Now at three, my daughter answers every question beginning with “Would you . . . ?” by saying, “No.” And every gesture I make toward her she considers an act of aggression. She is fierce in defense of her integrity while reminding me many times each day that “I love you, Dad.” And I understand. I love her, too, and would stand aside as, like a flower, she blooms. When I was ten, my father made me sit outside in full view of the neighbors and play German polkas on the piano accordion. It was hot, and both my body and the large black musical instrument became slick with sweat. I tried to play quietly, fantastically hoping no one would hear, and my father screamed, “Louder, play louder!” I felt I could not bear my embarrassment and impotence, my father’s complete power over me. Yet I did bear it. I bore it as I had to. Such a small thing: to play the accordion for one’s father. But it was not small. Those moments of childhood return, and my stomach is a dense knot of hatred and shame. My sad father, wanting happiness and ease, shaking with exhaustion when he came home from his labor, called me to bring the accordion outside and play while he rested, and I bitterly did so, and he knew. But he could not change it, could save neither himself nor me. So you see how it is that I am elated when my daughter says no again, her voice a single petal that I must not try to catch as it tumbles to the ground.