My son has been a mama’s boy since the day he was born. My little guy and I share a special bond that I hope lasts forever.  When I tuck him into bed at night, I always tell him that I love him, we say prayers, and I give him a kiss and a hug. But lately, he’s been breaking my heart. I’ve not been able to complete our nightly ritual, because when I bend down to offer my love, my sweet boy tells me, “No more hugs, and no more kisses.” Even after I ask him why and request a hug for the second time, he still says no.

And while it hurts to hear him say it, and even more to watch him turn his head away, I know that he’s learning a valuable life lesson through this encounter. That if someone asks you for a hug, a kiss, or anything physical, and you say no, they should take that as a no. While I’m likely to instill this message deeper into my daughter’s mind, it’s one I find important for my son to understand too. Nobody should ever force you to engage in physical contact without your consent.

So, as heartbreaking as it is to hear my little boy reject my advances, I know that I must respect his wishes. Hopefully this is just a phase, and he’ll be hugging and kissing and loving me all over when he reaches a new phase in his life. I just want him to know that I’ll never reject his hugs or kisses. And while I might sneak a kiss on the cheek in once he’s fast asleep, I won’t ever force him to accept any affection from me that makes him want to push me away. Having him close is what keeps me going, and I hope to keep going for a really long time.

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