Quotation by Doris Lessing

Anyone could lick a child all over as if it were a puppy or a kitten—but where had that thought come from? What a strange thing to come into her mind! And anyone could clutch at a child and mark its features: "This nose is mine, and that his, and that my mother's, and that his father's ..." Anybody, even a horse or a dog, could calculate streams of inheritance in that way. And all that was pleasant enough, and of course no one would refuse the delights of watching for the appearance of this or that trait in a child. But that was not even the half of it ... one might not, most definitely could not, say of a child, "mine, mine," or "ours, ours,"Mmeaning, only, parenthood. For what was real and fine and precious in this new being was in relation only with ... somewhere else ...
Doris Lessing (b. 1919), British novelist. Al*Ith, in The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four, and Five, p. 156, Knopf (1980).
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