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.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Mom likes me best

From the beginning of Noah's arrival, Austin made sure we did not forget about him.

We tried very hard to prepare him for being a big brother, complete with books and lots of talks, even a class at the hospital. However, the week Noah came home and all the visitors showed up, we must've not paid him the attention Austin felt he deserved. Austin climbed up onto the coffee table and very loudly exclaimed, "Hey! Don't forget about me!"

As the boys grew older it was a common joke for them to pick on each other about which child we loved more. If Noah got a bigger piece of cake or I let him go first, Austin would say, "Yeah, yeah. I know you like him more!"

We even found a shirt for Noah that said "Mom likes me best" and it got a few chuckles out of Austin when I brought it home. Noah certainly loved wearing and rubbing it in, as if the shirt proved something.

Sometimes I think Austin was a little more serious than joking when he'd comment. He was of course the oldest and Noah being the baby did get away with more. If Noah didn't get the punishment Austin felt the crime deserved, he used that excuse. And of course, when brothers fought, as all do, he'd say the famous line.

I do hope though that all in all he was kidding. It would break my heart, more than it already is with him gone, to think that on some level he really thought that to be true. As a mother, I don't know how you could pick between your children to which you loved more. The love I had for my boys was even but very different. I loved them individually for who they were and I was connected to both in other ways, such as Austin being my first and Noah being the baby.

I was probably harder on Austin because I was learning how to be a parent with him. If anything, he taught me how to be a better mom. Noah just lucked out coming along last.

But the bond that Austin and I had was unique. He was my first and that put a special hold on my heart. He was the first movement I ever felt, the first heartbeat I heard. The first time I heard the word "Mama" it came from him. Everything I experienced as a mom for the first time was with Austin. Because of that I loved him in a very special way.

And I always will.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Born a fireman....

Tim was elected Chief at the start of this year and I couldn't help but wish Austin had been there. I know he would have been so proud of his Dad and happy to be on a department under his leadership. I'm sure it was bittersweet for Tim as well. I know that everything he does for that department, he does it with Austin in mind. But I also know Austin is looking down and smiling on all the firefighters, especially his Dad, every day.

It was inevetible that Austin would share of love of the department just like his Dad. Before he was even born, his Dad began collecting fire trucks and other fire-related toys for him. Austin was riding in a firetruck before he could see over the dash. We dressed him in a dalmation outfit and he was in Cromwell's annual calendar picture on his first year. And in the early years, the majority of his birthday parties were at the fire truck, complete with a ride on top for all the guests.

I expected him to outgrow his love of fire trucks at some point, or at least for it to lose it's spark. However, Austin was just as excited as a first-timer each time he got to ride and explore the trucks. On road trips or vacations, it wasn't uncommon for us to stop so Tim and the boys could visit other departments and see other trucks.

Throughout grade school, Austin's papers would always include "firefighter" as the answer to what he wanted to be when he grew up. I'm sure it was among his proudest moments when he was finally able to join and become a Jr. Firefighter.
I know it was his Dad's.

As a mom, I was so nervous for him to join. Of course my main concern was him being injured but I also worried about him being accepted. It was as if he'd always been there though and I guess because, in a way, he had been. Austin carried the best qualities of every firefighter, even though he never went on an emergency run. Some people are just born to be a hero...and Austin certainly was.

I'm sure Tim treasures the memories they have together at the department. Tim was so proud to have Austin follow in his footsteps. I only wish they could've gone on an actual run together once, father and son.

Instead, Tim carries on the only way he knows how..trying to make Beaver Dam's fire department the best it can be and honoring Austin's legacy every step of the way.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Happy 1/2 Birthday, Austin

My birthdays just aren't the same with Austin gone. Then again, no holiday or even every day is either.

Austin's birthday was exactly six months after mine so he was always eager to celebrate his "Happy 1/2 Birthday" on my day. He wanted to grow up faster than he was already doing, ready for whatever adulthood had in store. The only thing that made him smile bigger than being older was growing taller!

When Austin was born and I was completing his baby book entries of height, weight, etc. I noticed how similiar he was to mine records. Aside from sharing 1/2 Birthdays, he was within ounces and inches of being just like me. And there were so many other things we shared.

Throughout his life, people often commented on how much he looked like me. Of course, to a teenage boy, this was not something he liked to hear. He shared my hair color, although his was a much deeper shade of black. And he had the same puppy dog eyes as a child that I was told allowed me to get my way, just as they helped him.

He also took after my personality, people often mistaking him as being shy. Of course, like his Mom, once you got to know him you learned that wasn't true. Austin could be funny, crazy and silly all rolled into one. He shared my love of the same books and music I enjoyed at his age, reading Edgar Allen Poe and rummaging through my 80s CDs.

And most of all, he shared my heart. From the moment I first heard his heartbeat, growing inside my belly, the rythym was connected to mine. And so, without him here, a hole exists in my heart now. I like to think he needed a piece of it, to remember me by.

Happy 1/2 Birthday, sweet boy. I miss you with every beat of my heart.
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