Her screams cut me deeper than she meant them to, but the facts were clear: I was deficient, and this helplessness was a new layer to my trauma.
To her I’m a constant; one of two people she knows to rescue her from the hunger she can’t yet understand, and the fear of loneliness she knows only by instinct.
But in this state —without use of my arms after a vehicle crash— I could feel the vulnerability of not fully acting as the big, strong daddy my 7-month-old needs me to be; the one who can lift her the highest, and embrace her the tightest.
Or the one who comforts her when she cries.
I maneuvered my fractured left wrist to her one side, and my separated shoulder and damaged right arm to the other, as I bent into her bassinet as deeply as I could.
With every ounce of my strength and coordination, I pulled her small, emotionally-exhausted frame to my chest in a kind of desperate bear hug.
By the time my wife returned to the room my daughter had calmed.