I can remember Austin's first crush. Back then, he didn't hide anything. He LOVED Sarah and told me every day he was going to marry her. (This was back when he was about three years old.) I remember him telling me the first time he wanted to marry her. He stopped himself, wondering how I would respond. He said sweetly, "I would marry you instead Mom but Dad already has." He carried this crush for a couple of years and they remained friends until the end.
In grade school, he had a few girlfriends - that I know of. (I probably asked too many questions and embarrassed him with my comments so I know he didn't tell me everything.) I do remember one girl who he was "dating" around Valentine's Day. I thought it was sweet that he asked to go to the store to purchase her something. I was most impressed with the suggestions he gave his Dad upon returning. He let Tim know what he should and shouldn't be doing for me for the romantic day. In fact, Austin frequently gave Tim tips when it came to that! He had a keen sense of what women were feeling and what they might like.
I think he was quite the matchmaker too. Austin would often tell me about friends he would fix up at school. It surprised me a bit because he could sometimes come across as shy; however, I guess he had more guts than many of his friends, since he was doing all the work!
Our last day together, I remember telling him what a good husband and father he was going to make some day. I was so impressed with his patience as he untangled Christmas lights and put together yard decorations. I watched him interacting with Noah and thought that day what a good Dad he would make. He was growing up to be such a special young man.
It hurts my heart that I will never get to see him on that first "real date" and most of all that he never experienced true love. I wished for him to find that happiness someday, to have someone like Tim and I have each other. I imagined him growing up and getting married, having children of his own. I guess the only comfort in knowing he won't have that is that he never had to deal with heartache, which also comes with love.
And then again, with a teenage boy, who knows how many girlfriends he really had. We were never able to find his class ring, which makes me sometimes wonder if he'd given it someone special. If so, that girl was lucky to have Austin in her life, if only for a short time. I know I am thankful for every moment he was in my life and for all the love he showed me.