Its interesting having the chance to watch my mother-in-law do it too. Good moms, regardless of our differences with them or variations in taste are there for their children, even from far away, even when they grow up. Just because we're legal voters and can drive our own minivans doesn't mean that we don't need that encouraging pat on the back now and then and encouragement to keep on, even when it seems too hard.
Gives me a touch more patience (if I stop and think of it) with my four year old's meltdowns over trying desperately to put his own shoes on. Sometimes we all need to be talked down from the edge and told that we manage, even with the small things.