Each year that I am able to spend with my mother is counted as a blessing. I am all too aware that my time with her is not guaranteed, and I try to value every moment spent with her as there are many others who no longer have that opportunity with their own mothers. My mother has taught me so much throughout life, both spitefully and at times in moments she did not recognize.

For those of us who have had the prestigious honor of becoming queens at our institutions, our mother’s love and support is vital to our success.

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Queendom is not easy; this is something that I am still not all too familiar with. My mother is my diary, my therapist, and my biggest fan (this is something that I am sure all queens can relate too.) For this post, my queen sisters, past and present have all chosen to celebrate their mothers today by sharing lessons they’ve learned from their own mothers. It is my honor to share their stories with you.

“She’s loved on so many people, and gave huge pieces of herself to others.” -Jaemica Logan, Miss Harris-Stowe State University 2016-2017

“Learning to love unconditionally is hard, but my mamma made it look easy. She’s loved on so many people, and gave huge pieces of herself to others. I’ve watched love transform some of the most closed , hurt, broken, and lost people. I would often ask myself why my mom would help and love on some of the most stubborn people. She never gives up on people, not even me. Sometimes the people who deserve our love aren’t the ones who love us back and make it easy. If nothing else I’ve learned love remains and conquers all.”

CarShandra Hollin, Miss Huston Tillotson 16-17

“My mom has always told me keep God first, stay humble, be yourself, make your dreams big and come true!”

“Pretty is as pretty does!” -Candice Howard, Miss Fort Valley State University 2016-2017

“I know this is very short and simple but it is what has always helped me remain a lady and reminded me how to carry myself as a young woman but when I was young and would do bad things, my mom would always say, “Pretty is as pretty does!”

“I have always loved and appreciated my mother, but the amount of respect and appreciation I gained for her after that was surreal.” -Jahmai Holland, Miss University of Maryland Eastern Shore 2016-17 (mother: Kathy Stewart)

“I would get sick a lot when I was younger but on Christmas I was hit with a fever, chills and the stomach flu. I was in and out the hospital for a week straight, from dehydration to damn near malnutrition I could barely do anything for myself. I wasn’t being taken care of at the house I was staying at (had to call the ambulance when no one would take me to the hospital). My mother came and got me packed up my bags and my dogs’ belongings. She was working, taking care of me and her husband at the time, herself, and taking care of Bentley (my dog which she was highly allergic to, but did it anyway), and doing all this while she was also sick with diabetes. But no matter how much her head was spinning in the morning because her blood sugar was too high and her insulin didn’t kick in from the night before, she was up early to fix me a huge breakfast because she said I need to put food on my stomach to get better. “Sweat the cold and feed the fever” was her favorite saying, it was the only thing I heard again and again as she tried to force feed me toast and Activia yogurt! 🙄 Never did she ever complain, or let me see her while she was nauseous because she didn’t want to worry me. I have always loved and appreciated my mother, but the amount of respect and appreciation I gained for her after that was surreal. She taught me the true definition of being selfless and showed me what REAL love is. Thank you to the strongest woman I know.”

“Honest work never goes unnoticed.” -Janaya Joyner, Miss Lincoln University of PA 2016-2017

“My mom always told me to “never get tired of doing the right thing. Even when things seem to not be going your way, continue doing what’s right. Honest work never goes unnoticed. I always questioned her, but as I have gotten older, it shows that good things happen to good people. So beautiful ladies, I’m here to tell you to keep on pushing. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Happy Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful mothers.”

“Always be kind to others, even when they are not kind to you.” -Natasha James, Miss Florida Memorial University 2016-2017

“A message from my grandmother: “Remember God loves you and he has done so many good things for you and to always keep the faith. Always be kind to others, even when they are not kind to you, especially the ones who are trying to use you. You’ve done a fabulous job and I’m so proud of you. No matter the outcome you will always be a Queen to me. This will always be an amazing chapter in your life, something for you to look back on for years to come. I never knew that you were so courageous and smart and talented BUT I always knew that you were beautiful. I love you pumpkin.”

“She always saw the bigger picture for my life.” -Kiana Rushdan, Miss Winston Salem State University 

“My mom taught me to handle business first and to know who I am. I was taught to always have a spirit of excellence too.. She taught me to not only be strong but to be strong minded. It’s funny because I’m super emotional lol and slightly dramatic. I remember crying over things I didn’t accomplish or may have lost out on when I was younger, whether it was boys, being Miss EMC at Bennett, or my parents not letting me go to my dream college. My mom would always get me right on together because she always saw the bigger picture for my life, especially when I was too small minded and wanted to invest my all into the now. I laugh looking back on it because everything fell into place right when they needed to and my blessings surpassed anything I thought I ever missed out on and mama Mingo knew they were. I appreciate it all now.”

“Take them as a lesson and learn from them.” -Lyric Parks, Miss Lane College 2015-2016

“My mother has taught me to remain true to myself throughout every obstacle I face in life, don’t let them break or discourage me but take them as a lesson and learn from them.”

“It will never just be about you.” -Anquinette Taylor, Miss Florida A&M University, 2015-2016

“My mom taught me that you just have to be self-less. It will never just be about you, and because of that you need to give what you have to get a blessing that you may have never had.”

“Remain Humble.” -Bria Harris, Miss Huston Tillotson 2016-2017

“My mother has taught me that life comes with many ups and downs, lessons taught and lessons learned but you are to always keep God first and remain humble.”

“She is the reason I am the woman I am becoming.” -Ebony Acton, Miss Virginia State University 2016-2017

“My mother has stressed the importance of God being number one in my life and to fulfill everything and anything I am determined to achieve. Hence, she is the reason I am the woman I am becoming.”

“She is a woman of holiness and has taught me only that.” -Ashleigh Marie Tate, The 87th Miss University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff 

“My mom teaches me to be courageous! She’s such a “Go Getter” and I aspire to have her drive. I wouldn’t be nearly as successful without my mom praying and pushing me the entire time. She is a woman of Holiness and has taught me only that. To my mom, Katrina Tate.”

“She also showed me the definition of tough love.” -Kierra Carter, Miss Claflin University 2016-2017

“My mother taught me how to be independent. She always said, “I want you to be prepared for the world, if I were to die today.” She taught me how to stay in my lane and to be wise on who I open up to. She always told me who was and wasn’t for me as soon as she met them, and she was ALWAYS right. My mom taught me to be extremely truthful at all times, and she also showed me the definition of tough love.”

“She taught me discernment.” -LaRae Gilliard – Miss Virginia Union University 2016-2017

“My mom taught me how to use discernment in friendships and relationships. She explained to me how to tell the difference between a mutual love and understanding vs being used and abused. It was always important to her that I knew because she has such a giving heart and people have taken advantage of that in her past and she did not want it to happen to me.”

“Despite what life may throw at her, she triumphs those minor obstacles.” -Tianna Stith, Miss Fisk University 2016-2017

“There aren’t enough thank you’s I could give to this SHEro. She is a true living testament of God’s grace and mercy. Survivor of cancer and an overcomer of depression. My mother is one of the strongest people I know. Despite what life may throw at her, she triumphs those minor obstacles with her unshakable faith and joy that is not of this world. The most selfless person I know, who strives to give her daughters the world. You are my world Mama. I love you Glennita B. Stith.”

“Be a positive light.” -Ivy Lorraine Walls, The 83rd Miss Prairie View A&M University 

“My mother taught me to leave my flowers where ever I go, because once people are gone all you have left to give are flowers… That means do all you can for others, serve, give them a helping hand, pray for them, lead them and be a positive light.”

“Work Your Way From The Ground Up.” -Yolanda Christophe, Miss Florida Memorial University 2015-2016

“My mother taught me humility. She never verbally said it, but she showed me that you have to work your way from the ground up.”

“She’s so fierce.” -Justice Lynch, Miss Russ College 2016-2017

“My Mom always taught me to simply “Stay In MY place, wherever God has placed me.” Don’t worry about things that has nothing to do with me and don’t do anything that is not within me. She’s so fierce and could care less of negativity that comes her way. My lady.”

“His plan will always reign supreme!” -Tia Berrett, Miss Winston-Salem State University 2015-2016 

“My mom taught me to keep God first, and seek his will over my own. My plan was never his plan, his plan will always reign supreme!”

This post originally appeared on Hello Queen.