The thoughtfulness and wisdom in posts here at MDC always impress me. I'm glad I came here to get advice and different views. Thank you all so much.
I wish this was neater and tidier. When I imagined scenarios like this before getting married, or seeing them portrayed on tv/movies, the correct course of action seems so black and white, so obvious. But being in this situation, it's all just grey and confusing. Even with the good advice being given, I still feel so lost.
Yesterday my husband told me that he contacted the counselor (via online form, which is one one to set up a first appointment). He did that on his own, without my prompting/asking/reminding. So I thanked him for it, and was glad to hear it.
We visited my parents yesterday. My parents both separately asked my daughter what happened to her arm. When my mom asked, my daughter said (very quickly) "i scratched my dad so my dad scratched me back" and then quickly moved on to the next subject. She said it so quickly, my mom obviously couldn't quite understand her. She looked at me and said "did the cats scratch her?" I said "no" and it was left at that as DD was pulling grandma away to come to a "tea party" she had set up. Later my dad saw her arm and asked what happened he said "it looks like your arm went into a meat grinder!"
But DD is a rough-and-tumble kid, often has bruises on her shins from playing outside or playing with her brother. My dad isn't a good listener and is easily distracted and seemed to assume that it was just some mystery scrapes that she got from playing.
I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to offer up the details of what happened because if there is any hope for our family to stay intact then my parents knowing that my husband hurt their granddaugther would be the end of that. Honestly, I thought there was about a 50% chance that my husband would end up with a broken nose yesterday... my DD is so cherished and adored by my parents. If my dad knew, he would likely deck my husband. And with my dad's personality, my husband would not ever be forgiven. That kind of a scenario seems like it would be so damaging to the kids. It seemed better to not say anything.
But I also didn't tell DD to lie. I didn't dress her in a way that covered her marks (too hot for long sleeves anyway). I prayed that God would guide the day and whatever He wanted to be revealed would be revealed.
My daughter is at camp right now. She still has those marks on her arm (they were fairly deep scratches... right now it it looks like her arm slid in gravel or something - they are no longer 3 well defined lines but rather a cluster of small scabs, maybe 3 inches long at the longest point). Part of me is fearful that when I pick her up, they will ask me about the marks and I won't know what I should say. To be completely honest, I think a small part of me almost hopes someone asks. I'm really ashamed to say that. But it might show my husband how serious it is if someone outside of me is concerned. I think he thinks i'm just over-reacting.
I have taken pictures of my daughters arm... just in case I should ever need it. In case, I guess, it gets to the point where we need to separate and I need to prove that my husband should not have custody. There were two other instances where I have pictures of my son as well (a grab-mark bruise on his arm in on instance, and a small bruise from a hit or pinch - can't remember now which - to his torso in another instance). I had previously had a couple of other pictures and brief descriptions of "incidents" but I deleted them - I guess in a moment of optimism.
I am very hopeful that this counselor can help. I feel like I still haven't decided exactly what I am doing, or what I am supposed to do. I might talk to a woman at my church who is in my bible study and see what insights she might offer. But I am still very very very apprehensive about discussing any of this with anyone in real life (that is, face-to-face).