The experience of mothering can't stay the same as our children grow into adults, yet there are aspects of it that linger. The balance of responsibility for decisions shift. No longer can parents tell their adult children what to do. There may be opportunities to have an influence or be a sounding board but ultimately they will make their own decisions. There's a certain comfort in that - particularly when it seems like they are making the decisions that are best for them.
Looking back at childhood photos we can be reminded of the ways personalities are formed from an early age. Behaviours and character traits can become stronger as the years go by. The little girl dressed up in the nurse cape and apron grows up to become a nurse. The little girl with the strong interest in arguing each point and reading a book a day grows up to become a lawyer. Remembering this can help put mothering in perspective. Children bring something powerful to the relationship. There are some things out of the mothers control. Thank goodness.
Hoping our children stay safe never changes throughout the years. Safe from strangers who can harm, safe from traffic hazards, safe from drugs and other behaviours that can lead to a struggle in life. Mothers can protect little children much more easily than older children and young adults. The early teaching can hold them in good stead over the years but they also need to learn to take some risks as well and test out new challenges.
Knowing you have done the best you can and that they will make their own choices and decisions, just as you did, is helpful. It can calm and help us separate from our grown children. It can help us be there but give space at the same time. That's perhaps what mothering is really all about.