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.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

12th Birthday

Austin broke tradition this year and had two parties.

His 12th birthday for family was much like the ones before and after. We had all the family over for a big cookout and pool party, complete with yard games.
However, as he'd just graduated 6th grade and was moving into middle school, he decided he wanted to invite several friends over for an additional party and sleep over. It was certainly an experience, having a dozen 12-13 year-olds in the house! They pigged out on pizza and cokes, stayed up all night playing video games, and were sprawled out all over the house deep in sleep when the sun came up the next day.

One of his favorite gifts that year was a trip to Cincinnati with Tim, his best friend Blake and his dad. Blake wasn't able to spend the night with Austin, so he surprised him the next weekend with this gift. They went to see a Reds game and Austin had the time of his life. The ticket stubs for that game are still hanging on a memory board in his room.

We found the Evansville Otters that year too and it was a good 2nd choice, as it was closer and cheaper than Cincinnati. We went to see them play a couple of times a season and enjoyed the family outing. Nearly every game, Austin would get picked for the contests they had on the field. One game, he won free pizza at local restaurant close to the ballpark. After eating there, Turoni's became our favorite 'after-game' spot.

Austin played fall ball for the first time that season. We enjoyed the cooler weather but weren't prepared for the games that required blankets and extra hot chocolate! He had a good time though playing during a time of year when he hadn't before.

Austin started middle school that year. It was a big change from elementary school but he loved it. He liked the break of changing classes and teachers. He loved playing in the band. He was selected that year to be a "Natural Helper" which was voted on by his peers. Being chosen meant he was voted as being someone his friends could count on, a good role model and someone they could trust. The reward was a weekend retreat at Pennyrile camp. We were very proud of him.

For fall break that year, we went to Cave City and slept in a wig-wam. The boys thought it was really neat to sleep in the Indian hut. We visited the typical tourist attractions in the area that week but the wig-wam was the highlight of the trip.

Austin really enjoyed deer hunting with his Dad that year. He was getting older and able to understand it more - and sit still that long. It was good bonding for them too.

I remember that one of his favorite Christmas presents that year was something I had managed to get nearly for free. It was a shower radio and he thought it was the coolest thing ever. Austin enjoyed taking showers and loved listening to music so it was the best of both worlds. It was both a radio and a cd player so he could even choose the tunes. Of course, it created a monster as 45 minute showers began as a result. We would joke that he figured out a way to go to sleep standing up because it took him so long each morning.

I also remember Valentine's Day the year he was 12. We decided to celebrate at home, with the boys. I made their favorite meal, fettuccine Alfredo, complete with my best china and candlelight. They felt very special, sharing that dinner with us that night. They actually returned the favor for us on our anniversary a few months later. The boys set the table, lit the candles, cooked our dinner and waited on us, as if we were guests in their restaurant. It was very sweet.

Austin grew so fast that year. He went from pre-teen to full blown teenager the next summer. I think he grew a foot in the time between. He was always mature but we saw such changes in him after that. His appearance made a drastic change that year as 12 was the last of the baby face. By the next summer, he was a young man.

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