As a new father I have been dreading certain events for when they first happen. Prominent amongst them was the first time we are unable to catch Melian when she slips and/or falls. I say “was” because this afternoon it happened for the first time – sitting next to her on our sofa, and she doing a forwards lurch that I was unable to prevent. Suddenly she is on the floor, screaming.
Fortunately she took no major damage, I think mostly her screams were from the shock as much from the pain. Not an hour later she was laughing and happy, and reaching out her arms to me wanting a cuddle.
Cuddles which I desperately need because I do feel very cut-up about it. After all, if I had been a moment or two quicker to react … well, such things cannot be taken back. I feel a little like a part of her innocence has been lost.
Actually there is part of me is slightly proud. With Melian screaming, and being held by my wife, I very nearly went totally inert as the emotion washed over me. As with many Aspergic people I am not always able to process emotions very effectively, and they can overwhelm me. My wife said to me something like “stay with it” or “keep it together” – and somehow I was able to do so. Once she had started to settle a little, and had started to feed, I cried. Cried out at the hurt of feeling like a failure for being unable to protect my daughter. There is no shame in that – just goes to show how much I do indeed care for my Melian. Nevertheless I was able to function throughout. It came close, but I did it. Rather than be an additional burden for both my wife and daughter I went and got Melian’s favourite toy and helped distract her with it, which helped settle her.
Ultimately a fall was always going to happen sometime. This will not the last either. We have been fortunate the first had no great harm, and at least the first time is over. While it may not make subsequent occasions easier, precisely, at least now I know for certain I can cope without having a panic attack. That is an amazingly comforting thing to know.