Austin touched my life through working with his mother, Laurie. I was Department Administrator in her department for two years. This was a time that I struggled to find a balance as a working mother with an infant/toddler and a challenging job, and Laurie’s example was a beacon to me. She helped me by sharing her insights and stories – I always came away from each conversation feeling like a better person and parent. I don’t know how she does it, but she has a way of talking about her kids with such pride but without bragging.
I never got to meet Austin, but I know what an amazing person he was by knowing his mom. There were two stories in particular that Laurie shared that have stayed with me.
First, she told me how she always let her children tell HER when it was safe to cross a street. I thought this was an ingenious way to engage the kids, to be mindful of their surroundings and safety, and to apply it to others. Of course, we adopted this at our home, always asking my 3-year-old Luke to tell us when it’s safe to cross – he delights in informing us “There are NO cars!”
Second, she told me how when her daughter was on the way and Austin still a toddler, she got a baby doll and would hold/rock the doll while reading with Austin. Then when Aidan arrived, it was totally normal to Austin to continue sitting together reading, with a baby in her arms. I hope my family can emulate this someday.
My son, at 3, has some striking similarities to Austin, especially now that I’ve read many of Austin’s 3-year-old stories. Luke is a sweet and sensitive soul, kind but not without his strong feelings, likes plain food and baseball, and loves trucks (especially categorizing/classifying them – and boy, will he correct me when I mis-identify!). I hope that he will grow to be as kind and passionate as Austin was.
Laurie, Austin’s legacy has expanded to include my family through your wonderful stories. Thank you for sharing them.