But it was a lie. I don't really think that at all. R certainly loves me, more than anyone else in the world: she enjoys my company, she longs for me when I'm not there, she is happy to see me whenever I appear, she trusts me completely, and just my presence makes her feel better. If she had a million dollars, she would gladly give it all to me (instead, she gives her equivalent, unsolicited hugs and kisses, bits of food, and toys). But I know she doesn't think I'm perfect.
In fact, a fair portion of the time she is furious with me. If she could talk, she would scream "I HATE YOU! YOU RUIN EVERYTHING! YOU MAKE ME SO ANGRY!" Right now she is screaming in rage, because I am night-weaning her (while she was ill, she started waking up at night to nurse again, sometimes multiple times, and now that she's better wants to retain this pleasant (for her) habit).
I read the blog Love Live Grow (even though I disagree with pretty much everything the writer advocates, I think she's an interesting person) and she wrote a post about how she's "exactly the mother he [her son] needs and wants". It was in the context of her struggling with depression, so I didn't comment, but honestly this is a lie. Often, I am NOT the mother R wants (like all the time I am thwarting her will), and the same is true for any child.
Being a good parent means making unpopular decisions. I think most parents accept this, but to me it's equally important to accept that making those decisions will give R feelings of pure rage and even hatred. In order to be a psychologically whole person, she needs to know that all her feelings, even those which are scary and upsetting (like hating your mother), are OK. I want her to feel comfortable with being angry with me, and with expressing that anger (albeit only in socially appropriate ways). Otherwise I am just teaching her to lie, both to me and to herself.