She rocked you to sleep at night. She put a Band-Aid on your skinned knee. She made sure you were home by curfew. And she did it because she's your mom.

But eventually you traded help with your homework for advice on your marriage, and instead of being called to the dinner table, you rang her for lunch. You realized: She was not only your mom, she was also your friend.

With Mother's Day around the corner, we asked readers to submit letters detailing why their mom was their friend, and boy did those letters pour in. People responded with profiles of their mom, family stories and, most importantly, examples of why their mom is their best bud. Here are a few letters they shared with us.

— Alyssa Phillips

Growing up, my mom and I were as much friends as a daughter and mother could be. We had the usual ups and downs that mothers and daughters have. After high school I joined the Army and I didn't see or talk to her as much. I spent most of my time overseas in Panama and Saudi Arabia, and then North Carolina. My mother always wrote me letters and sent care packages. She headed the "Support our Soldiers" group in town when my company was deployed to Saudi Arabia. When I arrived home it appeared that she had half of the town waiting in the driveway to welcome me back. She has always been there for me.

After the military and a divorce I moved back home. Living with your mother as an adult isn't always easy. We didn't always see eye to eye, yet she continued to love and support me.

Fifteen years later, my mother is not only my friend, but my best friend! We talk on the phone at least twice a day and see each other 3-4 times a week. We shop together, gossip over coffee, tell secrets, and challenge each other to lose weight. She is truly my best friend. I love my mother, but I also love that she is my friend.

— Theresa Romo

In 1980, my beloved father passed away unexpectedly. Though my sister Donna, my brother Neal and I were devastated by our loss, our mother Doris had lost her high school sweetheart after 32 years of blissful marriage. Through it all mom showed enormous strength putting on her bravest face for all those she loved. Her quiet dignity and grace in the face of extreme tragedy pulled me through the hardest time of my life.

Over the years, mom has become my confidante, counselor, financial advisor and sounding board. But most important of all, she has become my best friend. She is never an intrusive force but rather a comforting presence in my life. I've made mistakes along the way but never once have I heard her say, "I told you so." She is simply there for me with her reassuring smile to help me pick up the pieces and move forward. She has been both mom and dad to me and has shown me that a life without hope is not worth living.

Perhaps I don't tell her this often enough, I love you mom.

— JoAnna Herendeen

I am not only lucky but so blessed to have my ex-mother-in-law, Aloha Baker, in my life.

I met her in 1974. I was 18 and pregnant with her son's child and scared to death. He had just told her that we were going to get married. I just knew she was going to be angry and tell me how I ruined her son's life, but instead she was gracious and kind. She was wonderful to me that day and has never stopped being wonderful.

I was only married to her son for a few short years, but our mother/daughter relationship has lasted a lifetime. She is my best friend, my confidant, my strength. She is the one I call when I need advice or I need someone to gently remind me that I am not the center of the universe.

When I remarried 25 years ago, my husband became her son-in-law, and when we were blessed with a son he became her grandchild. And she and her husband, Jack, are part of our family, forever!

— Diane Gibson-Gray

When I was about 7 years old, a fairly acrimonious custody battle ended with my brother and me moving across the country to live with our father. Suddenly, my mother, who had left college to be married and raise a family, found herself alone. I never suspected how lonely and isolated she must have felt. She never showed it.

Instead, she made sure that the summers we got to spend with her were happy ones. She did all the things that my brother and I imagined moms who lived with you did. She baked us cookies, took care of us when we were sick, and soothed us back to sleep after a bad dream. Being apart from her for most of the year was difficult, but mom was always there for me. After every major dramatic event of my young life (and as a teenager there were plenty) she was on the phone listening and giving good advice.

And it's still that way. My mom is the first person I want to call when something happens in my life. Best of all, a few years ago she moved to California. Now I get hugs along with good advice. Thanks mom, I love you!

— Ariana Mohit

I am one of the lucky few to have grown up in Livermore and have my parents' living in the same house I was raised in. As I grow older I become keenly aware of others, greatly separated in distance, from their own loved ones. I have so many dear memories of my family being just a phone call away and my mother always being there for me.

When I was a new mother my mom was there for support and constant praise for the job I was so desperately trying to do, just like her. She was a source of great advice, provided hands on help when both babies were sick, and watched little ones while I took a "timeout" for myself.

As my children grew up, my mom was there for every event, baseball, karate, school plays and church events. How proud I was to have my mom sitting next to me at these special occasions.

I'm blessed to say that not only is she my Mother, but most importantly, my friend. Happy Mother's Day mom. I love you.

— Sandy Guymon

I have been given an exceptionally wonderful friend in the person I call Mom. All you have to do is ask anyone who knows her and they will agree.

My mother is a joy to be around — a breath of fresh air. She has been blessed with a great sense of humor, bunches of wisdom, and a beautiful caring heart. Most of all, she has a spirit of adventure that is contagious. This spirit of adventure provides me with a great traveling companion.

Just this January we traveled together to visit my brother who is working in Israel. We traveled in a rental car, just the two of us, for four days. We skipped the bus tour and the tour guides, relying instead on God's grace, a good map and friendly people to help us on our way. We had a great time driving around the country, exploring ancient ruins in the desert, walking the shores of Kineret, as well as hiking the areas of Banias and Ein Gedi.

Last year we shared a family vacation to Costa Rica. On this trip we had planned one full day of fun and adventure. We started out on horseback to the Rio Negro. Once at the Rio Negro, we traded our trusty steeds for a large rubber tube that we used to float down the river. Surviving the second leg of our journey, we boarded a bus and traveled to the staging area for the last adventure of the day — zip lines! Mom did it all, without complaining once.

My mom has modeled for me faith in God and the ability to really live. She has shown me how to live without fear. She has shown me how to live with a sense of freedom, for which I am very grateful.

— Gina Vanderhorst

Preschool 4 years old, sobbing hanging on your legs, begging you not to leave me. I had you in tears. In two weeks you had me at Grandma's.

Your healing touch and soothing voice helped me to heal after all my surgeries.

You never spanked. You never even had to yell.

You listened to what I had to say.

I'm a better mother and person because of you.

You still have your childhood best friends.

You've taught me to get joy from little things: coffee, gardening and nature, a good book and chocolate.

You tell people you love them and how important they are.

You write sentimental cards. Nobody will read them in public since you make us cry with the beautiful things you say.

You're passionate about your home and surroundings.

The caring, graceful way in which you care for Grandma.

You are a beautiful person inside and out.

I could never wish for you to be different. You have been perfect.

You are not only my mother, you are and have always been, my friend.

— Michele Eakin

As a sophomore in high school, I'm often prompted to start complaining about how annoying my mother is, how much she doesn't understand me, etc. However, I've never been able to identify with my classmates when they whine about how their mothers are ruining their lives.

I actually enjoy spending time with my mom, strange as that concept may seem to many other girls my age. We have fun together. Sure, our shopping trips might be plagued by my idiotic teenage mood swings, but the good times always cancel out the bad.

She always makes me laugh without meaning to, like when she tries on clothes in the dressing room, does a model walk in the hallway toward the mirror, strikes a pose and then turns to me, giggling.

I know I'm lucky to have a mother like her. Love you, mama!

— Emily Ellsworth

She became more than a Mom to me around the age of 23. I am now 55 and she is 79. She loves us four "kids" equally, but I think she and I are the closest because of what we share. She stayed in a very difficult marriage and from that example I saw that I could stay in mine and be happy.

She has a lot she could complain about: Dad suffers from dementia, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. She is setting a good example again by doing the best she can, being grateful for what she has and not complaining very much or very often. I have a lot to live up to.

The best part about my Mom is that she is truly my best friend. Depends were invented for friends like us, that's how hard we laugh. I have my own daughter now and I'm blessed because the best friends tradition is alive and well.

Funny, she's now 23!

— Karyn Maynard

My mother is, without a doubt, the most committed, understanding and present mother I know. All of her motherly characteristics and her incredible ability to dispense timely, genuine, and realistic advice has come in handy over my 25 years of life.

In middle school, when I was debating whether to give up my dancing and try basketball, my mother told me to be open to new experiences and reminded me that dancing would always be there if I changed my mind.

In high school, when many of my peers were rebelling or avoiding communication with their parents, I was constantly seeking out my mother's advice. I knew from experience that her words, though not always what I wanted to hear, were spoken out of experience and love.

When I was preparing to get engaged to my boyfriend of five years, my mother handed me the book "Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus" by John Grey and said, "Read it and then we'll talk!" And sure enough we did. As always her guidance helped to strengthen my understanding of myself and others.

I am blessed to say that my mother is my trusted confidant and best friend.

— Keli Martinez

We must have been friends early on as Mom was always my strength, my teacher, my confidant. But our friendship became obvious to me in my college years when we "hung out" together. I talked Mom into having her ears pierced at the age of 50, she used my car to learn to drive at the age of 55, we went shopping together. Growing up, mom taught me to cook, care for a home and care for others. She worked at S.F. City College as the secretary to the Registrar and I followed in her footsteps for over 35 years, as a secretary (Senior Executive Assistant). She taught me to exceed as she had.

Mom (physically and emotionally) cared for my father — who had Parkinson's and Alzheimer's — as well as my grandmother. She also provided loving day care for five grandchildren in their early years.

Most significant, Mom has taught my two brothers and me the importance of family unity. Our lives are blessed and enriched because of her. She wears an angel pin daily and she is our angel, our mother, our role model and our friend.

— Linda Pearson

My mom is the most loving, caring person there is. When I was growing up, she poured out her love to my five siblings and me, and to all our friends. Wherever we lived, mom made ours a home for everyone. I would have all the neighborhood kids play at our house. My mom would watch all of us and make us lunch and snacks. It was like living in a community center. Her positive energy and happy smiles rub off on people. Everyone who meets my mom loves her.

When I was in high school my mom loved to cook and bake for all of us. Her cooking and baking were the best. My friends always looked forward to her baking cakes, cookies and pies. Many of my friends in high school called her mom as well.

She hasn't a mean bone in her body. She will do anything for anyone. She would truly give you the shirt off her back. She loves her family so much and shows it all the time. She has to give you a hug and a kiss on the cheek every time you greet her or before saying goodbye.

She has a heart of gold, would never speak badly of anyone or hold a grudge. She lives for her family and is never too busy for us. We have a family dinner at mom's every week.

She is my Mother of the Century, and she is my dear friend. I have been blessed having her as my mom. I could never have asked for anyone better.

Happy Mother's Day and thanks for being you.

— Robert Mickanen

Nothing is ever the same after you lose your mother. My mother Mary passed on when I was very young. My life has never been the same since she died. I wish she could be here to have celebrated the special days with me: my wedding, the births of my sons, my college graduation, my professional career and especially her birthdays.

But with the grace of God and good fortune (through marriage), my mother-in-law Famie came into and blessed my life. She is my best friend forever. Yes, yes, yes ... she is my BFF! Famie has helped to heal my heart from the significant loss of my beloved mother. We complete each other's sentences and thoughts. We have had endless hours of chat and laughter, day in and day out, regardless of the miles that often separate us.

I am thankful and blessed to have such a beautiful, wise and wonderful woman not as my mother-in-law but as My Mom.

— Helen Mickelson

Years ago my mother gave me a refrigerator magnet that read: "A daughter is a forever friend and I'm so glad you're mine."

We both graduated from the University of Delaware, 33 years apart. I even took a class in opera appreciation because mom is a fan. I moved west from Delaware when I was 25, but mom and I have become friends despite that separation.

In 1993, at 45, a stroke caused me to relearn walking and speaking. Mom's brain-injured daughter can no longer teach high school. I now volunteer, but sadly I can't visit mom as often.

My husband, who wasn't raised by his parents, connected with my mom instantly and now addresses my mother as "Mom." My two wonderful brothers live in our hometown with their families, so mom has many who think of her as both mother and friend.

Last summer at mom's home, I paid much attention to Obama's presidential campaign, but didn't mention my support. (Republican parents as I grew up.) Later I learned that mom had been for Obama from the beginning. Sadly, I'd missed a month of sharing our support/admiration for him.

Guess I needed a reminder of that refrigerator magnet!

— Mary Lou McGinness

I am writing this on behalf of my sister and me. Our mother Corine Marquez is the most wonderful mother any two women could ask for. She is more than just our mother but our friend as well. I wouldn't say we were always friends though, especially during those teenage years, but as young women we can now appreciate everything she did for us during those years.

We do so much together and we love spending time with her, we see her everyday because she takes care of the grandchildren. So every morning we have coffee, talk, and she reads our horoscopes; we wouldn't have it any other way.

We love camping, going on family vacations, shopping and just hanging out with our mother. She has taught us to be good, hardworking women, as well as caring mothers, and great wives. We are very appreciative to be so lucky to have her as a mom.

Happy Mother's Day. We love you!

— Yolanda Marquez

My mom took me to many different types of doctors and learning specialists while growing up. I had many behavior and learning problems. Help wouldn't come until the age of 20, when I was diagnosed with Tourette's syndrome and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

For 14 years, while I was wondering what was wrong with me, my mom never gave up hope. When I didn't think life was worth living, because I didn't think I would ever be able to go back to school, get a job, or lead a normal life, my mom was right beside me.

After I was diagnosed with Tourette's my mom wrote letters to every teacher I had ever had. She told them that the problems I had were not my fault and they were wrong to give up on me.

When my mom passed away last year. I not only lost my mother, I lost my biggest supporter, confidant, and my best friend. The hundreds of people who came to her service had realized very quickly what I've known for my entire life. She was the best friend that a person could have.

— Chris Mason

My mom died when I was 15 and my dad married Janet a year later. I didn't like Janet, though I did think she was pretty. She had lots of friends who loved her, and my dad loved her too. She made him so happy that I tried to accept her, but only grudgingly.

As "lady of the house" I had prepared the family meals, but as a stepdaughter I was told to peel the potatoes. I felt like Cinderella.

Surely Janet wasn't thrilled with her sullen and resentful new stepdaughter, either. Which makes what she did all the more remarkable. She took on the often thankless role of mom to my brother and sister and me. She balanced a household of six kids who all wanted to feel they were being treated equally, though each needed something different.

When my dad died I wondered what Janet would do. I'd seen other stepparents take the money and run. Not her. She's more fiercely mom than ever before. And she helped send my kids to college.

Somewhere along the line I came to realize why she had so many friends. And I realized I had become one of them.

I still think she's pretty.

— Diane Tyrrel

My mom has always been there for me. I tell her everything.

Growing up we shopped together and had lunch. She paid then. Now I am 59 and she is 79 and the role is reversed — now I pay.

My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer 1½ years ago and it is stage four and went into her bones. She is never sick and has been a real trooper through this whole ordeal. She has gone through chemo and I was there the day she lost her hair so I cut it all off.

I live two hours away but I was there for all her biopsies and some of her treatments. She has a great attitude and has left this in God's hands. They couldn't operate but she is still going through chemo on her bones every month. Her hair has grown back.

The time we have spent with each other is priceless. Once a month I go and spend a week with her and my dad. They love it. She and my dad spent most of their time at Jackson Rancheria. It keeps her going. When I am there she and I gamble side by side, laugh and enjoy our time.

It is the little things I will remember about my mom. She and I love to eat liver and onions, it's our favorite. I can't always be there but she knows I love her and care. I call her 3-4 times a day. I am glad we have had all these years of sharing. Mother I love you always!

— Linda Murzi

No doubt about it, my mom is my best friend. Our daily phone calls bridge the 400 miles between us. I know how she's feeling by the sound of her voice and I usually manage to perk her up by the end of our phone call. We even telewatch some of our favorite TV shows.

We share recipes and when I visit and usually end up in her kitchen trying to cook up something new.

Thank you mom, for being there for me for over 58 years.

— Rhonda Canotal

My mother is not just my friend, she is first and foremost my mother. She is my closest ally and protector. She is always there for me and will always be there for me. We do not always see eye to eye on things but I know she is always thinking of me and what is best for me. And even if we don't agree on things, we agree to disagree. I love her with all of my heart and would do anything for her.

She was there for me during my divorce and I will never be able to repay her for that. When I got divorced my daughter and I moved in with my parents for a little while. My mother never judged me and she took care of me and my daughter.

On days when I was too sad to get out of bed, she would take care of my daughter for me. When I was sick she would make me rice porridge, our version of chicken soup. Whatever my daughter and I wanted to eat for dinner, she would make it for us. She nourished me and made me stronger emotionally, physically, and mentally, through her love, her support and her food. I think that is how she likes to show her love, through her cooking.

I call her once a week and I have lunch or dinner with her once a week. I admire her very much. She is a hard worker who has sacrificed a lot for her family. I have never seen my mom relax, she is always doing something. I wish I had half the energy my mom does.

My mother is a very strong woman who has opinions about most everything. She is also very funny and loves to tell stories. Everybody loves my mother, but nobody loves her as much as I do.

I just want her to know that I really appreciate her and everything that she has done for me. Mom, you are the kindest, nicest, sweetest mom in the whole world.

— Teri Norbye