We got our tree last night.
I know what you're thinking, if you've been reading this for a while. Christmas preparations in our house don't usually start until at least the 22nd. Until that point, we are happily in denial, keeping the TV off, listening to CDs instead of the radio, avoiding the malls and big box stores, keeping our focus on Getting Through Today.
This year, of course, things are different. All of the kids are in school. Savageman is not at work, and I am, as often as I can be. This week, I spent Wednesday playing School Librarian at a local middle school, and Friday doing a neuropsych evaluation.
I was actually wrapping up said neuropsych evaluation, double-checking my scoring and preparing to fill in my report, when I happened to check the news. Reading about the school shooting in CT completely knocked the wind out of me. Glad for my private office, I cried my way through the rest of my scoring and headed home to Savageman and the two older boys, who held me while I sobbed for the victims and their families and friends.
Little was due home about an hour later. We decided not to tell him about it right away. Information was still sketchy, and I wanted my own raw emotions to settle down a bit before discussing it. This is, after all, his first semester in an elementary school building, and he's not the kind of kid who will acknowledge if he is worried about something. Best not to freak him out needlessly.
Besides, I was just so happy to see him and cuddle him and sniff his sweet head that I didn't want to spoil the moment when he got home.
That night, I did wind up keeping him up for an extra two hours, reading Harry Potter together and snuggling and talking and savoring this time that suddenly seemed so precious. I pushed aside the twinge of guilt that occasionally bubbled up and asked me why I didn't spend this kind of time with him - with all of them - every night. I was doing it now, and I would be mindful to do it more often.
I also resolved not to wait until Christmas Eve to start thinking about Christmas this year. Little is especially interested in doing family stuff together, and he had been asking for a few days when we could start shopping and decorating and making cookies. Getting Through Today was going to have to begin to include some of these things.
So Advent began here yesterday. We got the wreath and the tree stand out of the attic, headed for Lowes to pick out an inexpensive tree, and stopped at the store to get ingredients for a treat. We put a Christmas station on Pandora, set up the tree, made our treat, played Scrabble, and snuggled up to watch The Nightmare Before Christmas together. Savageman and I celebrated the third day of our return to HappyMarriageLand and watched another movie together after the kids were in bed.
All is currently well here in our little corner of the universe. And while the school shooting in CT was, of course, mentioned in Mass this morning - thus prompting a discussion with Little afterward during soup and donut time - it turned out he had watched the news before we got up today and already knew all about it. He didn't seem particularly concerned about his own safety, pointing out that his school is about 10 feet from the police station and that they regularly have intruder drills and already know what to do. We talked a bit about the statistical improbability of something like that happening in his school, but the conversation was brief. As for the plight of the families in CT, this is one of those times that I am thankful that he's not the world's deepest thinker.
For those of us who do tend to think more deeply about these topics, we are trying to limit our musings to those things within our own sphere of influence.
For now, just loving each other and cherishing our time together and this happy season is enough.