I have returned from getting X-rays of my nose, which confirmed what I already knew: It’s broken.

Jack straight up broke my nose.

The treatment for a break like this is a) ibuprofen and b) nothing. Because it’s not crooked and I can breathe through it, the medical community can’t do much else. So across the bridge of my nose, there is swelling, bruising, and a bump, which will probably be permanent. And it hurts, a lot.

The thoughts that have occupied my mind these last two days swing from “I’m so grateful my nose isn’t entirely black and grotesquely bulbous” and  “I’m so truly grateful I can breathe,” to “Why the hell is this happening to me?”

Asking “why” can be a stupid thing, but I’m doing it anyway.

Other things I’m asking include:

1. Was it statistically inevitable that Jack’s violence would one day physically scar me?

2. Have we now moved from Jack wrecking the house to Jack wrecking my face?

3. How much worse would I feel if Jack had broken his brother’s nose?

4. Why is Jack such a turd about noses? (Lacey and Junior are wondering the same thing; their noses have both been injured by Jack).

5. Will it ever stop? Will the violence never end?

I realize my nose isn’t the end of the world. But it feels indicative of My Entire Life with Jack. Pain—inevitable. Broken facial features—ditto. Basically just all destruction, disorder, and discomfort—these are my companions.

This post isn’t intended as a woe-is-me campaign, but an honest look at something that is out-of-control and awful.

Jack, Junior, Lacey, and I all went to the psychiatrist’s office yesterday.

(Q: How many grown ups does it take to take Jack to the psychiatrist? A: A great many).

There I learned that despite having tried almost every single anti-psychotic med to control aggression, Jack is basically her only patient whose aggression hasn’t been effectively stamped out by chemical intervention.

This is when the desolation crept in. We are essentially the only family whose heinous trial can’t be helped. This should make me laugh and shrug and say, “Of course. This is us we are talking about. When have we ever had an easy solution to anything?” Because I’m jaded.

I’m not laughing, though. My emotions are tender, like my nose.

I went to the aquarium with Charlie and Truman today for Charlie’s class field trip. It was wild there, because schools all over the state are sending busloads of children to all the museums and child-centered venues today. It’s field trip season.

I said a prayer as I slurped down my Three Cheese Poblano soup from Kneaders in the parking lot before tossing myself into the fray, “Please help me do this.”

I went inside and walked among young moms wearing fashionable ensembles, who were talking excitedly to each other about pacifier-use and trendy toddler-girl shoes. I thought to myself, “I used to be you. I used to feel that life was manageable. I used to have the energy and space in my life to care about regular things.”

And then I thought, “But today I am walking among you with a broken nose, because my son intentionally smashed his head into my face.”

We watched the penguins swimming, a graceful sight, and I thought about how all trials are consecrated for our good.

We looked at jellyfish moving ethereally in dark water, and I told myself that God is letting me grow.

The sharks swam authoritatively over our heads in their arched tank, and I thought, “The world is beautiful, and it hurts.”


  6 comments for “Underwater

  1. Allysha
    April 29, 2016 at 4:26 pm

    Ouch. I am very sorry for your nose, and for the chaos. The juxtaposition of this post against your last post is life in a nutshell, I suppose. God is there, Truth is there, and sometimes we get a smashed broken nose.
    I don’t know if I can say anything to make you feel better physically or otherwise, but you have my complete respect and even though we don’t know each other at all, you have my love, too. I think you are wonderful.

    P.S. How long does it take broken noses to heal?

    • Melanie
      May 13, 2016 at 10:09 am

      Ditto to what Allysha wrote. It seems like sometimes that happens, a spiritual experience to give you strengthen to get through the trial just around the corner. Right now I’m living life by the mantra, “God doesn’t give us what we can handle, he helps us handle what we are given.”

  2. April 30, 2016 at 10:29 am

    This made me cry. I’m sorry for all of the hard shit in your life.
    This didn’t come off as a woe-is-me post. It was very real.

  3. April 30, 2016 at 9:54 pm

    I recently found your page through the Bringing Up Betty podcast. I haven’t had a chance to read many of your old posts, but I felt compelled to comment because I want you to know you are not alone. My oldest child is currently in the hospital for the third time in six months due to his out-of-control behaviors. I hear you. I see you. God is for you, but DANG does life suck.

    My son only harms his brothers at this pooint (you’re right in realizing that’s worse than if he’d harm me…), but I did just complete a self-defense class (I wrote about it a few posts back). I cannot recommend this enough.

    Finally, cute moms worried about passifiers… Blehhh…

  4. Julie M
    May 1, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    I don’t know quite what to say, other than I’m sorry, and I hope the Advil helps. And anything else I’ve attempted to write out seems inadequate.

  5. Mary
    May 30, 2016 at 9:46 am

    My son goes for the knees. He knows that those are the weak spots in both parents (we’ve both had knee surgery). My family is in a good place tight now. We’ve found meds that help him with impulse control, which allows us to actually use those coping skills we’ve been trying to implement for the past several years. Is it all “perfect” , no, but it is better. I have been at the point of loss of hope. I sat in the bathroom trying to figure it all out (see sobbing) and I had an epiphany. The Lord absolutely knows what it is like to have reached the end of endurance. He knows what it means to beg for the trial to end, then to keep going because He loves us.

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