Appreciating the Christmas Season just a little bit more this year

Appreciating the Christmas Season just a little bit more this year
(MATT BUTTON AEGIS STAFF, Patuxent Homestead)

Just five days to go and all that's left is the wrapping.

Well, I'd like to say that, but I still have a few things to buy, some cooking to do and everything to wrap. But it's OK, it'll get done. And if it doesn't, oh well.


I'm appreciating this Christmas season just a little bit more this year. I've tried not to think too much about the tragedy in Newtown, Conn., but it's been impossible. Aside from it being everywhere, this hit a little closer to home for me than other similar tragedies have.

I guess that's because I'm a mom now, and the thought of something happening to either of them is my biggest fear.

My husband and I have spent the last four years trying to protect first Henry and then Emily. And we'll do it for the rest of our lives. I hurt for them when they're hurting and I'm sad for them when they're not happy.

But there's only so much we can do. We can't be with them 24/7 and we can't live in a bubble. It's just not practical. We can only hope we've made the right choices for them.

The Newtown shootings have made me realize just how lucky I am. I have wonderful husband and two awesome kids. My life is good and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

And what I'm looking forward to this Christmas isn't the gifts under the tree, it's the time I'll get to spend with my family, not just my husband and kids, but my parents and brother and his family, as well as my husband's parents and sister.

I think what I'm most looking forward to is Christmas Day at my parents' house, where my kids and my brother's three kids will celebrate the holiday. What won't be fun about having five kids, the oldest who just turned 4 and the younger two who just turned 2, running around my parents' house. I hope the grandparents are prepared for the chaos!

Last year was a blast. It was a fairly mild and sunny day, and once the gifts had been opened all the kids went outside and rode the big wheel down the big hill. Then they trekked into the barn to see the tractor. Their Christmas duds got a little dirty, but it didn't matter – they were having so much fun, and so was Pap-pap, who was leading the way.

Emily was just barely a year old and didn't understand Christmas. This year, she's starting to. She LOVES to sing "Frosty the Snowman" and even gets the tune somewhat close. She likes Santa (but she won't sit on his lap) and Mr. Shuttle (our elf), but she doesn't get the whole Santa bringing presents part.

Henry does though. And really, he only wants Santa to bring him one thing – a tractor trailer car carrier with five different colored cars. He's been talking about this thing for the last three or four months. When he first mentioned it, I thought it would pass, so I didn't rush to buy it. But the closer we get to Christmas, the more he wants it. He even took a picture to show Santa so he'd know what it is. And he's sat on Santa's lap at least a half-dozen times to make sure he knows what to bring.

It's quite cute, and I can't wait to see his face Christmas morning to see that Santa has indeed remembered what he wants.

Fortunately for us, Christmas doesn't end Dec. 25. Chris and I are both off the week between the holidays and get to spend it with the kids. We don't have anything planned other than to have some fun playing with their new toys. How much better does it get?

I wish everyone else a happy holiday and I hope you all enjoy the time with your family and friends. Merry Christmas!