While many watching the royal wedding live over the weekend saw designer hats, celebrity guests and history in the making, Lesle Honore saw something more personal.
She saw a single mother beaming with pride, alone but victorious as she watched her biracial daughter become royalty.
“This opposite of the expectation of what a family is supposed to look like, paired with the expectation of what royalty is supposed to look like," said Honore, who watched the live coverage from her bed with her daughters beside her.
“It was a lot of pride as well in seeing [Doria Ragland] in that journey and seeing her walk in that space,” she said. “It was emotional for me. It was joyous and it felt very familiar.”
Honore is preparing for her oldest daughter to graduate high school.
“Going through these milestones alone and seeing Doria go through it alone - it was bittersweet,” she said. “I know what it feels like and I couldn’t imagine going through it on that platform.”
Honore, a 41-year-old mother from Chicago’s South Side, took her emotions and began expressing them in the only way she knew how – by writing a poem.
“For all the Dorias of the world,” she began. “Who will sit alone at graduations and weddings, at baseball games and school plays, at proms and award ceremonies…Who will carry the load of everything.”
The words poured out of her and when she was done, she knew she needed to share it.
“When I read it again I was like, ‘Nope it’s done,’” said Honore, who has previously authored a poetry book titled ‘Fist & Fire: Poems that inspire action and ignite a passion.’
She posted it to Facebook the next morning not knowing the reaction she’d get.
Three days later, Honore’s words have been shared more than 28,000 times with another 56,000 reactions.
“I know this is going to sound really corny but I’m really validated and really human,” she said. “To hear so many other men and women talk about their experiences as single parents and feel validated through my poem is really great.”
She’s also hoping the interest in her writing can inspire others to use the art form.
“I hope… more than anything, I hope for conversations about the art and how important it is for our youth to have different ways to express themselves,” she said. “That is a lovely way to process, to connect, to express and we can do that and all of us can find unity in it.”
She ends her poem with a message to others out there like her.
"For the Dorias, free spirited and strong, who know they are never alone, who know there is a matriarchal militia marching with them," she wrote. "I raise my glass to all of us. Salud."
Read her full poem below.
For the Dorias of the world
Who will sit alone
At graduations and weddings
At baseball games and school plays
At proms and award ceremonies
Who will carry the load
And first heartbreaks
Who stay up all night
Helping write papers and college apps
The mothers who silently
Create a universe for their children
Launching pads to toss them in to the
With hands wide open to grab
All the stars their hearts desire
The Dorias who always leave space
For a father’s redemption
Knowing it may never come
Because they have spent a life time
Patching their children back together
Picking up the crushed spirits
Rebuilding them with love
This is for the Dorias
Who will watch as their legacies
Take steps towards their own journeys
Armed with love
Armed with hope
Armed with strength
That the years of struggle
Forged onto their souls
And for the children
Who have watched their mothers
Make a life out of thin air
A dollar out of 15 cents
Who have seen ceilings shattered
Barriers leapt over
And are covered in black girl magic
They know that there is
To their dreams
that hard work can’t achieve
No trial that last forever
They have learned to
Weather the storms
Know for certain that the sun will come
Warm their faces
And illuminate their paths
The way their mothers have
From their first breath
For the Dorias
In that last car ride
Driving to your children’s
For the Dorias
Who know they are never alone
Who know there is a
Matriarchal militia marching
I raise my glass to all of us