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I do the same thing every night.
I climb the moaning stairs and head straight for the nursery. I change my little one and sing her the sweetest songs I can think of. When I rock her, lullabies punctuated by the squeaks of my old wooden chair, I fret. I fret about the things that run in families: the tendencies and fates that flow through us, inherited as blood. I think of the darkness that seeps from one generation into the next—the curses that are passed down and played out—decade after decade. Even in the midst of these profound thoughts, there are realities that flutter just over my head: the ironic patterns that connect our lives behind our backs, and the experiences that we are completely unaware we have in common.
I lay Dolly down in her crib with utmost care and tuck her favorite blanket under her chin:
It brings me peace to know that the madness of my family—the loneliness, the hidden symmetry, the inaction and the violence, the painful love and the gratifying hatred—cannot live on through her.