticed was that this beautiful woman showed up as herself. From her graying dreadlocks to the tiny stud in her adorable freckled nose. She made it clear that she was, and is a woman of both color and culture (cudos for that) and that she would not compromise who she is, even for the Royals.
I could gush on but I won’t. I just wanted everyone to know, I think she rocks really hard! As time pushes forward, I hope to hear more about Doria, and I hope her story is one we all come to know as a single mom success story. As a demographic, we could use a bunch more of those.
We all know however, we don’t have to be the mother of the Duchess of Sussex to be a successful single mom.
Everyday a single mom wakes and gets her kids to school safely and on time is a day of success.
Every day a single mom’s kids return home safely from school, practice, or their father’s house is a day of success.
So, press on single mums. Who knows, maybe your kid will one day lead you to the worlds stage, and once you get there be sure to take a lesson from Doria Ragland and show up as yourself, because like her, you are awesome, just the way you are!