Everything in his world was for show. Had it been up to him, we would have had 2.5 children just to completely fit the mold of the perfect, all-American family. We arrived home from an errand in his car– all of us together. I had just warned him that our oldest daughter (almost four at the time) didn’t nap and was a bit cranky. I knew he was in a bad mood– I could tell it was the type of quiet anger that frightened me.
I started walking into the house (through the garage) ahead of him –carrying our youngest daughter. Our oldest daughter was upset about her jacket not being on properly and started to have a mini-meltdown. The meltdown wasn’t the problem– it was the fact that she wasn’t “acting perfect” and there were neighbors watching. He needed to “stop her” from throwing a fit– remove her from the eyes of onlookers before his image of perfection was tarnished. He picked her up and carried her quickly through the garage– arms wrapped around her chest and squeezing her tightly to make her stop.
Squeezing her and hurting her to make her stop being a tired, four year old little girl.
I heard the commotion– her cry– the garage door shutting to keep the world from seeing the imperfection. I turned to see him carrying her through the garage and into the house– the look on her face of shear terror. I grabbed her from his arms and told him to leave- to get out of our house. Our renter was in the kitchen making tea– she was also our former nanny and the girls’ Godmother. We placed her on the counter– she was in complete hysterics. She look liked a caged animal. I had never seen my baby look like this. We held her– she was gagging…she couldn’t catch her breath.
I started a bath to calm her down– we sat with her and soothed her. She continued to gag during the bath. My heart broke that day. My biggest regret and one of the few regrets in my life: not calling Child Protective Services.
Days later, I insisted on going to our marriage therapist to explain what happened and ask for advice. I notified him that I was going and it may be reported. He attended the session- he admitted what happened and apologized. The therapist told him to go back home and sit down with our daughter– admit to her that he did something very wrong and to apologize.
The therapist told him that he would assume this was a one-time occurrence but if it happened again…it would be reported.
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