Inspired by Kahlil Gibran.

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And a woman breastfeeding in public said, Speak to us of Children
And lo, he mansplained thusly:
Your children are not your children.
You might think they are your children, especially after being in labor for thirty-six hours and feeling them literally tear you a new one as they came screaming into this world, but you would be mistaken.
For it is obvious that they have your mother-in-law’s eyes, coloring, and disposition.
They come through you but not from you.
One does not praise the Bluetooth speaker when Beyoncé’s new album drops.
You are but a vessel; an oven from which a bun shall be removed: fully formed and toasty.
And though they are with you they belong not to you.
Like when you are at the playground, and they are screaming, and everyone is staring, and someone says, Whose kid is this? and you look away saying they are with me, but they belong not to me.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For your thoughts involve tequila and special naked grown-up alone time.
Besides, they have their own thoughts.
Like whatever made them stick a Tic Tac up their nose.
You may house their bodies until they turn eighteen, but not their souls.
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow which you cannot visit.
Not even on parents’ weekend.
You may strive to be like them but do not let them catch you listening to Florence and the Machine or getting a wolf cut because then you are cringe.
Seek not to make them be like you even though your ideas are dope and your look is on fleek.
No one says that anymore and besides, they cannot hear you because their headphones are on.

Know that life goes not backwards nor tarries with yesterday.
Unless you are Benjamin Button.
Or Kate Bush.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are set forth and while the arrows may go swift and far, you may still track them with an app that you have installed on their cell phones.
As bows, let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness.
Despite having poured your blood, sweat, tears, and precious time into a child, worry not about their future.
Rest easy knowing that there is nothing you have ever done or could ever do to affect their trajectory along the path of the infinite.
Just put it from your mind.
There’s no need to get hysterical.