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Dear stranger, thank you for being the 'other mother' in my life

updated 9:25 AM EDT, Fri May 9, 2014
This Mother's Day, CNN readers pay tribute to women who were not their biological mothers but filled a matriarchal role. <a href='http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1118262' target='_blank'>Shawn Fontenot Yujuico</a>, left, was 17 years old when her mom died in a car accident. Stepmother Shirley Fontenot "just flat out loved us. She loved us over our brattiness, our 'You are not Mother,' over our heartbreak. She didn't love us conditionally; she loved us with her whole heart." This Mother's Day, CNN readers pay tribute to women who were not their biological mothers but filled a matriarchal role. Shawn Fontenot Yujuico, left, was 17 years old when her mom died in a car accident. Stepmother Shirley Fontenot "just flat out loved us. She loved us over our brattiness, our 'You are not Mother,' over our heartbreak. She didn't love us conditionally; she loved us with her whole heart."
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Celebrating our "other mothers"
My hero, my grandmother
My college roommate
My student exchange parents
My aunt
My housekeeper
My adoptive mom
My aunt
My sister
My office manager
My dad
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • CNN puts a spotlight on women who have raised children not biologically their own
  • iReport submissions highlight grandmothers, colleagues and sisters who have stepped up
  • Leave your "other mother" tributes in the comment section below

Leading Women connects you to extraordinary women of our time. Each month, we meet two women at the top of their field, exploring their careers, lives and ideas.

(CNN) -- She's the woman who raised you. Walked you to school on the first day. Cheered louder than all the other parents as you played soccer. Wiped the tears from your face when your heart broke for the very first time.

Each lesson she's imparted upon you has been stored away so that one day you might pass it on to your own children when the time is right. Except there's one thing, she is not your mother. She's not even biologically related to you.

They say that blood is thicker than water. But perhaps that proverb doesn't always hold true. Every year we celebrate the remarkable mothers who have taught us right from wrong -- but what about the other women who stepped up to the plate when times were tough?

Ahead of Mother's Day on May 11, CNN is honoring the world's "other mothers." Women who have provided care, guidance and support for children who are not biologically their own.

From stepmothers who made incredible sacrifices to teachers who sought to inspire beyond the classroom, we highlight your iReport tributes to the women that made you who you are today.

Continue the conversation in the comments below and share the memories of these wonderful women.

Read: Famous daughters reveal lessons learned

Opinion: The plight of stepmoms on Mother's Day

Read: Mother's Day ... when mom is gone

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