Here is my son with a bruised and swollen face, it took days for his eyes to fully open from the bruising:
When I brought home this angry screaming baby, he always looked like this in most pictures, and in his daily life (Cade obviously on the right):
It was a nightmare that dragged on for months, and months, and months. He screamed and screamed and screamed and cried all day long. EVERY SINGLE DAY. And every night I would cry, and cry, and cry, and pray, and pray and pray for the strength to get through another day.
When Cade got a few months older, NO ONE could hold baby Cade. He would not in any way allow anyone to hold him or his screams got worse. They were so bad and high pitched that it gave my husband headaches for hours. I could turn my hearing aid off, but everyone else around Cade suffered from the screams.
It got so bad that we stopped going anywhere in public. If I did, people would glare angrily at me. They would mutter and whisper. I felt like the most horrible mom in the world. My husband worked two jobs and went to college full time, and was rarely home. I felt so very alone living outside of town without a car most days. And it continued to get so bad that we even stopped going to church for about a year. Cade would pull my hair all the time, so one day I cut if all off until it was one inch long pixie cut.
No one wanted to be around Cade. EVER.
Every day I would get asked by family members and people: when is Cade going to be a normal kid? When is he going to smile? When is he going to be a happy cuddly baby (or toddler, or kid?)
And everyday I would say: please, just be patient.
Cade rarely would go to his Daddy when he was little. No hugs, no playing...nothing. I was so sad about this.
Cade would never smile. EVER. See proof:
(this was my pixie cut for two years)
It has been said many times by others that if I was not Cade's mother, he would have been dead as a baby. Someone would have snapped one day and put an end to the madness that was Cade Powell.
I tried everything in the book. I went to doctors. I tried all kinds of advice. Then one day when Cade was two years old, I decided to create outlets for Cade to get mad at things and just supervise him:
I gave him lots of pillows: Cade would beat and kick the crap out of them.
I put him in a mud pile: He beat the crap out of the mud and threw the rocks.
I gave him paint. Outside. He threw it around all over the place and none of it landed on paper.
I gave him punch-ball balloons. I made balloons for him to pop over and over.
I gave him a Hulk Bop-It thing, and he beat the crap out of it until it popped two weeks later.
And at bedtime he wanted his room cold, the fan on high speed, and wrapped securely with about three blankets and three pillows. (he still does this today at age 14)
He if needed cuddle time, it was in a specific rocking chair and he would scream and cry some more.
If he got hurt while playing, he would get mad and scream, and not want any TLC.
I could on and on with this list until it is 15 pages long.
Then one day, the heavens parted. Rainbows shined. The angels sang.
My patience and perseverance paid off:
Month by month, it got a little better with Cade. Cade's very best buddy became his Dad. And I cried secretly while I watched their blossoming relationship.
When Cade's little sister and brother were born, he hugged them. Kissed them, and adored them. And he tried his very hardest not to be angry and screaming around them.
And I would secretly cry in relief again.
(he would go outside for his mad moments or in another room)
I enrolled Cade in sports and he THRIVED:
As long as Cade is enrolled in sports year round and full time, it helped Cade to grow and thrive and be a happy child.
He still had his moments of screaming, mad, angry days. The real test was when I put Cade in school for the first time.
And I was so worried. So anxious. So nervous.
Would he make friends? Would he be nice? Would he thrive and learn at school?
I went to my very first kindergarten parent teacher conference for Cade. I was a nervous wreck.
And the first thing Miss Daniels said to me was:
"Cade is such an angel."
(disbelief and speechless)
Me: "You don't have to lie to me to make me feel better. You can tell me the truth. I have dealt with things with that boy more than any other parent I know."
Miss Daniels: (perplexed) "I am not kidding. He is one of my favorite students. He is kind, helpful, and always smiling. I just adore him."
Here is Cade at kindergarten:
I went home after the PTC and cried in relief.
Year after year it got better and better for Cade.
He stopped being angry and screaming.
He smiled all the time. He enjoyed life.
Here is Cade at 14 years and 3 months:
Here is Cade recently over the summer:
And here is Cade in November 2013. He was responsible for the very last play at 21-20 on defense. He was responsible for sacking the QB to prevent a score. The crowds were roaring and stamping in the bleachers screaming: DEFENSE!! After a nailbiting 30 minutes in defense mode, Cade helped bring the Ravens to victory.
And when it was all over, Cade's football team ran to the fence lines holding up their helmets to the crowds in celebration in front of the bleachers.
And Cade was yards away off to the sidelines, giving his Dad a hug:
And I cried again.
Happy Birthday Cade. 15 years old today.
You have pushed and challenged me as a parent more than anything else I had to overcome and I have met those challenges.
In return I have pushed and challenged you over the years as a child and you have thrived in school with straight A's every year, thrived at church, at home, and in your community. And have done very well in sports.
And most important, you thrived as a person to the point where everyone wants to be around you.
Just keep smiling.