My birthday was on Sunday and while I had every intention of sleeping in, I just couldn't and ended up waking up and slipping out of bed two hours before my husband and son did.

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I was curled up on the couch sipping on my third mug of coffee when my sleepy little one stumbled out of his bedroom like a drunken sailor and tugged on the blanket I was wrapped in so that I would open it and he could join me under the warmth. With the sweetest smile, John looked up at me and said, "Happy birthday, birthday girl. You're a big 41-year-old now." And then, he nestled into my body, wrapped his arms around me and we sat like that in silence for the next 15 or so minutes...until my husband woke up.

Once Jay sauntered out of our bedroom, my son couldn't push away from me fast enough. He acted too cool for school like he wouldn't dare be caught snuggling up on his mama. See, my son is a total daddy's boy and I can't completely blame him. My husband is pretty awesome.

In our house, I'm the enforcer while my husband is the pushover and so it makes sense that my five-year-old prefers his super funny and lackadaisical daddy over his rule enforcing mama.

My child is literally the mini version of me and I think that's what helps me deal with the sad rejection I feel from him sometimes because deep down I know it's all one big farce. Although John likes to pretend he doesn't love me, I know that he does. He is fiercely protective of me, he jumps up to get medical supplies if I hurt myself, rubs my back when I cry, asks why I've been gone so long when I leave him home with his daddy while I run errands, and the child can't sleep unless he's got a foot touching my body.  A child who doesn't love their parent won't do those things.

So my fellow mama, if you're feeling crushed because it seems your child(ren) hates you (maybe they've even thrown those crushing words at you), or if they push away from your hugs and kisses when others are around, take heart. Remind yourself of the moments the two of you are alone and how your child sneaks in a sweet remark or action. Remind yourself that they know, deep down they know, how much you love them, and trust me when I tell you that they love you that deeply, too even though they're too stubborn to show it.

I can tell you this with certainty because I was a nightmare when I was younger. My mom and I clashed heads from the second I was pulled from her womb. As a baby, I would scream if she tried to hold me. As a small child, I was vocal in my dislike and even left mean notes for her to find (ironically, they read things like, "Dear Mom, I hate you. Love, Traci"), as a teen I slammed doors and went nose to nose over her authority, and as a young adult, I simply stopped talking to her for quite a bit of time.

Everything changed though when I held my own child in my arms. The love I had for him was more than I could put into words and I hoped beyond hope that he would feel the same about me. The birth of my child and the understanding that my mom felt the same overwhelming love for me brought us closer together. It allowed us to converse without fighting or tears, something my mom waited nearly 35 years to happen.

How my heart aches to think I may have to wait so many years to connect with my son, but I have to remind myself that my responsibility as a mother is not to make friends with him, not yet, that will come (I hope) when he's an adult. My responsibility right now is to raise this child of mine to be a self-sufficient, responsible, hard-working, and compassionate adult just as was my mom's focus with me. I like to think I turned out just fine and that my son also will. I believe in my heart that your child will, too. Don't give up the fight sweet mama. I know. It's hard and it hurts and you're tired but you can do this. I know you can and think of what an incredible person your child will grow up to be!

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