As I pulled into my driveway after a quick trip to the store Sunday, 10-year-old Hannah Grace and 6-year-old Tucker raced out the door and into my arms, yelling "Granddad!"
It just doesn't get any better than that.
Inside 14-year-old Katie, bright and talented, and 17-year-old Justin, level-headed beyond his years, waited. There was sweet Chrissie, my artistic first-born, and Mark Wright, a good, hard-working family man who I am honored to call my son-in-law. There was Ben, my oldest son who is named after my father and will soon be Dr. Marshall with a PhD in chemical engineering from Rice University. There was delightful, intelligent, sweet and pretty Karen, who will bring Bennett Davis Marshall III into the world in April. There was Jonathan, the youngest of the Marshall clan and a man of uncommon insight and compassion.
And, of course, there was sweet Teresa, who has put up with me for almost 36 years.
It was a Christmas celebration. We ate too much. We laughed and told stories. We watched Hannah Grace, already a scholar of note as a fifth-grader, replay her role in her school's Christmas play. We listened to Tucker, the talkative one. We opened presents.
I am proud and blessed by my children, their spouses, their children and my grandchildren, all good and caring people. And I am blessed by my wife, who has been my rock and my inspiration, in good times and bad, for all these years
I am so blessed in so many ways, far more than I deserve. For that, in this season of hope and light, I am grateful.
I thought about that amid the hugs and the laughs, the stories that only brothers and sisters can tell on each other. But I thought, too, of those families in Connecticut, who are having a very different kind of Christmas as they mourn 20 innocent little children and seven brave adults who were victims of evil from the very depths of hell. They, too, are on my mind and in my heart.
On this Christmas Eve, to all who honor all of us by coming here and being part of what we do at AuburnUndercover.com and to people of good will everywhere, I wish you God's blessings and the most joyful of Christmases.