When you lose a child, you somehow forget about any bad habits, as the best of them shines through in memories. Austin wasn't perfect by any means, even though I think he was wonderful. Like everyone he had his own share of character quirks and attitudes that sometimes got the best of my patience. However, even on his worst day, I'd take him back in a heartbeat. I even miss the not-so-good days we had!
Austin had his father's short temper and his mom's stubbornness, not a good combination! Because his temperament was so much like his Dad's, they often butted heads and I was the mediator. We never had the screaming matches like I hear some teenagers do, but his temper mixed with his mom's stubborn "I'm right" attitude, did make for some heated discussions. I'd give anything though to hear his large feet pounding through the house, followed by the slam of his bedroom door. Because after any episode like this, it was later followed by a hug and a soft "I'm sorry" as he never stayed mad very long.
I also miss Austin's unorganized messes. Being the neat freak I sometimes am, it was something we often disagreed about. I'd let his room go for awhile, with frequent reminders, and then his dad or I would step in and clean out. He was so unlike me in this area and I couldn't understand how liked his room messy. Clothes piled on the floor so you couldn't tell what was clean or dirty (I guess he could), old coke bottles and food wrappers, a misplaced shoe and lost remotes, were a common view in his room. Occasionally, he'd get a burst of energy or desire to clean and he would tidy up from top to bottom, vowing to never let his room get dirty again. Of course, it was only a matter of days before he fell back into bad habits and the mess would overcome. But I'd give anything to step into room, see a new mess appear, and be able to fuss at him to clean it up. It would be so much better than walking into the emptiness that is there now.
I tried so hard to pass on my organization skills to him, and he tried, but he shared too much of his Dad to gain any ground. Austin was so smart, being selected for the Gifted Program and Duke TIP programs, but he had difficulty in school sometimes because of lack of organization. He would lose assignments, misplace homework, or forget to bring home a book to study. It was a struggle and we had so many conversations about his future and the need to get organized, especially before college. I would sit him down, help him organize his assignments, learn how to best use his planner, and help him get caught up so his grades wouldn't fall. It frustrated me that he would get zeros on his homework, just because he lost it or forgot to turn it in. He had the potential of making straight A's. However, I wish with every ounce I could go the mailbox in a few weeks and see his grade card, even if it included C's.
Austin was nosy, or a nicer word I guess would be "in the know" and his attentive ears sometimes got him trouble. If he heard a whisper, he was in full alert. He had an innate ability to radar in on drama and always knew who was going through what in the neighborhood and all around. What tickled me is that he always had an opinion about whatever gossip it was, and normally had wisdom about the issue well beyond his years. He was an excellent listener, whether you came to him with a problem or whether he just picked up on it. I've heard people since say he was their source, if they had to know more about what just happened. It wasn't that he gossiped or spread rumors, his facts were accurate. Like the news channel, he was just among the first to know. Sometimes the random text messages bothered me, interrupted my day. Do I really care that the bank pulled the plug on the latest business opening? Do I care that Sally broke up with Fred? Not really, but I'd love for my phone to play his song, announcing the latest news bulletin.
Austin was a wonderful big brother to Noah but as was said at his service, "Nobody could hit Noah, except Austin." He did pick on Noah, or knock him on the back of the head for no reason, or use his size to intimidate him at times. They often argued, neither ever wanting to take the blame. After school, it was not uncommon to get a "Mom, tell Noah to..." call or a text saying, "Noah needs to be in trouble when you get home." And I'd meet them both at the door upon arriving home, hearing both their cases at the same time, and usually sending them both to their rooms because I couldn't pick who was right or wrong. It was sometimes humorous to watch them, fighting one minute, wrestling the next, fighting again because someone pushed or pulled to hard, then laughing the next. The most precious was the random hugs or words of "I love you" I would hear pass between them. I miss those moments so much. I'd love to hear a fight breaking out right now and be able to go break it up.
Austin had so many wonderful traits and I have tried to share them on this site. However, even his bad traits are missed. I would take them all again, gladly, if it meant I got to have him still here with me.