Austin was a lot like me in many ways. Several people commented how much he looked like me. This was not something he liked to hear, who wants to look like their mom?! Aside from looks, we shared a lot of the same likes and dislikes, outlooks on life, etc.
Austin recently found my old cd collection and became a fan of 80s hair bands. It was fun reliving my youth with him, while jamming to a Bon Jovi or AC/DC tune. AC/DC was his favorite and he wore out my "Back in Black" cd, playing it so much. We loved playing Guitar Hero and Rock Band together because so many of those old hits were included on the games. I regret not ever taking him to a concert. I was actually considering it this year, as I felt he was old enough to enjoy it. How I would have loved to see his face when the band came on stage.
He shared my love for all types of music though and would listen to anything once. I guess that is part of what led him to join the band at school. Again, we shared the love of playing musical instruments. I might have been first chair back in my day but I couldn't brag that I played two instruments the first year! He played both trumpet and french horn and got better every month. While he didn't join the marching band, because he didn't want to give us sports, he did love to listen to them play and to practice with them when he got the chance.
Austin also enjoyed cooking and we liked to spend time together in the kitchen. He was a hard critic though and never hesitated in telling me if something wasn't up to par. He liked to add his own special concoctions of seasonings to every dish I made. And then of course, it was "just right!" During the holidays, we would bake for several days, making gifts for teachers and friends. I can remember Austin as a young child, using step stools to reach the counter tops so we could cook. However, he was also independent and liked to be in the kitchen alone. When he was younger, he liked to pick out his own snacks, heat his own foods in the microwave and sometimes make his own lunches for school. As he grew older, I allowed him to do more and more in the kitchen. He became a short order chef for Noah in the afternoons, when they arrived home from school. Much to Noah's dismay though, he was always mindful of not filling him too full and ruining his appetite for dinner.
Austin and I also shared the same interest in movies, tv shows and books - at least on many levels. Sometimes I would introduce him to a new show or book and sometimes he would do the same for me. On one of our trips to the library last year, I realized he like Edgar Allan Poe. Poe was one of my favorite authors at his age. I loved it when he became old enough to raid my bookcase and we could talk about books we'd both read. It is now on my list to read the books that new series "Bones" is from, as those are the ones he was most recently reading. He also always wanted me to read the Pendragon series...and I will. I miss going to the movies with him, just the two of us. Or laughing together over our favorite tv shows. Tim and I will be going to see Jeff Dunham in May, one of Austin's favorite comedians. I sure wish he could sit with us but I'm sure he'll have the best seats in the house that day.
Our personalities are what we probably shared most and I think that is why we were so close. Both of us are reserved, often mistaken for being shy. However, if you get to know us, you know we're just the opposite. We were both always up for something new, the next dare, or pulling a great prank on someone. Both good listeners and I think that is what I miss the most about him. He was one of the few who understood me completely. I didn't even have to say how I was feeling because he just knew - and understood. And he was there, one big arm around my shoulder, ready to listen or say nothing at all. Ready for me to vent or share my excitement. Of course, being so alike also led to us butting heads occasionally. We both shared the same stubbornness and temper! I even miss those too, the random disagreements we would have. Neither of us ever liked to admit if the other were right. I think I'd let him win every time, if I could just have him back.
I miss sharing all those things with him but am thankful for how many there were because they are now precious memories. And all I have left of him.