This too shall pass

by Feb 17, 2024Parenting0 comments


Our adult daughter recently moved back home. I heard the comment more than a few times, “Oh you’re no longer empty nesters.” The term, empty nester, has never quite sat well with me. I mean when you look it up online you immediately find it is a syndrome. Apparently it is a collection of feelings of anxiety, sadness, grief, irritability, etc. that parents feel when their children leave home to establish their adult selves in our society.  I have thoughts on that cultural narrative but I will save that for another day. For me, when my three adult daughters moved out and moved on, I felt an array of emotions including the ones mentioned above as well as excitement, anticipation, and joy. But all of these emotions were fleeting and did not persist well past the time they left. I think the reason for this is that early on in parenthood, I adopted the mantra, This too shall pass, realizing that all that arises will pass away. Joys and sorrows, pleasant events and unpleasant events, individuals, nations, even whole civilizations will pass away.  So whatever phase or stage of development my children were in, I sought to accept all that arose knowing that the chapter would eventually close, a new one full of potential would begin, and I could both mourn and celebrate at the same time. When the unpleasant, uncomfortable, and sometimes even agonizing moments arose, I would whisper to myself, This too shall pass. When the pleasant, funny and wondrous moments arose, I would whisper the same thing. This is the practice that allowed me to cultivate that often elusive parental virtue known as patience. This one little phrase may provide that one extra moment to take in all that parenting, and life in general, presents us with.