All young animals eventually need to separate from their mothers - I try not to take it personally when my boys avoid my hugs, or give me monosyllabic grunts instead of answers to questions, and god forbid I ever touch them in public. But I can't help missing those days when they clung to my hand in public, crawled on my lap, or even followed me into the bathroom (anyone else remember those days of never peeing in private?) I realized the perfect analogy for the transition - I was talking to my girlfriend Danielle, whose son is about to come home for holiday leave from military training. She was trying not to feel too hurt that he was going to spend time with friends (and show off his uniform) before he hung out with the family, but she planned to make his favorite pot roast as an incentive, and I blurted out, "Teenage boys aren't dogs, they're cats; not willing to express any affection, but eventually coming home for food."
I've always been a dog person - I love that our beloved mutt, Lucy, follows me everywhere I go and seems to have no interest in anything but whatever her humans are doing. Cats are aloof and snooty, only condescending to acknowledge humans when food or other necessities are involved. So kids are like dogs until they hit puberty, then they become much more feline, and so I'll have to content myself with slobbery kisses from my dog, and the occasional texted 'I love you, mom' whenever the boys want me to do something for them! (However, my friends with older children assure me the boys will become affectionate puppies again once they have their own children, appreciate all our sacrifices, and need advice . . . I'm counting the days!)