We took Noah to the Family Game Night yesterday at his school. And of course as it is with any activity we do as a family, I am reminded of Austin and how much he is missed.
Game night isn't anything new to our family. We've played board games with the boys since they were little. I enjoyed teaching them the games that I grew up with like Candy land, Chutes and Ladders, and Hi-Ho Cherry-o. As they grew older, we enjoyed Sorry, Uno, and Clue. It was fun to watch the change in Austin as he grew, from only being happy if he won as a toddler to letting his little brother win as a teenager.
Austin's favorite board game was Chess, something I never quite mastered. He would pick on me that he knew something I didn't and even though he tried many times to teach me, I never made a very good opponent. Austin's favorite card game was Rook. He was disappointed that Noah wasn't quite old enough to play it though because he'd have to wait until we had company or were visiting his Mamaw B's house to play. It was nothing for us to waste a lazy Saturday playing Rook with the family, surrounded by yummy snacks and laughter.
We enjoy playing games so much that a few years ago we created "Family Game Day" and would rent out a local facility to spend the day playing various games and of course, eating lots of good food. It was a great way to spend a cold winter day. I have few pictures of Austin on our last family game day with him because he had the camera most of the time. Looking back, it was like he was trying to record snapshot moments to remember each of us.
In the summer, yard games were always present whenever our family gathered. Austin's loved playing horse shoes, washers, basketball, etc. His favorite was corn hole and he and his Dad made quite a team. He never did learn how to play badminton though, one of my favorite summer games. Being such a big boy, he tended to swat the racket and embed the birdie into his net with each swing.
With there being four of us, playing games was an easy fit, as we always had an even number of teams. The boys would verse Tim and me or they would partner up with mom or dad. It is hard now playing all those games we loved because his absence is visible in anything we do.
One of the things I miss the most when we gather to play games now is Austin's smile and laughter. He enjoyed just spending time together and you could see it in the twinkling of his eyes. It really didn't matter what we played, he just loved being together and enjoyed the company of family and friends.
If something funny happens at the table now, I still glance over to his empty chair, wishing he were there to share in the moment. I miss his laughter in the room and his sweet smile.