The start of the school season is approaching and I'm reminded of Austin's absence.
I so enjoyed shopping with and for my boys for school. With Austin, it was about the only time in the school year I was able to be an active participant, it sometimes seemed. As a teenager, he didn't disclose much of his school days to me. However, at the start of the school year, he was always willing and eager for me to shop with him. He trusted my opinion about clothes and appreciated me helping him organize his supplies.
Austin didn't take after his mom in the organizational arena. This often got on my nerves, as I couldn't understand how you could lose and need a new pencil every day or forget an assignment. Looking back though, I chuckle about it. That is who Austin was and I wouldn't have changed him for anything. Besides, I did a lot of bargain hunting for school supplies so I had an endless amount of pencils anyway!
I enjoyed purchasing everything on his list and a few extra surprises along the way. We'd sit down a couple nights before school was to begin and pack everything into his backpack. Last year, he was determined to be more organized moving into high school. I bought him an expandable filing contraption to hold assignments for each of his classes. We picked different color folders and notebooks for each subject to help him remember and stay on top of things. He was excited about the new school year, and while I don't know that it made a huge difference, I could see a change in how he kept up with assignments. Plus, it made me still feel like I was needed, even though my baby was starting high school.
We had a fun time school shopping last year too. Of course, he had outgrown everything over the summer. I think he grew inches overnight! He went up an entire size in shoes too, wearing the largest size most stores carried. We joked about having to borrow shoes from Shaq or some other basketball star, or special ordering some online the next year.
Tim doesn't really get the need for kids to have certain brands or styles. He thinks it is silly to have more than one pair of shoes (really that is more towards me) or pay over a certain amount on jeans. Most of it, he does in fun; however, I don't think Austin ever really knew how to take him. Would he really be upset if he bought these jeans that were $50? They both got a kick out of picking at each other. Austin would bump the price up, just to see Tim's reaction. Tim would say, "You seriously aren't wearing those jeans, are you? I mean, I have some with holes in them for free at the house." And I think Austin picked out a specific pair, complete with sharpie drawings, on purpose just to pick at Tim last year.
I was impressed with Austin though for being price-conscious. He kept up with what he was spending from store to store. If I suggested something, he'd say it was too much, or shrug it off as it he wasn't interested. Only after I told him it was ok, would he go ahead and purchase it. And he didn't buy anything particularly expensive. That is just how Austin was. He shared comments with Noah too while shopping, letting him know he if he was spending too much, wasting money, or making a fashion mistake!
As I was buying school shoes for Noah last weekend, I was reminded of that. Last year, Noah had wanted these shoes with drawings or something on them (just because he thought it was cool). Austin proceeded to lecture him though about being fake. He said, "Those are skater shoes and you aren't a skater. Don't be fake." Noah could have really cared less and wasn't trying to be someone he wasn't but Austin didn't want him getting a reputation, I guess. I laugh about it now remembering the two of them in the store.
It hurts, seeing a new school year approach, and knowing my guy won't be joining his classmates. Austin would have been a sophomore this year. He had planned to drop band and join the football team. He would have been on the countdown for getting his license and taking over his dad's truck. So many dreams I had for him, so many memories cut short.
I miss him. Every moment.