They know how to make you laugh - and how often - and they also know how to make you cry, but not too much. They always suppress that little bit of personal pain that they know would send us over the top. The last thing they want to deal with is "mother monster" going after the boyfriend, teacher, friend, co-worker, boss who has hurt them. A fate too horrible to contemplate!
And then there are the hugs. They give such good, warm, and accepting hugs. Hugs that you know mean they forgive you for all the guilt you harbor from past motherly transgressions - like feeding cold formula by mistake, yelling when they're about to touch the stove, refusing a road trip when "everyone else is going," and making fun of the pimply face youth they think is just "dreamy."
The grown-up mistakes we make, of course, are more awful and require a quiet talk AND hug.
You knew when you suggested that they live closer to home that they would miss the opportunities of a lifetime. You warned them that buying the great "fixer upper" would be a back breaking ordeal even though they were willing because it was such a great price.
You sometimes sour their wonderful youthful enthusiasm with dire warnings that may or may not ever happen - but why open your mouth in the first place. It's their life. Let them live it to the fullest - enjoy it to the mostest. Have FUN!
Sigh! It's hard, the being a mother thing - all the way. But it's also such a complete delight, and well worth taking all the chances.