The last few months Austin was here, I would often find myself staring at him. It was amazing to me how much he was growing. It seemed like overnight, my "baby" was gone and in it's place this teenager, who was really turning into a young man, was before me.
I sometimes remarked that an alien had taken over his body, as his feet hung off his bed. His legs, so long they spanned our living room floor, seemed to be growing before my eyes. Almost daily he would outgrow shirts, pants, and shoes. When we went shoe shopping last fall, he was in the highest size most stores carried. I wondered what we would do next year, if his feet even held out that long.
Austin was always a big boy. It tickled me at pediatriican visits when they would tell me he was over the charts on heigth, as if I could place a book on his head to slow him down. In grade school, he battled his weight at times, but always slimmed back down in the Spring when baseball season rolled around. For many years though, he still kept chubby checks - which he hated and I loved. And then instantly it seemed, they were gone and looking back at me, or rather down at me, was this young man.
He loved that he was growing taller than everyone in the family. I can remember when he was still shorter than me (and yet only about 9 or 10) and every day he would measure to see if he'd passed me up. It didn't take long and his next conquest was to pass his Dad. It was funny to look at Austin, towering over Tim the past year or so. Not only his height but his build, his frame, just shadowed over Tim. At only 14, I know Tim worried about the day that Austin was too big for him to handle. In fact, when it came to wrestling, Austin already had him beat.
As I've written before and with anyone who knew Austin, his age never slowed him down. I think the fact that his body size matched his confidence, helped him in getting his foot in the door. People didn't look at him like a kid. He was respected, admired and acknowledged. It is why we chose the scripture from the book of Timothy for his monument. It encompasses who he was. From the inside out, he was someone who others looked up to.
"Do not let anyone look down on you because you are young, but be an example for other believers in your speech, behavior, love, faithfulness, and purity." 1 Timothy 4:12
I would give anything to look up into those soft, big brown eyes, so sweet they would melt your heart. I long for one of those bear hugs from big arms that circled my shoulders. It was so nice to look up and meet his smile, usually followed by a hearty laugh. It's funny. He isn't here with us but we're still looking up. We look up to the clouds or a beautiful sunrise and whisper hello. We look up to the heavens and talk to him, wondering what miracles and beauty he sees now. And we look up to the legacy that he left behind. It is what gives us hope, what keeps us moving forward, for that is just what Austin would have wanted.