Our four year old daughter got her hand cut on the ice maker in the freezer. It happened when I was out, so I only saw her when she was bandaged up by Hatzalah, the organization that operates as a sort of ambulance service for Jewish communities.
She was crying when I arrived and her leggings and face were caked in dry blood. The guys from Hatzalah told me she had a really deep gash and needed stitches. They recommended a place in Williamsburg, which would be really fast in responding.
We drove through the area in a Lyft while I played a video to distract my girl. I figured she was okay, that her being calm was a really good sign. I was pretty calm. But I’m also generally calm in these situations, often because of a certain fear of admitting that something may actually be seriously wrong.
When we arrived, we came to this waiting room full of Hasidic women and children. I was the only adult male there. I spoke to woman at the front desk who was nice, and promised to get my daughter in quickly. And in only 5 minutes, we were in the office of the doctor.
I have never seen someone so sweet and delicate with children as this woman who cared for my daughter. It felt like such a relief to see my daughter, calm but with scared eyes, he taken care of someone who cared so much about her and spoke in gentle, sweet tones as she cared for her.
Then she removed the bandage. It was the first time I had seen my daughter’s injury. And any strength I had left me. I had never seen a cut so deep. And in my poor, 4 year old little girl of all people. I almost cried, but then I heard her crying from seeing it herself and realized it was my job to stay strong and distract her. We decided to talk about what kind of candy she’d get when we got home.
The woman told me she needed to check with a hand surgeon. It was possible she had cut some nerves and would need surgery, not just stitches. I nodded and held back a wince. I returned to talking to my daughter about candy until Rivka arrived.
Instantly my daughter got calmer and happier. Her mother was there, watching over her. And I, on the other hand, felt the emotions I had been holding back rush into me. (More in comments)