My last vacation with Austin was during the week of the 4th of July, this year. I remember he was seeing this lady who had a small child, around 14 months old. He brought her and her baby when he visited. I could tell Austin really loved this woman and even called her his “supermodel” over and over. While we were driving to my house, I remember him holding her hand from the front seat where he was seated (she was in the back with the baby and I was driving). He even told me that if things worked out after the summer, he was going to ask her to marry him. We all drove to the beach, which is only a short drive from my house on one of the days they were visiting me. Before we got to the ocean, we stopped at the local K-mart and picked up some beach supplies and things for a day in the beach. Austin bought the child swimmies (inflatable arm floats), water toys, and a life vest . I remember how Austin played with this child in the ankle-deep surf of the ocean. I remember how the baby would laugh every time Austin would squirt his belly with the water toy. It was precious. I remember how Austin would ride the baby on his shoulders just like any proud father would. A storm came up quickly, so we decided to pack up our things and leave the ocean for a big aquarium near by. The baby and Austin were amazed by the big sharks, fish, and other aquatic animals at the aquarium. I remember the aquarium personnel took pictures of us together and sold them to help fund the the aquarium. We didn’t buy the pictures because they were a little on the expensive side and Austin’s girlfriend had made a lot of pictures with her digital camera (my phone was out of charge, so I didn’t actually get to take any pictures). We all had such a special time together and seeing how much the baby smiled that day really tickled all of us. How I wish I had bought those pictures the aquarium tried to sell us that day. You just never really know what the future holds.
I was sitting at work yesterday and an advertisement for the aquarium came on the television. I couldn’t help but cry. It’s little things like that that trigger the tears. But I will never regret the memories of that day and that day I learned just how special of a father Austin would have been.