In Loving Memory

  • Remembering my beloved child, Austin, who passed away at the early age of 14. He lived more in those 14 short years than most and is an inspiration to us all.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

the clubhouse

When Tim and I purchased a small shed a few years ago for our backyard, we didn't realize it would bring so much excitement to the kids.

It was actually installed while we were still in the hospital, recovering from our wreck. We had ordered it weeks before and didn't realize we'd have to tell them over the phone where we wanted it be placed in the yard.

Because Tim and I weren't physically able to get to it for awhile, Austin took it over as his own personal clubhouse. It was empty for months, except for a small card table, lawn chairs and a fan. Austin, Noah and other kids would play cards, drink cokes, and hang out in the new hot spot of the neighborhood.

Even after we healed and began to fill it with odds and ends, the table remained and Austin always had a shelf of games, a radio, etc. ready for the next club meeting. I don't know how many arguments I broke up because Noah, younger than the rest of the group, didn't understand why his membership would get revoked. I'd have to occupy him and give the bigger kids some time alone; however, I knew Noah would gladly go break it up to do any snooping I needed from time to time.

Austin and his friends played in that shed all year long, using a fan in the summer and a space heater in the winter. There were times when Austin tried to talk us into letting him put a bed in there. Our shed has a partial loft on both sides and he was convinced that would make a dandy bedroom. I chuckled, remembering asking my mom to let me move into the bathroom one summer, when I wanted my own space.

As Austin grew older, the clubhouse changed and he began to enjoy the time out there with his Dad. They would spend hours out there, building shelves, painting, and organizing. (He never had that much excitement in cleaning his room though!) They'd create projects to work on, turn on the tunes and just be. I can imagine the father-son talks they had out in that shed. I know that Tim misses him as he works out there now.

The shed now contains fun memories. Shelves of decorations that Austin always enjoyed helping us put out. Containers of pool toys, yard games and sports equipment. We enjoyed spending time with the boys in the yard, whenever the weather would support it. Tim would play basketball in the mornings with them, waiting for the bus. He'd be met with a smiling Austin, glove in hand, as he pulled into the driveway at night.

I'm glad that a simple shed, meant to organize and hold all the extra junk our house couldn't, also held so many happy memories for Austin - and for us.

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