Being a mother is like a complicated French sauce with a lot of ingredients and difficult cooking instructions. You need a cup of love, a pinch of witchcraft, a tablespoon of head-scratching, a teaspoon of "I told you so", and above all a soupçon of alchemy that is indescribable and utterly essential.

Now, as a parent of adult children, I know even less than I thought I did. I worry more, because now things are a little more life-threatening. I want them close, I want them to go away.

All in all, it is the maternal alchemy that I seek.